A European Experience in the South: Eric Voegelin, the Southern Agrarians and Common Sense Philosophy

20 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2012


The purpose of this research paper is twofold. First to examine Eric Voegelin’s treatment of common sense philosophy, especially its role in the foundation of an innovative political science. In this context, Voegelin’s formative years in the United States and his early reflexions on the “intellectual formation” of the American society, discussed in the book On The Form of the American Mind, will also be considered.

Secondly, I will link Voegelin’s analysis of common sense philosophy to the Southern Agrarian tradition. Voegelin had a strong connection with the South and, even if he was not a southerner, his years in Baton Rouge were one of the most significant periods for his philosophical speculation and the acquaintances he made. I will demonstrate the Agrarian perspective to common sense philosophy. The argument is not that Southern Agrarian conservatism can be likened to the Scottish common sense tradition. I do not want to claim historical continuity. It is only that Scottish common sense and Southern Agrarianism (via antebellum intellectuals), distinct as they are, are movements that have some similarities. In particular, I intend to focus upon the Agrarians’ perspective about literature and the philosophical import of literature considering its crucial importance in helping to address the crises of modern political, social and spiritual order.

Suggested Citation

Stradaioli, Nicoletta, A European Experience in the South: Eric Voegelin, the Southern Agrarians and Common Sense Philosophy. APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2130945 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2130945

Nicoletta Stradaioli (Contact Author)

University of Perugia ( email )

Perugia, 06121

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