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Victor Nuovo: The irony of American history

Posted on October 12, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 28th and final essay by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought.

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Victor Nuovo: The reasonableness of the Constitution

Posted on October 5, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 27th of 28 essays by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought.

To characterize something as reasonable does not mean that it is delightful or pleasing. Eating ice cream or watching a movie may be delightful, but not necessarily reasonable. Having surgery is reasonable, when it is necessary to save your life; likewise, dieting, swallowing bitter medicine, exercising, and also morality and politics may be reasonable, though not necessarily pleasing.

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Victor Nuovo: Power to 'The People' is freedom's foundation

Posted on September 28, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



I return to the question: Who are the People? Surely, it is more than a useful fiction or abstraction.

“We the People” refers to actual people: those who directly or indirectly authorized the adoption and ratification of the Constitution. But in the beginning these were not all the people dwelling in the land. Women were excluded, also slaves, and native Americans who were the original occupiers of the land. Only freeborn males were counted: white, English, and mostly Protestant.

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Victor Nuovo: Establishing the rule of law in America

Posted on September 21, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 25th in a series of essays by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought.

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Victor Nuovo: Locke, liberalism and America's influence in charting a new course

Posted on September 14, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 24th in a series of essays by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought.

By VICTOR NUOVO

Was John Locke a liberal? There seems to be a consensus among scholars that he was. It all depends on what one means by “liberal,” and because it means many things, one must take each meaning in turn.

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Victor Nuovo: Private property and civil society

Posted on September 7, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s Note: This is the 23rd essay by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought.

By VICTOR NUOVO

Philosopher John Locke believed that the paramount duty of civil government is to safeguard the life, liberty and property of all the people. He believed that a person’s right to these things are rights of nature: they become civil rights whenever a person consents to enter a civil state; there they may be limited, but they are never lost.

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Victor Nuovo: Locke & Hobbes, the origin of civil society

Posted on August 31, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 22nd essay by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought.

How did civil society or the civil state begin? There is general agreement that a civil state is not a product of nature, but something made by human art, the art of politics. This is what Hobbes believed and affirmed in the memorable sentence that begins his great work, Leviathan:

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Victor Nuovo: Locke saw the evil in 'Patriarchy'

Posted on August 24, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 21st essay by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought, focusing on the great political thinkers.

By Victor Nuovo

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Victor Nuovo: Does the Mind always think?

Posted on August 17, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



This is not an essay about politics, but about the mind. But if, as Spinoza and Locke have claimed, the love of truth and a resolute pursuit of it is essential to a healthy and durable civil society, then it is important that we become more familiar with our minds.

Locke’s book, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, is a wonderful resource for this. He asks all the right questions, even though he does not always give the right answers. The pleasure of reading Locke’s book derives from learning what it is to be a rational being.

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Victor Nuovo: Truth and the foundations of civil society

Posted on August 10, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Introducing John Locke: Truth and the foundation of a civil society

“Its theme is the intellect, or the understanding or mind… in which Locke enquires about how the human mind works, how it gathers all of its content… and, above all, how it goes about searching after truth.”

– On Locke’s book, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Editor’s note: This is the 19th in a series of essays by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought.

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