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The Ethics of Interpretation in Political Theory and Intellectual History

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The Ethics of Interpretation in Political Theory and Intellectual History. / Frazer, Michael L.

In: The Review of Politics, Vol. 81, No. 1, 2019, p. 77-99.

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Frazer, Michael L./ The Ethics of Interpretation in Political Theory and Intellectual History. In: The Review of Politics. 2019 ; Vol. 81, No. 1. pp. 77-99

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@article{ece6463bf14542169a60b4e949f9a788,
title = "The Ethics of Interpretation in Political Theory and Intellectual History",
abstract = "Scholars studying classic political texts face an important decision: Should these texts be read as artifacts of history or as sources for still-valid insights about politics today? Competing historical and “presentist” approaches to political thought do not have a methodological dispute—that is, a disagreement about the most effective scholarly means to an agreed-upon end. They instead have an ethical dispute about the respective value of competing activities that aim at different purposes. This article examines six ethical arguments, drawn primarily from the work of Quentin Skinner, in favor of the historical approach. It concludes that while both intellectual history and presentist theory are ethically justifiable, the best justification of the former enterprise is that it can help us achieve the purposes of the latter.",
author = "Frazer, {Michael L.}",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.1017/S0034670518000967",
language = "English",
volume = "81",
pages = "77--99",
journal = "The Review of Politics",
issn = "0034-6705",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",
number = "1",

}

RIS (suitable for import to EndNote) - Download

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Ethics of Interpretation in Political Theory and Intellectual History

AU - Frazer,Michael L.

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Scholars studying classic political texts face an important decision: Should these texts be read as artifacts of history or as sources for still-valid insights about politics today? Competing historical and “presentist” approaches to political thought do not have a methodological dispute—that is, a disagreement about the most effective scholarly means to an agreed-upon end. They instead have an ethical dispute about the respective value of competing activities that aim at different purposes. This article examines six ethical arguments, drawn primarily from the work of Quentin Skinner, in favor of the historical approach. It concludes that while both intellectual history and presentist theory are ethically justifiable, the best justification of the former enterprise is that it can help us achieve the purposes of the latter.

AB - Scholars studying classic political texts face an important decision: Should these texts be read as artifacts of history or as sources for still-valid insights about politics today? Competing historical and “presentist” approaches to political thought do not have a methodological dispute—that is, a disagreement about the most effective scholarly means to an agreed-upon end. They instead have an ethical dispute about the respective value of competing activities that aim at different purposes. This article examines six ethical arguments, drawn primarily from the work of Quentin Skinner, in favor of the historical approach. It concludes that while both intellectual history and presentist theory are ethically justifiable, the best justification of the former enterprise is that it can help us achieve the purposes of the latter.

UR - https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/review-of-politics/article/ethics-of-interpretation-in-political-theory-and-intellectual-history/6F9F6EDF234053A72C3D425B915D4E42/share/ff8661ff2d92c74c109ddcb6b3245530e4cff197

U2 - 10.1017/S0034670518000967

DO - 10.1017/S0034670518000967

M3 - Article

VL - 81

SP - 77

EP - 99

JO - The Review of Politics

T2 - The Review of Politics

JF - The Review of Politics

SN - 0034-6705

IS - 1

ER -

ID: 139434911