Prudence: Classical virtue, postmodern practice

Robert Hariman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBook

33 Scopus citations


This excellent collection of essays appears at just the right moment. During the past two decades, interest in prudence has quickened and intensified in the humanities and qualitative social sciences, but previously we have had no systematic effort to deal with the topic on an interdisciplinary level. This collection fills the void and provides a valuable guide to the history of prudence and to its current status in a variety of academic disciplines.-Michael C. Leff, Northwestern University Realizing that a world remade by techno-science and global capital stands in great need of practical wisdom as an antidote to various forms of modern hubris, scholars across the human sciences have taken a renewed interest in exploring how the classical virtue of prudence can be reformulated as a guide for postmodern practice. This volume brings together scholars in classics, political philosophy, and rhetoric to analyze prudence as a distinctive and vital form of political intelligence. Through case studies from each of the major periods in the history of prudence, the authors identify neglected resources for political judgment in today's conditions of pluralism and interdependency.Three assumptions inform these essays: the many dimensions of prudence cannot be adequately represented in the lexicon of any single discipline; the Aristotelian focus on prudence as rational calculation needs to be balanced by the Ciceronian emphasis on prudence as discursive performance embedded in familiar social practices; and understanding prudence requires attention to how it operates through the communicative media and public discourses that constitute the political community. Contributors, besides the editor, are Stephen H. Browne, Robert W. Cape Jr., Maurice Charland, Peter J. Diamond, Eugene Garver, James Jasinski, John S. Nelson, and Christine L. Oravec.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherPenn State University Press
Number of pages337
ISBN (Print)0271022558, 9780271025278
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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