About the Department
Michael L. Frazer
Michael L. Frazer
Associate Professor of Government and of Social Studies
Michael L. Frazer's research focuses on canonical political philosophy and its relevance for contemporary political theory. After receiving his B.A. from Yale University and his Ph.D. from Princeton University, Professor Frazer spent the 2006-7 academic year as a postdoctoral research associate in the Political Theory Project at Brown University.
Professor Frazer's book The Enlightenment of Sympathy is now available from Oxford University Press. It argues that, while Enlightenment rationalists such as Immanuel Kant separated reflective reason from the unreflective mental faculties that must obey its commands, their sentimentalist contemporaries such as David Hume, Adam Smith and J. G. Herder did not. Instead, they saw moral and political reflection as the proper work of the mind as a whole. Without emotion, imagination and the imaginative sharing of emotion then known as "sympathy," we would be incapable of developing the reflectively-refined moral sentiments which are the basis of our commitment to justice and virtue. The Enlightenment of Sympathy reclaims the sentimentalist theory of reflection as a resource for enriching social science, normative theory and political practice today.
Professor Frazer has also published articles on Maimonides, Nietzsche, John Rawls and Leo Strauss in such journals as Political Theory and The Review of Politics.
|Esotericism Ancient and Modern||Michael L. Frazer, "Esotericism Ancient and Modern: Strauss Contra Straussianism on the Art of Political-Philosophical Writing," Political Theory 34:1, February 2006, pp. 33-61|
|The Compassion of Zarathustra||Michael L. Frazer, "The Compassion of Zarathustra: Nietzsche on Sympathy and Strength," The Review of Politics, 68 (2006), pp. 49-78|
|John Rawls: Between Two Enlightenments||Michael L. Frazer, “John Rawls: Between Two Enlightenments.” Political Theory, 35:6, December 2007, pp. 756-780.|
|Review of "Nietzsche’s Political Skepticism"||Michael L. Frazer, “Another Nietzsche,” Review of Tamsin Shaw, "Nietzsche’s Political Skepticism." The Review of Politics 71:1 (2009), pp. 149-151.|
|Review of "Political Thought and History"||
Michael L. Frazer, Review of J. G. A. Pocock, "Political Thought and History: Essays on Theory and Method," Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, November 6, 2009.
|The Modest Professor||Michael L. Frazer, "Review Article: The Modest Professor: Intepretive Charity and Interpretive Humility in John Rawls's Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy," The European Journal of Political Theory (9:2) 2010, pp. 218-226.|
|The Diversity in US Social Science||Michael L. Frazer, "The Diversity in US Social Science," Harvard International Review 32:1 (2010), pp. 4-5.|
1737 Cambridge St, CGIS Knafel Building 420, Cambridge MA 02138
2012-13: Social Studies 10a/b: Introduction to Social Studies
Spring 2013: GOV 2095: The Nature and Purposes of Political Theory