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Victor Nuovo: Theory and practice

Posted on May 11, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of essays by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought.

Among the topics that Aristotle treats in the Ethics are the intellectual virtues. They are capacities of mind that individuals must cultivate in order to become good citizens. Aristotle lists five of them: knowledge, art, prudence, wisdom and understanding. It is a curious combination of the practical and the theoretical, of theory and practice.

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Victor Nuovo: Aristotle on 'becoming virtuous'

Posted on May 4, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the fifth of a baker’s dozen of essays by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought.

According to Aristotle, a virtue is a behavioral habit that is acquired by practice. Becoming virtuous is no different from becoming skilled in an art, craft or sport. It requires experience and instruction and the use of reason, good judgment and a wealth of experience.

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Victor Nuovo: Aristotle on 'becoming virtuous'

Posted on April 27, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the fifth of a baker’s dozen of essays by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought.

According to Aristotle, a virtue is a behavioral habit that is acquired by practice. Becoming virtuous is no different from becoming skilled in an art, craft or sport. It requires experience and instruction and the use of reason, good judgment and a wealth of experience.

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Victor Nuovo: Artistotle and the birth of Political Science

Posted on April 20, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Now we come to Aristotle. Political science is only one of the sciences that he invented. He was the parent of many: logic, physics, biology, psychology, rhetoric, poetics, metaphysics and the theory of scientific method and explanation generally.

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Victor Nuovo: Plato envisions the model city: Rule of law provides basis for social order

Posted on April 13, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Imagine Middlebury as Plato’s model city, which is his practical solution to implementing the rule of law. This is not so fanciful, when we recall that the Greek polis is the direct ancestor of the Vermont town. Recall that the Greek polis is a sovereign state at whose heart is a vibrant urban center, not unlike Middlebury, the shire town of Addison County. Plato imagined his model city inhabited by 5,000 families or homesteads in a territory the size of Addison County, a place well endowed with essential natural resources: water and timber and fertile soil.

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Victor Nuovo: Plato's Republic in a nutshell

Posted on April 6, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Plato wrote the Republic to give expression to an ideal of a city in which a perfect justice has been established in all of its parts. He was not naive. He did not suppose that his ideal city could be easily realized, if at all; in the end he concluded that it could not. Yet his pessimism never led him to conclude that the ideal was false, only that it was less accessible to thought.

Thus, the idea of justice, which is the central theme of the Republic, became transcendent.

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Victor Nuovo, Theorists helped shape our republic

Posted on March 30, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



This is the first in a series of essays about political theory. My subjects will be eminent political philosophers, ancient and modern, among them Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu and Rousseau.

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Community Forum: Who's afraid of Steve Bannon?

Posted on March 9, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



This week’s writer is Victor Nuovo, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Middlebury College and a senior research fellow at Harris Manchester College, Oxford, England.

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Letter to the editor: Constitutionalism can save nation

Posted on January 12, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



For many Americans, perhaps even a majority of them, the great challenge of the next four years is to survive the presidency of Donald Trump, not as individuals — for that we need only take to the hills, which would be selfish and unworthy of us as citizens — but together as a nation. I believe that there is a way to accomplish this, not a certain way, but as sure as any can be in an uncertain universe and, all things considered, the best and noblest of ways, for it follows the path of civic virtue. We can become constitutionalists.

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Victor Nuovo on Spinoza: The in/sufficiency of nature

Posted on December 8, 2016 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 16th and final in a series of essays about the Dutch philosopher Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677) and his thoughts concerning nature, God and politics.

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