What is perhaps most remarkable in regard to both Socialism and Anarchism is the association of a widespread popular movement with ideals for a better world. The ideals have been elaborated, in the first instance, by solitary writers of books, and yet powerful sections of the wage-earning classes have accepted them as their guide in the practical affairs of the world. In regard to Socialism this is evident; but in regard to Anarchism it is only true with some (...) qualification. Anarchism as such has never been a widespread creed, it is only in the modified form of Syndicalism that it has achieved popularity. Unlike Socialism and Anarchism, Syndicalism is primarily the outcome, not of an idea, but of an organization: the fact of Trade Union organization came first, and the ideas of Syndicalism are those which seemed appropriate to this organization in the opinion of the more advanced French Trade Unions. But the ideas are, in the main, derived from Anarchism, and the men who gained acceptance for them were, for the most part, Anarchists. Thus we may regard Syndicalism as the Anarchism of the market-place as opposed to the Anarchism of isolated individuals which had preserved a precarious life throughout the previous decades. Taking this view, we find in Anarchist-Syndicalism the same combination of ideal and organization as we find in Socialist political parties. It is from this standpoint that our study of these movements will be undertaken. (shrink)
This essay is an attempt to piece together the elements of G. A. Cohen's thought on the theory of socialism during his long intellectual voyage from Marxism to political philosophy. It begins from his theory of the maldistribution of freedom under capitalism, moves onto his critique of libertarian property rights, to his diagnosis of the “deep inegalitarian” structure of John Rawls' theory and concludes with his rejection of the “cheap” fraternity promulgated by liberal egalitarianism. The paper's exegetical contention is (...) that Cohen's work in political philosophy is best understood in the background of lifelong commitment to a form of democratic, non-market, socialism realizing the values of freedom, equality and community, as he conceived them. The first part of the essay is therefore an attempt to retrieve core socialism-related arguments by chronologically examining the development of Cohen's views, using his books as thematic signposts. The second part brings these arguments together with an eye to reconstructing his vision of socialism. It turns out that Cohen's political philosophy offers a rich conception of objective and subjective freedom, an original understanding of justice as satisfaction of genuine need, and a substantive ideal of fraternity as justificatory community with others. If properly united, these values can suggest a full-bloodied account of the just polity, and give us a glimpse into what it means, for Cohen, to treat people as equals. (shrink)
In his book Why Not Socialism? , G.A. Cohen described several kinds of inequality that would be acceptable under socialism, yet nonetheless harmful to community. I describe another kind of inequality with this property, deriving from the legitimate transmission of preferences and values from parents to children. In the same book, Cohen proposes that the designing of a socialist allocation mechanism is a key problem for socialist theory. I maintain this is less of a problem than he believes. (...) Finally, some thoughts on the “law of motion of socialist ethos ” are offered. (shrink)
Making use of capital to develop China’s socialist market economy requires China not only to fully recognize the tendency of capital civilization but also to realize its intrinsic limitations and to seek conditions and a path for overcoming contradictions in the mode of capitalist production. Karl Marx’s theory of capital provides us with a key to understanding and dealing properly with problems of capital. At the same time we should also pay heed to Western research on, experience with, and lessons (...) from capitalist economies developed over the past four centuries summarized in the field of “business ethics”. (shrink)
Until 1917 Lenin and Trotsky believed that an isolated revolutionary Russia would have no chance of survival. However, from 1917 to 1923 Lenin's standpoint on this matter underwent a complete reversal. First he came to the conclusion that socialism could be built in an isolated Russia, although it would remain incomplete in the absence of the world revolution. By 1923 he was abandoning that latter qualification too. The standpoint of Stalin and Bukharin in the debate on socialism in (...) one country of 1925–26 was more orthodox-Leninist than the position taken by Trotsky, who had at first also embraced the notion of incomplete socialism, but subsequently returned to the old concept, abandoned by Lenin, that the restoration of capitalism was inevitable in the absence of the world revolution. (shrink)
Socialists believe that equality, community, and economic democracy can only be achieved by a system of joint ownership in the means of production. These property rights do not, as such, pass judgment as to what rights individuals have to their own person. Libertarians believe that individual liberty and autonomy are only coextensive with a set of stringent rights to the person and its powers. These property rights do not, as such, pass judgment as to what rights individuals have to the (...) external world. Bringing libertarianism and socialism together is therefore, in principle, possible. This paper takes this further step, by sketching a constituiton that reconciles individual autonomy with radical equality of condition. To those libertarians drawn to socialist values (such as the pioneers of nineteenth-century anarchism), the paper offers a reconciliation that is arguably more true to these values than left-libertarianism. To those socialists drawn to libertarian values, it offers an alternative to left-libertarianism that avoids the pitfalls of statism. (shrink)
Modern socialist economic reforms which center on the establishment of a commodity based economic system, demand a reconsideration of human nature. Marxism and human sociobiology give different answers to questions about human nature, but neither is complete in itself. It seems timely, therefore, to suggest that a combination of biological understanding with a Marxist-based social understanding would produce a more adequate notion of human nature, thereby helping us to resolve a number of problems posed by reforms currently taking place in (...) socialist countries. We might also hope to face new challenges posed in the future. (shrink)
The paper highlights the dependence of the level of organizational trust on work ethic and aims to show that development of trust in organizations can be␣stimulated by raising the level of work ethic with organizational practices. Based on the framework by Kanungo, R. N. and A. M. Jaeger (1990, ‘Introduction: The Need for Indigenous Management In Developing Countries’, in A. M. Jaeger and R. N. Kanungo (eds.), Management in Developing Countries (Routledge, London), pp. 1–23), historical–cultural analysis of the Lithuanian context (...) is carried out. The country is chosen as an example of a post-socialist context where work ethic and trust in the society tended to be rather low. The authors discuss organizational practices, particularly the ones related to people management, which can facilitate development of work ethic, and thus, trust in organizations operating in a post-socialist context. The importance of a processual approach to the development of organizational trust and the ethical content of organizational practices, which are aimed at developing organizational trust is highlighted. Directions for further research are indicated. (shrink)
Since 1972, the journal Radical Philosophy has provided a forum for the discussion of radical and critical ideas in philosophy. This anthology reprints some of the best articles to have appeared in the journal during the past five years. It covers topics in social and moral philosophy which are central to current controversies on the left, focusing on theoretical issues raised by socialist, feminist, and environmental movements. The articles engage with contemporary issues in critical terms, and represent the best of (...) recent philosophical work on the left. (shrink)
This contribution discusses the philosophical meaning of the Martin Heidegger’s Rectoral address. First of all, Heidegger’s philosophical basic experience is sketched as the background of his Rectoral address; the being-historical concept of “Anfang”. Then, the philosophical question of the Rectoral address is discussed. It is shown, that Die Selbstbehauptung der deutschen Universität is asking for the identity of human being there (Dasein) in connection with the question about dem Eigenen (the Germans) and dem Fremden (the Greeks). This opposition structuralizes the (...) confrontation with the beginning of philosophical thinking in the Rectoral address. When read against the philosophical background sustaining the Rectoral address, words appearing therein such as “Kampf”, “Macht”, “Volk” and “Marsch” have nothing in common with the same words as used by the Nazis. It is shown that the Rectoral address is an extremely ambiguous text, because it claims a transformation of human being there (Dasein). Although Heidegger’s view on National Socialism is distinguished from Nazis ideology, it is clear that he made a mistake about Hitler. This article makes clear how Heidegger later changed his mind and vocabulary, and in what way this kind of mistakes and changes of mind are inherent to philosophical empiricism. (shrink)
Spencer's evolutionary philosophy is usually identified with right-wing doctrines such as individualism, laissez-faire liberalism and even conservatism. Since he himself defended similar positions, it is perhaps not surprising that the study of the political interpretations of his ideas has drawn relatively little attention. In this article I propose to examine a rather atypical reading of Spencer's organic analogy, though definitely not a marginal one: Enrico Ferri's Marxist doctrine of Scientific Socialism. Ferri is not a figure unknown to scholars interested (...) in the political aspects of the evolutionary debate. Nonetheless, the relation between his theory and Spencer's biosociology -- notably the complex dialectic of themes such as "the struggle for existence" versus "class struggle," or "evolution" versus "revolution" -- has not yet received full-length analysis. In my study I investigate the diffusion of Spencer's ideas in Italy and their impact on the new "positivist" sciences of psychology and sociology inasmuch as these questions are essential to understanding Ferri's position. Throughout, I stress the importance of the intellectual and political context in the process of appropriation of ideas that led to this unexpected shift in meaning. (shrink)
In 1933 the philosopher Martin Heidegger declared his allegiance to Hitler. Ever since, scholars have asked to what extent his work is implicated in Nazism. To address this question properly involves neither conflating Nazism and the continuing philosophical project that is Heidegger's legacy, nor absolving Heidegger and, in the process, turning a deaf ear to what he himself called the philosophical motivations for his political engagement. It is important to establish the terms on which Heidegger aligned himself with National (...) class='Hi'>Socialism. On the basis of an untimely but by no means unprecedented understanding of the mission of the German people, the philosopher first joined but then also criticized the movement. An exposition of Heidegger's conception of Volk hence can and must treat its merits and deficiencies as a response to the enduring impasse in contemporary political philosophy of the dilemma between liberalism and authoritarianism. (shrink)
During the British socialist revival of the 1880s competing theories of evolution were central to disagreements about strategy for social change. In News from Nowhere (1891), William Morris had portrayed socialism as the result of Lamarckian processes, and imagined a non-Malthusian future. H.G. Wells, an enthusiastic admirer of Morris in the early days of the movement, became disillusioned as a result of the Malthusianism he learnt from Huxley and his subsequent rejection of Lamarckism in light of Weismann's experiments on (...) mice. This brought him into conflict with his fellow Fabian, George Bernard Shaw, who rejected neo-Darwinism in favour of a Lamarckian conception of change he called "creative evolution.". (shrink)
After the collapse of the command structures of the party-state in society and economy, it appeared that the integrative mechanisms as they are developing now in the post-socialist countries have a very limited cohesiveness in the sense that they can not easily support disequilibria and resist disruptions. The asynchronous collapse of old and developing of new integrative mechanisms created integrational vacuums at various levels. The dynamics of this process of conflicting time scales created additional problems of cohesion in each of (...) the domains. It appeared that (dis)integration processes in politics and economics are closely interrelated. Marketization in itself offered enforced fragmentation rather than furthering cohesÃon. The link between cohesion within Central and Eastern Europe and Europe at large is also discussed here. (shrink)
Eroticism seems to be the essence of individuation and the freedom that brings Otherness into being. For this reason eroticism had to be disguised and softened by a mechanism of control within the society of any monolithic communist power. There- fore, one of the images that were altered was that of the woman. This was done under the pretext of a project of emancipation, initiated by the Communist party, which made claims in women’s name but utilized women’s organizations for socialist-communist (...) propaganda. The article analyzes this manipulative politics and it’s effects on the social imagery: it created the image of a New woman - the aggressive woman with the profile of a communist warrior and a masculine body in a carnival-like movement that was biased, restrictive, and gender-blind. (shrink)
Scholarly debates on sustainable consumption have generally overlooked alternative agro-food networks in the economies outside of Western Europe and North America. Building on practice-based theories, this article focuses on informal raw milk markets in post-socialist Lithuania to examine how such alternative systems emerge and operate in the changing political, social, and economic contexts. It makes two contributions to the scholarship on sustainable consumption. In considering semi-subsistence practices and poverty-driven consumption, this article argues for a richer, more critical, and inclusive theory (...) of sustainability that takes into consideration vernacular forms of exchange and approaches poor consumers as subjects of global history. Second, it revisits practice theories and infrastructures of consumption approaches to consider ruptures, discontinuities, and historical change in infrastructures as a way to account for inequalities and experiences of marginalization. (shrink)
For most of nineteenth-century socialists, whose writings are examined in the scope of this paper, women’s equality with men was understood mainly in terms of their equal participation in the working collective. However, this concept of equality left unexamined the sexual division of labor by which men are central to production and women are central to reproduction. In the process of change towards a new socialist society, women were given the additional role of workers, but the bases of the unequal (...) gender order were never contested. (shrink)
Social life is changing very fast. People are trying to find out reasons of living in a safe society and understand their role in it. The ‘wrong’ and ‘right‘ models of the social life, state and law systems are appearing. In the XXth century, one of them – socialism – made suggestion how to solve social problems, determinated of capitalism. This work deals with the situation of Lithuanian social thought in the Republic of Lithuania (1900-1940). In the article, the (...) standpoint of catholics of socialism is reflected. Catholics displayed socialism as a system, which accumulated many distorted images about human nature, motivations of human behavior, society and its functionating. Considering the society being an organic totality of individuals, but not a faceless mass, and an individual being a personality having natural rights to be respected, but not considered as a little screw without any rights in the state machine, with whom any experiments may be performed, they disclosed Utopia of the idea, proposed by socialists, of the possibility of a perfect society creation by the only preliminarily arranged correct plan,. For this purpose to be achieved, they constructed a model of socialist economy and then destroyed it, demonstrating economical unefficiency of this system. In this manner, intellectuals warned Lithuania and its people about the destructiveness of the realization of such an experiment. In spite of criticism of socialism, some intellectuals, such as A. Maceina, S. Šultė and S. Šalkauskis, appeared to be rather respective to the new social ideas and did not distinguish any social economic system as the best and only one. They thought that all the world, including Lithuania, has to create a new social life and take as a base the progressive ideas of socialism and capitalism. According to the opinion of the catholics, the most reliable way to a safe sočiety and economical welfare passes through the cooperation of individuals and state’s duty to create right laws. Ideological spirit was the main obstacle for the intellectuals to recognize trends of socialism by their aims and methods. That is the reason, why socialism was identified as bolsevism. However, the expression of the intellectuals’ opinion about socialism, its ideological herritage and perspectives enriches the research of the Lithuanian legal phylosophical and political thought and allows to understand better the ideological development of socialism and to define its competence and limits of validity in the contemporary world. Valuable ideas may be fruitfully used in creating a democratic society, social state and the rule of law. (shrink)
This paper aims to analyze the social structure of the society in Teutonic state (1226-1525), which was distinct from structure of estate societies. The author put hypothesis that Teutonic Knight monopolised in their state political, economical and spiritual power. In the light of this thesis certain trends from history of the state of Teutonic Order are explained.
The book narrates how, called to embody this selfless spirit, medical doctors were trapped in a spiral between cultivation and abolition, leading to the explosion of ideology during the Cultural Revolution.
The concept of 'social brain‘ is a hybrid, located somewhere in between politically motivated philosophical speculation about the mind and its place in the social world, and recently emerged inquiries into cognition, selfhood, development, etc., returning to some of the founding insights of social psychology but embedding them in a neuroscientific framework. In this paper I try to reconstruct a philosophical tradition for the social brain, a ‗Spinozist‘ tradition which locates the brain within the broader network of relations, including social (...) relations. This tradition runs from Spinoza to Lev Vygotsky in the early 20th century, and on to Gilles Deleuze, Toni Negri and Paolo Virno in recent European philosophy, as a new perspective on the brain. The concept of social brain that is articulated in this reconstruction – some early-20th century Soviet neuropsychologists spoke of socialism and the cortex as being ―on the same path‖ – overcomes distinctions between Continental thought and the philosophy of mind, and possibly gives a new metaphysical framework for social cognition. (shrink)
A moral case for socialism is made, eschewing efficiency arguments?as crucial as they are in other contexts. The best feasible models of socialism and capitalism are compared with respect to such fundamental values as well?being, rights, autonomy, equality and justice. It is argued that a feasible democratic socialism is superior in all these dimensions to even the best feasible forms of capitalism.
Hayek's and Mises's argument for the impossibility of socialist planning is once again popular. Their case against socialism is predicated on an account of the nature of knowledge and social interaction. Hayek refined Mises's original argument by developing a philosophical anthropology which depicts individuals as tacitly knowledgeable rule-followers embedded in a 'spontaneous order' of systems of rules. Giddens, whose social theory is informed by his reading of Wittgenstein, has recently added his sociological support to Hayek's 'epistemological argument' against (...) class='Hi'>socialism. With the aid of an interpretation of Wittgenstein which emphasizes his philosophy of praxis , I attempt to 'deconstruct' Giddens's and Hayek's 'picture' of tacit knowledge and rule-following on which their argument against socialism is predicated. (shrink)
I explicate and defend a form of liberal socialist nationalism. It is also a nationalism which is cosmopolitan. Explication and explanation are crucially in order here, for it is not unreasonable to believe that 'cosmopolitan nationalism' and 'liberal socialist nationalism' and even 'liberal nationalism' are oxymoronic. Against that I argue that there is a straightforward understanding of these concepts and their relations to each other that does not have inconsistencies or even paradoxes. Liberal socialism properly understood goes well with (...) cosmopolitanism (both moral and institutional), and there are plausible and attractive forms of both liberalism and socialism that go together. Moreover, the only candidate for a nationalism that would survive careful reflective inquiry is a liberal nationalism: a nationalism which is neither ethnic nor civic. It is widely believed, however, that even a liberal nationalism is incompatible with cosmopolitanism. I contend in a series of arguments that in contexts where nationalism is rightly on the agenda the form that it should take is that of a liberal nationalism, and it is further argued that to be viable, nationalism requires cosmopolitanism. (shrink)
Is economic justice inherently opposed to a competitive market economy? Or are the two natural allies? Theorists of justice and critics and defenders of capitalism have been debating these issues for hundred of years. In my view, we do not yet have a sufficiently clear understanding either of what justice requires or of what the market economy might deliver to reach a definitive resolution of these debates. I took several broad swipes at these issues in essays published decades ago. One (...) of these essays (Arneson 1987) has elicited an intelligent and thoughtful critique by Russell Keat (this journal). I welcome the opportunity to revisit these issues, which still seem to me to be of great significance, even if my own attempts to engage them now appear to shed more heat than light. I find myself thoroughly is disagreement both with the main claims advanced by my 1987 essay and with Keat’s criticisms of them. In the first three sections of this paper I explain what is wrong with the views of my earlier self, and in the final section I explain why I do not find Keat’s critique compelling. I start with a brief rehearsal of my earlier arguments. Readers may consult Keat’s essay for excellent and accurate statements of my 1987 conclusions and the arguments I offered in their support. Arneson 1987 argues that if a market socialist economy of a syndicalist sort is established, if the distribution of resources is continuously adjusted to be fair, and if the market operates efficiently, further intervention in the market to bring it about that people gain more of the benefits of meaningful work would be unjust and unfair.1 The just economy maximizes a function of people’s preference satisfaction that balances two concerns: other things being equal, a greater aggregate degree of satisfaction of the ensemble of people’s preferences (each preference weighted by its importance to the individual who has it) is better, and other things being equal, a more equal degree of satisfaction of the preferences of each person is better.. (shrink)
In Why Not Socialism?, GA Cohen defines socialism as the combined application of two moral principles: the egalitarian principle and the principle of community. The desirability of a social order organized around these two principles is illustrated by the ‘camping trip’ example. After describing the fundamental features of the camping trip scenario at reasonable length, Cohen argues that the desirability of such a social model is nearly self-explanatory, concluding therefore that the most significant challenges to socialism lie (...) in its feasibility. This article argues that the desirability of the camping trip model as an appropriate ideal for society is less obvious than Cohen acknowledges. To argue my point, I shall compare the camping trip with another social practice that is equally small sized and characterized by strong emotional ties among its members, but in which the conditions of what I shall call ‘goal-monism’ and discontinuity in time do not hold, namely, the family. (shrink)
Like Mises before him, Hayek challenges the validity of socialism as a centrally planned economic regime typically characterized by state ownership of all means of production. What is typical of Hayek's challenge is that he holds that this question is fully theoretical in nature and that it has consequently to be raised and decided as a scientific question. Sketching the historical background of the socialist calculation debate of the 1920s and 1930s, I first show how this debate is linked (...) with the Menger-Wieser Zurechnungsproblem, which indeed constitutes the very topic of Hayek’s 1923 Ph. D. dissertation. I recall that the Pareto-Barone approach based on General Equilibrium Theory (GET) has determined the conceptual framework of this controversy. I then go on to explore Hayek's impracticability argument against market socialism and try to show how it is related to, but different from, Mises’s logical impossibility argument. I argue that the contexts of discussion were completely different in both cases: if Mises was criticizing the possibility of rational economic decisions in a moneyless economy, Hayek was debating against the Lange-Dickinson-Lerner model of market socialism where the prices of first order goods were supposedly fixed following a GET simulation of the competetive market process. The core of Hayek’s line of reasoning is shown to be related to a clever analysis of the notion of ‘data’: the data on which a Central Planification Board is suppose to work out a production and distribution schema for the whole economy are simply unavailable to him because this kind of economic knowledge (which Michael Polanyi calls “tacit knowledge”) cannot be accumulated and stored up anywhere in society, as if the global economy could be directed by a super-brain possessing complete knowledge of every particular situation and able to compute a perfect solution to any economic problem whatsoever.. (shrink)
The study draws attention to the transfer of management theories and practices from traditional capitalist countries such as the USA and UK to post-socialist countries that are currently experiencing radical change as they seek to introduce market reforms. It is highlighted that the efficacy of this transfer of management theories and practices is, in part, dependent upon the extent to which work-related attitudes and values vary between traditional capitalist and former socialist contexts. We highlight that practices such as Human Resource (...) Management (HRM) and Organization Development (OD) are inextricably associated with conceptions surrounding culture and society, as well as to variables such as job satisfaction and organisational commitment. The main aim of this study is to compare various attitudes and values of employees in traditional capitalist countries and post-socialist countries. On the basis of the findings of an attitudinal survey of (N = 5914) workers in 15 countries we conclude that certain aspects of the attitudes and values of workers in post-socialist countries and traditional capitalist countries differ significantly. Specifically, these differences were found in respect of context-related and job-related attitudes, and also in relation to the importance that the respondents attached to the subject of ethics more generally. The implications of the study are discussed particularly in relation to the transfer of management theory and practices between traditional capitalist and post-socialist contexts. (shrink)
Open the Readings on p.217 and look through the table of contents. Part I is an appreciation and critique of Marx. Schumpeter argues that Marx's argument to show that Capitalism will eventually destroy itself is unsound. Nevertheless, Schumpeter himself thinks that Capitalism contains the seeds of its one destruction. Hence Part II: Can Capitalism Survive? The answer he gives is No. But at first, Chapters 5-8, he explains the strengths and virtues of Capitalism. Then he explains why it will eventually (...) be transformed into socialism. Notice Chapter XIII, which is the first of the extracts we will read. (shrink)
This paper examines the epistemological arguments about markets and planning that emerged in a series of unpublished exchanges between Hayek and Neurath. The exchanges reveal problems for standard accounts of both the socialist calculation debates and logical empiricism. They also raise questions concerning the sources of ignorance and uncertainty in modern economies, and the role of market and non-market organisations in the distribution and coordination of limited knowledge, which remain relevant to contemporary debates in economics. Hayek had argued that Neurath's (...) work exemplified the errors of rationalism that underpinned the socialist project. In response Neurath highlighted assumptions about the limits of reason and predictability that the two theorists shared and attempted to turn those assumptions back against Hayek in a defence of the possibility of socialist planning. The paper critically compares Neurath's and Hayek's criticisms of rationalism and considers how far Neurath is successful in his attempt to employ Hayek's assumptions against Hayek himself. (Published Online April 18 2006) Footnotes1 I would like to thank the staff at the Vienna Circle Institute for their assistance in consulting their copy of the Neurath Nachlass. I owe a debt of gratitude to Thomas Uebel and David Archard for their comments on earlier versions of this paper. I would like to acknowledge the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Board and a Manchester University Hallsworth Fellowship in writing this paper. (shrink)
One way to think about capitalism-versus-socialism is to examine the extent to which capitalist economic institutions are compatible with the fulfillment of socialist ideals. The late G. A. Cohen has urged that the two are strongly incompatible. He imagines how it would make sense for friends to organize a camping trip, distills the socialist moral principles that he sees fulfilled in the camping trip model, and observes that these principles conflict with a capitalist organization of the economy. He adds (...) that these principles are ethically attractive, so if it is feasible to organize the economy on the camping trip model, we ought to do so. This essay argues to the contrary that for all that has been said, capitalist economic arrangements might be in the set of institutional arrangements that overall would best fulfill the camping trip principles, and anyway, the principles themselves ought to be rejected, so the question whether or not a capitalist set-up might satisfy these principles should not interest us. The grounds for rejecting the camping trip principles support a form of welfarist consequentialism that denies that equality of distribution of any sort is per se ethically desirable and also denies that liberal freedoms to live as one chooses are per se morally desirable. Equality and freedom should rather be regarded as in the light of possible means (or hindrances) to advancing good for people, fairly distributed. (shrink)
I recently visited the Soviet Union. I was there for only one week, as a tourist: time to get only a very limited and superficial impression of life there. Nevertheless, it was a sobering and thought-provoking experience. For even such a brief visit forces one to confront the problems raised by the evidently unideal character of the Soviet Union and other `actually existing' socialist societies. These are amongst the greatest problems facing socialists in the world today.
The paper examines the sense in which Gianni Vattimo’s story of a long goodbye of modernity along with an interminable weakening of Being inaugurates a leftist philosophico-political project. The hermeneutics of “weak thought” is criticized for (a) its ambiguous concept of interpretation; (b) its way of integrating proceduralism in post-metaphysical philosophizing; and (c) the unhappy marriage it promotes between nihilism and emancipation. Finally, a philosophico-political version of hermeneutic ontology based on the idea of situated transcendence is suggested as an alternative (...) to Vattimo’s nihilistic socialism. (shrink)