Forms of Philosophical Engagement: The Transformation of the Modern World through Engaged Philosophy Open Access

DeGroot, Anna Hadas (2010)

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Forms of Philosophical Engagement:

The Transformation of the Modern World through Engaged Philosophy

By Anna Hadas deGroot

This thesis provides an analysis of three chapters in the development of modern political thought in Europe. By focusing on individuals who fit Albert William Levi's definition of the "engaged" philosopher (one who takes an active role public service), I create a fuller understanding of philosophical theories by examining the philosophers' historical and social circumstances. Central to my thesis is the notion that through the exploration of context and immediate practical purposes, depth and interest are added to philosophical ideas. This is especially true for engaged political philosophies developed during times of conflict. I focus on three specific cases: Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) in the Religious Wars of France; Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) and Petrus Cuneaus (1586-1638) in the Remonstrant Crisis of the Dutch Republic; and John Selden (1584-1654) and John Locke (1632-1794) in the Civil War and Whig movement in England. Each case redefines an aspect of political thought: for Montaigne, the private life; for Grotius and Cunaeus, the role of history; and for Selden and Locke, the foundation of natural laws and rights. While I discover that these theories were developed out of political necessity and specific social circumstances, I conclude that their application transformed politics and society in a way that had profound impact on the formation of the modern world.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter I...4

Montaigne's Philosophical Engagement: Reformation of the Private Life

Chapter II...21

History as Political Guide: The Role of Political Hebraism in the Crisis of the Dutch Republic

Chapter III...42

Seventeenth Century England and the Emergence of Natural Rights: An Examination of the Work of John Selden and John Locke



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