In this essay I want to show that while the concept of autonomy can hardly make a meaningful contribution to the understanding of contemporary artworks, the concept of the dignity of artwork can make such a contribution.
This essay argues that Popper's work, seen from the vantage point of increasing historical distance, can be viewed as the first attempt to understand the grand narrative as the adjustment of metaphysics to the modern world. When viewed from such a distance enduring questions regarding holism, identity, essentialism, and truth can once again be thrown into relief, together with the pressing issues of the paradox of freedom and sovereignty.
While Shakespeare's historical and political imagination mainly centres on the traditional character of the stranger or exile, The Merchant of Venice and Othello stand out as dramas about a new figure, the absolute stranger. The absolute stranger belongs to a new situation Shakespeare found in cosmopolitan Venice. Through Shylock and Othello, Shakespeare encounters the drama of the outsider's failed assimilation into cosmopolitan life. For Shakespeare, the figure of the absolute stranger is a representative illusion, and these two plays are dramas (...) about the modern world. (shrink)
The author discusses two questions, the relation between liberalism and democracy, and the relation between ethics, morality and law. As to the first question, she argues that neither liberalism nor democracy are merely formal. Roughly spoken, it can be said that liberalism stands for negative liberties, whereas democracy stands for positive ones. She observes a non-contingent tension between the ethos of liberalism (personal freedom) and the ethos of democracy (equality; majority rule). It is the task of morality to maintain and (...) restore the balance between these two kinds of ethos. As to the second question, she is worried about the balance between law (legal regulation), ethics, and morality. On the one hand, abolishing legal regulations would amount to abolishing the freedom of the moderns. On the other hand, the substitution of legal regulations for ethical regulations would lead to a similar result: the end of the freedom of the moderns through the homogenisation of life. In the former case, personal support, charity, magnanimity, and caring would get lost, while in the latter there would be no escape from community pressure towards uniformity. (shrink)