Political Philosophy of Eric Voegelin and His Followers: A Criticism of the Voegelinians

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This work is the first book-length criticism of the political philosophy of Eric Voegelin.
This book demonstrates that despite his assertions to the contrary, Voegelin harbored long-standing partisan ideological leanings. After a thorough explication of both primary and secondary Voegelin literature, the author scrutinizes Voegelin’s claims of essential agreement between Plato and Aristotle; his attacks on Marx and Hegel; and his analysis of the character of a modern ‘gnostic.’ The concluding chapter places the ‘Voegelin phenomenon’ in the context of contemporary American political cleavages.


“While Eric Voegelin may be a figure unknown to the average American, Cole reveals how his ideas and influence permeate the political landscape, particularly within many of the arguments and views espoused by many social and political conservatives. With methodical precision, Cole dissects both Voegelin’s own ideological positions and the application of those stands by his countless adherents. His presentation on Voegelin’s background is meticulous in its depth and provides enough of a background for even those readers not familiar with the subject. Cole’s work provides important insights into an important source of modern political conservatism in the United States and is an invaluable contribution to political science literature.” - Prof. Brad L. Duren, Oklahoma Panhandle State University

“. . .offers for the first time a penetrating and forcefully argues critique of the social and political ramifications of the prominent intellectual movement spawned by Eric Voegelin. . . . fills a longstanding critical lacuna in Voegelin scholarship while encouraging both Vogelin’s critics and devotees to reconsider Voegelin’s importance for contemporary politics.” – Prof. H. Lee Cheek, Jr., Brewton-Parker College

“David Cole has written a through, provocative, and lucid analysis of the political philosophy of Eric Voegelin. . . . this book will be of major value to anyone interested in the content and impact of Voegelin’s work and its place in twentieth-century political theory.” – Prof. John C. Gunnell, SUNY Albany

Table of Contents

Preface: A Confrontation with Eric Voegelin
Chapter 1: Eric Voegelin’s Thought—A Synopsis of the Primary and Secondary Literature
Chapter 2: Voegelin’s Political Teaching
Chapter 3: The Voegelin Phenomenon as Symptom
Appendix: Kai Nielsen Responds to Barry Cooper’s “Reduction, Reminiscence and the Search for Truth”
Selected Bibliography

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