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The Case for GreatnessHonorable Ambition and Its Critics$
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Robert Faulkner

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780300123937

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300123937.001.0001

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Honorable Greatness Denied (1): The Egalitarian Web

Honorable Greatness Denied (1): The Egalitarian Web

(p.198) Chapter Seven Honorable Greatness Denied (1): The Egalitarian Web
The Case for Greatness

Robert Faulkner

Yale University Press

This chapter is the first of two chapters to address the issues and arguments put forth by skeptics and intellectual critics. It looks at how many present-day intellectuals and academics would challenge the admiration for great figures such as Nelson Mandela, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and George Washington that arises almost naturally in decent citizens and appreciative historians. This chapter, however, is not necessarily a rebuttal of the arguments put forth by these critics. It instead shows how these perspectives developed out of questionable contentions and the fraying of modern political philosophies. Some of the most thoughtful and relevant of contemporary critiques were those belonging to John Rawls (1921–2002) and Hannah Arendt (1906–75), where their teachings provided a complex and sometimes changing insights on the topic.

Keywords:   Nelson Mandela, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George Washington, modern political philosophies, contemporary critiques, John Rawls, Hannah Arendt

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