Ferenc Hörcher, born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1964. Ph.D. from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest. Associate Professor in Aesthetics at Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Piliscsaba.
Magyar Fellow (1 September 2005 – 31 January 2006)
POLITICAL PRUDENCE. TOWARDS A THEORY OF ARISTOTELIAN CONSERVATISM
During my five months stay in Wassenaar I wrote the first drafts of five chapters of my planned book on political philosophy, provisionally entitled The Politics of Prudence – Towards a Philosophy of Aristotelian Conservatism. These chapters deal with philosophical anthropology, action theory, the theory of the state and of law, the informal reservoirs of communal knowledge and the meaning of conservatism. I still need to write a further chapter on the time concept of conservatism as well as an introductory chapter. This book should be ready for submission for publication by the end of 2006.
NIAS also made a contribution to my research in other ways:
The circumstances were ideal for my work. I had all the facilities (office, technical equipment, help of staff) which was needed to work effectively. The dedicated librarians made a terrific job making almost all the books available to me which my research required.
I was inspired by other fellows especially the two theme groups. The linguists helped me in my understanding of the significance of the development of a linguistic ability in humans, and directed my interest to such new fields of study as cognitive linguistics, developmental psychology, the evolution of language etc. I was especially inspired by the Carolingian historians, who gave me expert advice on the fall of the Roman Empire as well as on minor philological problems. But above all, they were exemplary as a group dedicated to their research interests and having a research ethos which is all too rare to be seen today.
Finally, I was able to consult Dutch colleagues, from Leiden and Rotterdam University (including Hans Blom) on Grotius and Pieter de la Court), Andreas A. M. Kinneging (on the Ciceronian tradition), and Adriaan Rademaker (on the Greek concept of sophrosyne).
In addition to my main project, I wrote an article on Edmund Burke and Tocqueville and I took part and gave papers at four conferences and workshops (on Pieter de la Court, on Tocqueville, on Sartre and on the Intellectual History of the Eighteenth Century). All in all, I have wonderful memories of NIAS and hope to return someday.