political science document

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PLATOA contribution toPublic Philosophy and Political Science: Crisis and ReflectionEdited by Edward R. Statham, Jr.(Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2002) pp. 107-130PLATO ANDTHE MODERN ESCAPE FROM POLITICAL RESPONSIBILITYJohn A. Gueguen, Jr.What do I mean by a modern escape from responsibility? I mean it inthe same sense as one observer of political life who noted a decade before ourlatest cultural revolution (1968-70): a disillusionment, a bitter anddiscouraged pessimism among many political scientists.A suspicion thatpolitics is only an oscillation between violence and fraud led them to devoteattention to phenomena formerly held irrelevant or negligible. What was thisfever for concrete research if not an unconscious escape from responsibility?For in spite of the mass of accumulated data, the clarified concepts, theprecise estimation of old knowledge and the addition of new knowledge peoplestill bumped into the high, gray, terrible wall of the same old problems.Now, as then, our course is clear:We must try to assess whether thedifficulties of contemporary political philosophy derive from still deeperdifficulties besettingour whole culture; we are in a position to evaluatefairly accurately the needs to which Plato called attention.iHannah Arendt noticed this same problem: Escape from the frailty ofhuman affairshas in fact so much to recommend it that the greater part of

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