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Ryan Patrick Hanley
Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI 53233-2225)
The Moral and Political Thought of Early Modern French Philosopher François Fénelon (1651-1715)

Fénelon's political masterwork was the most-read book in eighteenth-century France after the Bible. His economic proposals launched the central debate in Enlightenment political economy. And his many contributions as a religious thinker spoke to the key debates of both his day and ours. Yet for all this, a book-length study of his moral and political thought remains to be written in English. My book aims to redress this oversight. Its specific aims are two. First, it will show how the discrete strands of Fénelon's political thought--from his concepts of virtue and dignity to his economics and constitutional thought--form a unified whole built on the concept of pure love. Second, it will present Fénelon as a key if unexplored resource for contemporary theorists aiming to define, amidst the disorienting conditions and ethical challenges of modern individualism, the nature of human flourishing in a modern context and the optimal means of preserving human dignity today.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History of Philosophy; Intellectual History; Political Theory

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$33,600 (approved)
$33,600 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2015 – 12/31/2015