The most recent commentators on Edmund Burke have renewed the charge that his political thought lacks the consistency and coherency necessary to even claim the status of a political philosophy and that he is indeed a utilitarian. They mark him off as an ideologist, a rhetorician, and a deliberate propagandist. Even Burkeas Reflections on the ...Read MoreThe most recent commentators on Edmund Burke have renewed the charge that his political thought lacks the consistency and coherency necessary to even claim the status of a political philosophy and that he is indeed a utilitarian. They mark him off as an ideologist, a rhetorician, and a deliberate propagandist. Even Burkeas Reflections on the Revolution in France, his most profound statement of a political philosophy, is regarded by some as a work of mere persuasion, not philosophy. All this occurs in spite of the seminal work of Stanlis, Canavan, and Wilkins, who in the 1950s and a60s, demonstrated the natural law foundations of Burkeas politics. Burke revisionists, forced to acknowledge his use of the natural law, label such use as a rhetorical means for utilitarian ends. Directly opposed to this renewed utilitarian interpretation of Burke is Joseph Pappinas work The Metaphysics of Edmund Burke. Not only does this work challenge the utilitarian view of Burke, it sets out, as not other work on Burke has attempted to do, to make explicit the implicit metaphysical core of Burkeas political thought. Pappin does this by examining both Burkeas critics and Burkeas own attack on a rationalist, ideologically inspired metaphysics. Drawing from Burkeas vast writings, Pappin establishes as his goal to demonstrate that Burkeas political philosophy is grounded in a realist metaphysic, one that is basically consonant with the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition. Does the author succeed? According to Francis Canavan, in his Foreword to this work, the explanatory key of a realist metaphysics grounding Burkeas politics is a key that fits the lock better than any other that scholarshave offered. Canavan further holds that the author offers us a more thorough analysis of Burkeas understanding of God, the creation, nature, man, and society than has previously appeared.Read Less
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