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Harvey Mansfield

Harvey C. Mansfield, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Government, studies and teaches political philosophy. He has written on Edmund Burke and the nature of political parties, on Machiavelli and[…]

Harvey Mansfield believes that understanding political philosophy is key to living the good life.

Question: Why is political philosophy important?

Harvey Mansfield: Political philosophy is important because it studies those big questions I mentioned, especially the big question of, “How should I live?” Nobody can be indifferent to that. Everybody needs to have an answer to that, but most people don’t think about it very much. Most people live and think at the level of TV. Or if they’re really thoughtful, they move it up to magazines. Or occasionally they’ll read a book. But behind all of those things – above all those layers of the great books – the sources of the thoughts are developed, elaborated and they trickle down to things like TV.

Recorded on: 6/13/07