NEWPORT, R.I. – Robert K. Faulkner, professor of political science at Boston College, will present a free lecture, “The Case for Greatness: Noble Ambition and Its Critics” as part of the Atwood Lecture Series at Salve Regina University.
Faulkner’s talk, free and open to the public, will be given on Tuesday, March 8 at 4:30 p.m. in Bazarsky Lecture Hall, located in the O’Hare Academic Center on Ochre Point Ave.
“What makes a Lincoln, Mandela or FDR stand out?” Faulkner questions. “Is it not finally qualities of soul, especially ambition for superior and just accomplishments? This talk is an inquiry into admirable ambition and its moral limits and political problems. It is also ‘a case for’: a defense against skeptics who reduce superior ambition to desire for power, fame, or domination, or to a violation of equal respect.”
Faulkner teaches and writes chiefly about modern political philosophy and American political and legal thought. He is author of The Case for Greatness: Honorable Ambition and Its Critics (2007), Francis Bacon and the Project of Progress (1993), Richard Hooker and the Politics of a Christian England (1981), and The Jurisprudence of John Marshall (1968).
His book on honorable ambition includes chapters on Xenophon's Cyrus, Plato's Alcibiades, Aristotle's virtue of magnanimity, and critiques by Hobbes, Kant, Nietzsche, Rawls, and Arendt. Faulkner co-edited America at Risk (2009) and Marshall's Life of George Washington (2000).
He has written recently about Lincoln’s prescriptions for liberal democracy, Carlyle on the hero, the differences between Xenophon’s Cyrus and Herodotus’s, Aristotle’s doubts about executive power, Locke's republicanism and critique of religion, and Bacon's scientific method and his use of the essay as a literary form.
Faulkner was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford and has held fellowships from the Ford, Mellon, Earhart, and Bradley foundations and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is a past chair of the department and a past president of the New England Political Science Association.