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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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)
In an age marked by global hegemony and festering civilization clashes, Fred Dallmayr's Achieving Our World charts a path toward a cosmopolitan democracy respectful of local differences. Dallmayr draws upon and develops insights from a number of fields: political theory, the study of international politics, recent Continental philosophy, and an array of critical cultural disciplines to illustrate and elucidate his thesis. In Achieving Our World, Dallmayr contends that a genuinely global and plural democracy and 'civic culture' is the only viable (...) and promising path for humankind in the new millennium. (shrink)
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)
During the last few years two major volumes have been published, both greatly revised versions of earlier Gifford Lectures: Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age ( 2007 ) and Raimon Panikkar’s The Rhythm of Being ( 2010 ). The two volumes are similar in some respects and very dissimilar in others. Both thinkers complain about the glaring blemishes of the modern, especially the contemporary age; both deplore above all a certain deficit of religiosity. The two authors differ, however, both in the (...) details of their diagnosis and in their proposed remedies. Taylor views the modern age—styled as “secular age”—as marked by a slide into secular agnosticism, into “exclusive humanism”, and above all into an “immanent frame” excluding theistic “transcendence”. Although sharing the concern about “loss of meaning”, Panikkar does not find its source in the abandonment of (mono)theistic transcendence; on the contrary, both radical transcendence and agnostic immanence are responsible for the deficit of genuine faith. For him, recovery of faith requires an acknowledgment of our being in the world, as part of the “rhythm of being” happening in a holistic or “cosmotheandric” mode. In classical Indian terminology, while Taylor’s emphasis on the transcendence-immanence tension reflects ultimately a dualistic perspective (dvaita), Panikkar’s holistic notion of the rhythm of being captures the core of Advaita Vendanta. (shrink)
James Baldwin ends his famous book The Fire Next Time with these moving lines: If we - and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of the others - do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world.
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)
In this essay, Fred Dallmayr considers the writings and activism of Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things and Power Politics. First, Dallmayr examines the proper role of the writer-activist, comparing Roy to Edward Said. For each, writing and politicsare neither separate nor are they independent of the writer’s distinctive being-in-the-world. He then examines her critique of corporate business and the war machine, especially in relation to the construction of destructive “mega-dams” in India. The privatization of public services (...) in India has done little to provide safe drinking water and electricity to some eighty percent of India’s rural population. Dallmayr finds in Roy an unmatched voice of hope and commitment to a more just, more humane future, sustained by a love that will not quit. (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)
Liberalism and democracy are not identical. In the phrase “liberal democracy” the two terms are conflated—with the result that liberalism tends to trump democracy. My paper challenges this tendency. It first examines critically central features of “minimalist” liberal democracy as formulated by some leading theorists. The discussion then shifts to critical assessments in both the East and the West. Turning first to South Asia, the focus is placed on Gandhi’s teachings regarding popular self-rule (swaraj) where the latter does not mean (...) “selfish rule” but rather the ability of people to rule themselves in an ethical manner. Moving to East Asia, I concentrate on Confucianism which emphasizes the basic ethical “relationality” of human life and stands opposed to both radical individualism and collectivism. The paper concludes by invoking the work of John Dewey who famously defined democracy as an ethical community. (shrink)