Terms and Topics from Voegelin’s New Science of Politics, chapter two

(with approximate page references to Modernity Without Restraint and Chicago editions)

These terms will overlap with the outline of the chapter that is presented in both the University of Chicago paperback edition and the University of Missouri collected works edition (vol. 5), Modernity Without Restraint

“Representation and Truth”

epistemological questions—questioning everything that was done in chapter one (/52-53)

“truth”—your truth, my truth (/53ff)

transcendental representation—society representing a truth beyond its mere existence (/54)

            how related to “culture”

ancient “cosmological societies”—Achaemenides/Persians, Mongols  (/55-59)

new questions resulting from the questioning of the truth represented by cosmological societies (/59)

theoretical truth and its discovery—Jaspers, Bergson, Snell  (/60)

open and closed societies, open and closed souls—philosophy

Plato’s “anthropological principle”—(1) interpretive principle and (2) instrument of social critique; society as microcosm to society as macroanthropos (/61)

theoretical truth—not a philosophy but the exploration of the human soul, true order of man

“theory”—[§5 of lecture] the class of experiences necessary to theory, compactness-differentiation (/64)

·         eros toward truth (sophon), beauty (kalon), goodness (agathon)

·         dikη—justice

·         thanatos—death

·         periagogé—turning around, conversion


truth is always a differentiation (66)

soul/psyche­ as region open toward transcendent reality (/67)

true order of the soul represents truth about human existence on border of transcendence: God (/67)

steps in this development: (/68-9)


periagoge, “theology,” education or paideia or nurture (/69)

the impasse—is the anthropolocial society possible (/70)

tragedy—cult, miracle of, evocation of experience in responsive audience (/71-74)

tragedy replaced by Socrates

mystery of “critical clarification” (/75)




This chapter introduces the concept of transcendent representation and the problem of the conflict of “truths.” To the Persian and Mongol cosmological societies mention by Voegelin we should add the ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Hebrew societies discused in the Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man collection obliquely alluded to by Voegelin.

Sections four—on theoretical truth—and five—on the class of experiences required by “theory—clearly constitute the core of the lecture.  The section on the discovery of the mind or soul and the section on Greek tragedy are also important.


Additional related readings: