The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) congratulates Senior Fellow Ann Hartle on the publication of “Liberal Education and the Civil Character” in the Summer 2018 edition of Modern Age. “Prufrock,” an email newsletter devoted to books, arts, and ideas and published by The Weekly Standard, also featured Hartle’s piece as “Essay of the Day.”
In the article on the proper understanding of civility, Hartle states ‘“If we wish to understand what civility is, we need to see it in its origins, its emergence as a new moral character at the beginning of the modern era. This character was first given expression in the Essays of Michel de Montaigne. Civility is actually the overcoming of the will to power, the natural desire to dominate others, not a mask for covering over that natural political attitude. Without civility, there is only the will to power. And in order for civility to exist, there must be something higher, more important, than politics.”
Ann Hartle is professor emeritus of philosophy at Emory University and the author of Montaigne and the Origins of Modern Philosophy. This essay is adapted from a paper presented at the 2016 annual conference of the Association for Core Texts and Courses.