Stephen G. Salkever
Ph.D., University of Chicago.
A.M., University of Chicago.
Areas of Focus
Stephen Salkever has taught at Bryn Mawr since 1969. His field is political philosophy, with particular interests in Greek political philosophy, America political thought, contemporary political philosophy, constitutional and legal theory, and comparative philosophy (Western and Chinese). He is the author of Finding the Mean: Theory and Practice in Aristotelian Political Philosophy (1990), and articles on Plato, Hume, Rousseau, and on a variety of contemporary issues approached from perspectives derived from Greek philosophy.
The connections between Aristotle's teachings and the study of political science is a key part of Salkever's work. "Aristotle forces us to confront both the need for and the danger of authority in moral and political life," he says. Professor Salkever recently presented a series of lectures at Loyola University on this subject, entitled "Practical Reason and Political Science: Aristotle and Contemporary Political Analysis," and offered a way of reading Aristotle as a philosopher whose central aim is to persuade his readers to ask questions about the place of politics in human life.
Professor Salkever argues that understanding Aristotle in this way provides a new and attractive model for thinking about the nature of political science as a discipline in particular — one which stresses classroom teaching as much as research — and of liberal education in general. "The core of this understanding is the idea that the goal of such education should be to develop a sense of the connection between practical problems and broad philosophizing," he says.