The question ‘How does a person make an ethical decision?’ becomes all the more compelling and problematic when trying to behave ethically during, as A ́ gnes Heller puts it, ‘the total breakdown of ‘‘normal’’ ethical worlds’. In her philosophical work Heller pieces together a moral compass internal to individual subjectivity to employ during such times. Kierkegaard’s model of existential choice has played a formative role in Heller’s solution to the problem. In my article I describe (...) class='Hi'>Heller’s Kierkegaardian framework of choosing oneself as an ethical being and consider a recent critique of Heller’s Kierke- gaardian ethics of personality by Richard J. Bernstein, continuing the substantively pro- ductive tension between the irrational and rational forces that determine our ethical actions. In the process, I show common ground between Bernstein and Heller through an appropriation of Arendtian judgment. I turn to Heller’s most recent work in The Concept of the Beautiful in order to make this common ground tangible. (shrink)
The issue of infinity appeared in cosmology in the form of a question on spatial and time finiteness or infinity of the universe. Recently, more and more talking is going on about “other universes”, the number of which may be infinite. Speculations on this topic emerged in effect of the discussions on the issue of the anthropic principle, and the so-called inflation scenario. In truth, this kind of speculations are hardly recognized as scientific theories, however, they may be included in (...) a sort of “scientific fringe” fulfilling a beneficial heuristic function.All of the speculations regarding numerous universes boil down to the juggling of probabilities, i.e. to the applying of the theory of probability to the universes’ set. However, without probabilistic measure being introduced onto this “set” —and there is no knowledge at all as to how to do this—such considerations may not go beyond a vague intuition.The producing of other universes usually results from an assumption that the disturbing of original circumstances, of values of physical constants, or of other parameters characterizing the universe is possible. On the other hand, the idea of the final theory seems to assume that the mathematical structure of this theory should be rigid, i.e. that the disturbing of its parameters leads on to the very same structure. This would have eliminated the possibility of the existence of other universes.The idea of infinite number of universes sometimes has an anti-theological undertone: there is no need for assuming purposeful acting of the Creator, since all possibilities are fulfilled. The reaction of a theologian may be as follows: Just the same, God may create just a single universe, as much as an infinite number of universes. What’s more, one may risk saying that God is not interested in nothing that may be short of infinity. (shrink)
The Time Is Out of Joint presents an examination of Shakespeare's distinctly modern confrontation with time and temporality, the difference between the truth of the fact, that of theory, and that of interpretation and revelatory truth, and finds that Shakespeare anticipated post-metaphysical philosophy and its central concerns at a time when modern metaphysics had not yet reached it speak. Visit our website for sample chapters!
Agnes Heller conversó con la Redacción de Areté el 24 de abril de 2003, durante una visita a la Universidad Católica para dictar la Lección Inaugural del Año Académico de la Facultad de Letras y Ciencias Humanas. En la conversación estuvieron presentes los profesores Pepi Patrón, Fidel Tubino y Miguel Giusti.
ABSTRACTMost students of politics are familiar with Carl Schmitt’s definition of politics as a friend–enemy distinction. Yet, only few know of alternative conceptions of politics in interwar Germany that emphasize cooperation and legality over confrontation and decisionism. To unlock such views, this article examines the work of Hermann Heller, a social-democratic constitutional theorist, and takes a close look at his conceptualization of politics as a sphere, activity and discipline. For Heller, ‘the political’ consists in turning human conflict into (...) social cooperation. For him, the political may be conflictual, but is also conditioned by shared norms and agreed rules. By consequence, to act politically means to order the antagonistic social relations that are typical of every human society. In this sense, politics is a purposeful activity, but one which leaves the content of every decision unconfined and the potentialities that follow endless. Like politicians, politics scholars must reflect on ethical and legal principles, while remaining focused on context-specific political problems. The study of politics cannot be disconnected from the study of law, ethics and social reality. Heller’s work showed that the way we conceive of politics is directly related to the way we study politics and vice-versa. (shrink)
Agnes Heller is one of the leading thinkers to come out of the tradition of critical theory. Her awesome intellectual range and output includes ethics, philosophical anthropology, political philosophy and a theory of modernity and its culture. Hungarian by birth, she was one of the best known dissident Marxists in central Europe in the 1960's and 1970's. Since her forced immigration she has held visiting lectureships all over the world and has been the Hannah Arendt Professor of Philosophy at (...) the New School in New York for the last twenty years. This introduction to her thought is ideal for all students of philosophy, political theory and sociology. Grumley explores Heller's early work, elaborating her relation to Lukacs and the evolution of her own version of Marxism. He examines the subsequent break with Marxism and the initial development of an alternative radical philosophy. Finally, he explains and assesses her mature reflective post-modernism, a perspective that is both sceptical and utopian, that upholds a critical humanist perspective just as it critiques contemporary democratic culture. (shrink)
This provocative book attempts to resolve traditional problems of identity over time. It seeks to answer such questions as 'How is it that an object can survive change?' and 'How much change can an object undergo without being destroyed'? To answer these questions Professor Heller presents a theory about the nature of physical objects and about the relationship between our language and the physical world. According to his theory, the only actually existing physical entities are what the author calls (...) 'hunks', four-dimensional objects extending across time and space. This is a major contribution to ontological debate and will be essential reading for all philosophers concerned with metaphysics. (shrink)
Eyal Benvenisti has sought to provide an optimistic account of international law through reconceptualizing the idea of sovereignty as a kind of trusteeship for humanity. He thus sketches a welcome antidote to trends in recent work in public law including public international law that claim that international law is no more than a cloak for economic and political interests, so that all that matters is which powerful actor gets to decide. In this Article, I approach his position through a discussion (...) of the debate in Weimar about sovereignty between Carl Schmitt, Hans Kelsen and Hermann Heller. I try to show that Heller’s almost unknown legal theory might be helpful to Benvenisti’s position. Heller shared with Schmitt the idea that sovereignty had to have a central role in legal theory and that its role includes a place for a final legal decision. Indeed, much more than Schmitt, Heller regarded all accounts of sovereignty as inherently political. However, in a manner closer to the spirit of Kelsen’s enterprise than to Schmitt’s, he wished to emphasize that the ultimate decider - the sovereign decision unit of the political order of liberal democracy - is entirely legally constituted. Moreover, Heller argued that fundamental principles of legality condition the exercise of a sovereign power in a way that explains the specific legitimacy of legality and which might supply the link between sovereignty and ideas such as trusteeship and humanity. (shrink)
This is the second book by Michael Heller which presents to English readers his previously written papers on science and theology. The first one, The New Physics and a New Theology is worth mentioning in this context because in it, Michael Heller proposes a new direction in theology - the theology of science. The theology of science as envisioned by Heller is defined as an authentic theological reflection on the existence, foundations, methods, and results of modern science. (...) Its purpose is to break down the mutual lack of trust between science and theology and to help theology advance to a new stage, where it can participate creatively in the currents of modern thought. Philosophers of science examine the boundaries of natural science and what can be known by the methods of science alone. Theology extends beyond these boundaries to include the supernatural, although Heller is far from embracing any kind of dualism. His way of extending these boundaries is different. A good example is provided by Einstein's famous question, „Why is the world comprehensible?" Neither Einstein nor any other philosopher or scientist is able to answer this question. It is theology that has to take over and seek the answer to Einstein's question. Heller provides more similar issues. (shrink)
The article tracks the development of Agnes Heller”s political philosophy as it evolves through the Marxism and reform communism of her years as a dissent Hungarian intellectual, followed by the period of her encounters with the Western Left and with the currents of postmodern liberalism.
This short article shows that Heller’s assertion that I have announced the death of the early modern French bourgeoisie is misplaced. At the same time, it defends the view that a prolonged period of economic stasis together with the low level of bourgeois classness make it impossible to sustain Engel’s view that absolute monarchy rested on a supposed balance between it and the nobility. In conclusion, it is suggested that Marxist analysis cannot be reduced to a treatment of class-anatogonisms.
The paper aims to investigate the meaning of historicity in the light of Ágnes Heller’s interpretation of history as ‘being-in-common’. By touching on the problem of the modern world’s axiological pluralism, the issue of the legitimation of moral theories and the dilemma of morals, the paper analyses Heller’s conception of human goodness as an incontrovertible, inexplicable and mysterious ‘fact’ that is able to illuminate the path of human life and determine the opening of the individual onto the world (...) with the same wonder that marks the beginning of any philosophical attitude. (shrink)
By dovetailing the classical concepts of virtue, beauty, harmony and happiness with the cardinal values of modern imagination, life and freedom, Agnes Heller galvanizes modernity's anthropological reflexivity and hints at the prospect of a classicism pertinent to the present. Beyond nostalgia for an ancient past or apology for a contemporary present, her moral anthropology is approached via a dialectical elucidation of aspects of epicurean theory attuned to modernity's complexity. Under the contemporary condition of waning postmodern challenges, escalating confusion and (...) cynicism, moral anthropology's task is as one of probing modernity's destiny for a non-predatory humanism that combines the existential wisdom of ancient theory with modern values. (shrink)
Le travail théorique du juriste et philosophe Hermann Heller reste très peu connu en France. Alors que les ouvrages de son principal adversaire de cette époque, Carl Schmitt, sont traduits partout dans le monde, la grande majorité des écrits constituant les trois tomes de l’œuvre complète de Heller, rééditée en 1992 à Tübingen par la maison d’édition Mohr,..
In ‘The Choice Theory of Contracts’, we advance a claim about the centrality of autonomy to contract. Since publishing Choice Theory, we have engaged dozens of reviews and responses; here, we reply to Robert Stevens, Arthur Ripstein, and Brian Bix. All this rigorous debate confirms for us one core point: contract’s ultimate value must be autonomy, properly understood and refined. Autonomy is the telos of contract and its grounding principle. In Choice Theory, we stressed the proactive facilitation component of autonomy, (...) in particular, the state’s obligation regarding contract types. Here, we highlight two additional, necessary implications of autonomy for contract: regard for future selves and relational justice. These three aspects of autonomy shape the range, limit, and floor, respectively, for the legitimate use of contract. They provide a principled and constrained path for law reform. (shrink)