Fred Dallmayr is Packey Dee Professor of Government at the University of Notre Dame.Contributors: Robert Alexy. Karl-Otto Apel. Seyla Benhabib. Dietrich Bohler. Jurgen Habermas. Otfried Hoffe. KarlHeinz Ilting. Hermann Lubbe.
Barely a decade after the end of the Cold War, the fury of violence has been unleashed around the world, taking the form of terrorism, wars against terrorism, and genocidal mayhem. These developments stand in contrast to more hopeful legacies of the twentieth century: creation of the United Nations and adoption of international documents such as the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights." These legacies have encouraged a series of initiatives aiming at the formulation of a global or cosmopolitan ethics guiding (...) the global community. The essay examines the promise and drawbacks of some of these initiatives. After reviewing proposals sponsored by Hans Küng and Martha Nussbaum, the essay turns to criticisms registering a perceived neglect of situated differences and motivational resources. To correct these deficits, the conclusion focuses on the political plane arguing that a viable global ethics needs to be anchored in, or supplemented by, a global political praxis. (shrink)
Globalization is often seen as a process of universal standardization under the auspices of market economics, technology, and hegemonic power. Resisting this process without endorsing parochial self-enclosure, Fred Dallmayr explores alternative visions that are rooted in distinct vernacular traditions and facilitate cross-cultural learning in an open-ended global arena.
Inter-cultural dialog is frequently treated as either unnecessary or else impossible. It is said to be unnecessary, because we all are the same or share the same ‘human nature'; it is claimed to be impossible because cultures seen as language games or forms or life are so different as to be radically incommensurable. The paper steers a course between absolute universalism and particularism by following the path of dialog and interrogation - where dialog does not mean empty chatter but the (...) exploration of the ‘otherness’ of interlocutors on the far side of either assimilation or exclusion. Such dialog is the heart of hermeneutics as formulated by Hans-Georg Gadamer. The paper explores the question whether hermeneutical interpretation can be transferred from textual readings to the domain of cross-cultural encounters. After discussing both the historical development and the basic meaning of contemporary hermeneutics, the paper draws attention to the intimate linkage between interpretive understanding and ‘application’, or ‘practical philosophy.’ Drawing on the insights of Gadamer and some more overtly political thinkers, the paper then shows the relevance of hermeneutics for cross-cultural studies, as an antidote to the looming ‘clash of civilizations.’ It turns to some writings by Maurice Merleau-Ponty in order to emphasize the necessary linkage between interactive dialog and concrete embodied engagement. Undercutting purely mentalist or ‘idealist’ misconstruals of dialog, this linkage shows the mutual compatibility between Gadamerian hermeneutics and existential phenomenology. Keywords: hermeneutics; dialogue; praxis; cross-cultural understanding; Gadamer; Merleau-Ponty (Published: 10 March 2009) Citation: Ethics & Global Politics. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v2i1.1937. (shrink)
Barely a decade after the end of the Cold War, the fury of violence has been unleashed around the world, taking the form of terrorism, wars against terrorism, and genocidal mayhem. These developments stand in contrast to more hopeful legacies of the twentieth century: creation of the United Nations and adoption of international documents such as the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” These legacies have encouraged a series of initiatives aiming at the formulation of a global or cosmopolitan ethics guiding (...) the global community. The essay examines the promise and drawbacks of some of these initiatives. After reviewing proposals sponsored by Hans Küng and Martha Nussbaum, the essay turns to criticisms registering a perceived neglect of situated differences and motivational resources. To correct these deficits, the conclusion focuses on the political plane arguing that a viable global ethics needs to be anchored in, or supplemented by, a global political praxis. (shrink)
The touchstone of these seven original essays is the relationship between polis and praxis - the public-political space and the political action that maintains and is conditioned by that space. The argument flows from Martin Heidegger's lament in his Letter on Humanism that modern philosophers have failed to understand that the essence of "action" is "accomplishment." Dallmayr's lucid essays are a step toward achieving that understanding.Dallmayr assesses and puts into perspective the work of many of the seminal thinkers of the (...) 20th century - Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jürgen Habermas, Hannah Arendt, Leo Strauss, Michael Oakeshott - as he takes up such topics as the plausibility of friendship as a model for political relations, the relationship between political praxis and "experience," Heidegger's ontology of freedom, Foucault's treatment of power, and the merits and disadvantages of Habermasian critical theory. The result is a stimulating and original contribution to current political discourse that explores and advocates the manifold possible levels of active political life below and above the level of the State.Fred Dallmayr has established a reputation as a theorist and critic who is equally well attuned to European and American currents of philosophical and political thought. Like Hannah Arendt, he sees the essay as an ideal form for exercises in theorizing en route while venturing beyond traditional categories and philosophical benchmarks. His aim in this book is not a close-knit propositional framework but a set of tentative and partially continuous explorations that are provocative and inviting, like the movements of a musical suite.Fred R. Dallmayr is Packey Dee Professor of Government, University of Notre Dame. (shrink)
Are human rights universal, and, if so, in what sense? Starting with the opposition between "foundational" universalism (as articulated in modern natural law and rationalist liberalism) and "antifoundational" skepsis or relativism (from Jeremy Bentham to Richard Rorty) and steering a path beyond this dichotomy, an inquiry is made into the "rightness" of rights-claims, a question that calls for situated, prudential judgment. With specific reference to "Asian values," Henry Rosemont's emphasis is followed on the need to differentiate between "concept clusters" and (...) reflecting different modes of human flourishing--clusters that are neither radically incommensurable nor blandly uniform and exchangeable. What this emphasis suggests is that the globalism or universalism of human rights is not a pre-given premise but rather a challenge and practical task--requiring intensive inter-human and cross-cultural learning and (what Tu Wei-ming calls) the ongoing "humanization" of humankind. (shrink)
The essay seeks to disentangle the meaning or meanings of the catch word ‘‘cosmopolitanism’’. To contribute to its clarification, the essay distinguishes between three main interpretations: empirical, normative, and practical or interactive. In the first reading, the term coincides basically with ‘‘globalization’’ where the latter refers to such economic and technical processes as the global extension of financial and communications networks. A different meaning is given to the term by normative thinkers like Kant, Rawls, and Habermas. In this reading, cosmopolitanism (...) refers to a set of moral and/or legal norms or principles governing international politics, regardless of whether these principles are derived from ‘‘noumenal’’ consciousness, an ‘‘original position’’ or rational discourse. Noting the is/ought dilemma troubling normativism, the essay introduces the further meaning of practical interaction. Indebted to the teachings of pragmatism, hermeneutics, and virtue ethics, this reading mitigates the split between norm and conduct through practical engagement and education.Keywords: globalization; liquidity; banal cosmopolitansim; normativism; pragmatism; hermeneutics. (shrink)
This volume shows how Gandhi's thought and action-oriented approach are significant, relevant, and urgently needed for addressing major contemporary problems and concerns, including issues of violence and nonviolence, war and peace, religious conflict and dialogue, terrorism, ethics, civil disobedience, injustice, modernism and postmodernism, oppression and exploitation, and environmental destruction. Appropriate for general readers and Gandhi specialists, this volume will be of interest for those in philosophy, religion, political science, history, cultural studies, peace studies, and many other fields.
Small wonder: finitude and its horizons -- The underside of modernity: Adorno, Heidegger, and Dussel -- Empire or cosmopolis: civilization at the crossroads -- Confronting empire: a tribute to Arundhati Roy -- Speaking truth to power: in memory of Edward Said -- Critical intellectuals in a global age: toward a global public sphere -- Social identity and creative praxis: hommage á Merleau-Ponty -- Nature and artifact: Gadamer on human health -- Borders or horizons?: an older debate revisited -- Empire and (...) faith: sacred non-sovereignty -- Appendix: A. The dignity of difference: a salute to Jonathan Sacks -- B. Religion and rationality: Habermas and the early Frankfurt school -- Nomolatry and fidelity: a response to Charles Taylor. (shrink)
In a paradoxical manner, Heidegger's work is deeply tainted by his complicity with totalitarian (fascist) oppression, despite the fact that his philosophy, in its basic tenor, was always dedicated to freedom and resistance to totalizing uniformity. While acknowledging his early fascination with power struggles, the essay tries to show how, as a corollary of his turning (Kehre), Heidegger steadily sought to extricate himself from the tentacles of oppressive power (Macht) and manipulative domination (Machenschaft). The focus here is on recently published (...) treatises of the 1930's. The conclusion inserts Heidegger's thought into the contemporary arena of global standardization. (shrink)
The process of globalisation and the so-called war on terror are two prominent features marking our present age. While the process of globalisation promises the prospect of moving beyond or across borders, the war on terror marks a return to fences, check-points, and dividing walls. Terror war is a global politics of fear, a politics conducted under the rigid border control between ‘us’ and ‘them’. This paper examines the ominous development of fear in world politics from a number of angles. (...) First, it explores the growing linkage of politics with terror war by tracing its roots ultimately to the friend-enemy distinction. Next, it discusses the shortcomings of the terror war syndrome, by turning to some prominent critics of this ideology. Finally, it examines possible ways pointing beyond this ideology, enlisting for this purpose a number of theologians and intellectuals, to arrive at the promising notions of ‘border-crossing’ and political-existential Grenzgänger or people who criss-cross multiple borders. (shrink)
In this essay, Fred Dallmayr examines the role played by Hindu-Muslim relations in India’s struggle for independence. He documents Gandhi’s long involvement in “the Muslim question” and his promotion of a “heart unity” that sees inter-communal harmony as a precondition for genuine independence. This contrasted sharply with the formal constitutional approach of prominent Muslim leaders, a contrast heightened by Gandhi’s occasional “Hindu” rhetoric, his response to the 1921 Mappila rebellion in Kerala, but most importantly, a procedural differentiation with Muslim leaders (...) over “separate-but-equal” vs. liberal constitutionalist positions. The lessons from this investigation lead Dallmayr to conclude that a “heart-and-mind” unity has substantial salience for a cooperative approach to contemporary inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts. (shrink)
September 11 is first of all a cause of mourning, both for the immediate victims and for the dismal condition of humanity. Seeking to derive lessons for the future, the article explores the implications of the events along three lines: for the United States; for the Muslim world; and for the international community. With regard to the United States, September 11 disclosed the vulnerability of the country in the midst of a relentlessly shrinking and interdependent world. This realization calls into (...) question the deeply ingrained American preference for isolationism and/or unilateralism . With regard to the Muslim world, September 11 disclosed the lack of a viable political agenda - thus underscoring the need for a political reconstruction of the dar al-Islam. With regard to the international community, September 11 revealed the weakness of mediating institutions between hegemonic globalism and fragmented localism, hence counseling the building of regional institutions. (shrink)
Western Political Thought in Dialogue with Asia is a unique collection of essays that examines the exchange of political ideas between Western Europe and Asia from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century. The contributors to the volume call for globalizing the scope of research and teaching in the history of political thought.