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.
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 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)
Philosophical anthropology is a broad-gauged study of man drawing on the findings of empirical sciences and the humanities. The paper is intended as a tribute to one of the pioneers in this field. The first part outlines central features of Plessner's conception, focusing on man's instinctual deficiency and his 'eccentric position' in the world; man from this perspective is an 'embodied' creature in the dual sense of experiencing the world through his bodily organs and of 'having' a body and being (...) able to reflect on his mundane situation. In social terms the perspective implies that man can find himself only through embodiment in institutional settings and role patterns - settings which, however, remain open to reinterpretation and revision. Subsequently Plessner's outlook is compared and contrasted with alternative views of the human condition. According to Gehlen, man's instinctual deficiency an openness need to be corrected through institutional stability and the standardization of role structures. Reviewing leading writings of the 'counter-culture', a final section explores contemporary anti-institutional trends which see man as a fugitive from social constraints and his search for self-fulfilment as antithetical to role patterns. (shrink)
Western modernity is frequently praised as a process of emancipation liberating individuals from external tutelage. While in the early phases of modernity, individual autonomy was still socially nurtured and embedded, subsequent developments put the premium steadily on negative liberty, thus pushing individuals into private self-enclosure. Autonomy thus became divorced from social and political agency. In psychoanalysis such divorce is called autism or narcissism. The article first examines Zygmunt Bauman’s discussion of the pathology in his The Individualized Society. Next to show (...) the progressive globalization of the malaise, the article turns to an analysis of contemporary Indian society by Ashis Nandy. Finally, the article considers a possible remedy for the pathology: the restoration of a ‘public realm’ as recommended by Hannah Arendt. (shrink)
This book suggests a link between the citizen-philosopher Socrates and the radical, disobedient, and nonviolent Socrates. Ramin Jahanbegloo explains how these two complementary characteristics were transmitted to nonviolent reformers and practitioners Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Albert Camus.
Comparative Political Theory and Cross-Cultural Philosophy explores new forms of philosophizing in the age of globalization by challenging the conventional border between the East and the West, as well as the traditional boundaries among different academic disciplines. This rich investigation demonstrates the importance of cross-cultural thinking in our reading of philosophical texts and explores how cross-cultural thinking transforms our understanding of the traditional philosophical paradigm.