The Classics and the Moderns

Harvey Mansfield discuss the classical thinkers, such as Plato and Aristotle, how he finds inspiration in returning to their thought.
  • Transcript


Question: What inspires you?

Harvey Mansfield: What most inspires me is Plato and Aristotle I have to say, and the notion of the possibility of returning to their thought. They were classical philosophers, classical political philosophers. Classical means “original”. And it also means “best”. Those two somehow go together. The original is best because philosophy and political philosophy after Plato and Aristotle become more academic … more covered over with received opinion, with schools of thought. But if you go back to Plato and Aristotle, you’ll see philosophy as it was getting going. And as it was getting going, it somehow got to be better than it’s ever been since.

Recorded on: 6/13/07