Uncommon Knowledge with Harvey Mansfield

Last week we posted Peter Robinson’s interview with Harvey Mansfield. Given our format, the interview rotated off the site after a few days. We’ll have another installment of Uncommon Knowledge next week. In the meantime, here is the interview with Professor Mansfield, once more once, after a brief introduction.
Harvey C. Mansfield is the William R. Kenan, Jr., professor of government at Harvard University, with which he has been affiliated since he matriculated as an undergraduate in 1949. Professor Mansfield is a distinguished teacher of political philosophy. He is the author of many fine books including Manliness and, most recently, Tocqueville: A Very Short Introduction.
In A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy, Professor Mansfield writes:”Political philosophy is found in great books…and in books by professors. You should spend much more time with the great authors than with the professors, and you should use the professor to help you understand the great authors; you should not allow yourself to be diverted or distracted from the great books by the professors. Why not go for the gold? Why be content with the dross?”
Professor Manfield’s derogation of the professors in favor of the great authors shows, slightly ironically, that he himself is a wise man who is worth attending to. Professor Mansfield recently sat down for an interview with Peter Robinson on the current state of the university. Through our arrangement with the Hoover Institution, we are pleased to present the interview in its entirety. Please check it out.

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