Edmund Burke: Modernity, Politics, and Aesthetics examines the philosophy of Burke in view of its contribution to our understanding of modernity. Burke's relevance, until recently, has lain in how his critique of the French Revolution bolstered arguments against revolutionary communism. As that threat recedes, should we allow Burke's significance to recede as well? Stephen K. White argues that Burke remains important because he shows us how modernity engenders an implicit forgetfulness of human finitude. White illustrates this theme by showing how Burke's political thought, his judgment of the 'modern system of morality and policy,' and its taste for a 'false sublime' are structured by his aesthetics. In the late 20th century, an undemocratic thinker such as Burke may not have answers to our problems, but we might do well to let him deepen the questions that we ask.
About the Author
Stephen K. White teaches in the Department of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia.