As he elaborates the idea of weak ontology and the broad criteria behind it, White shows how these are already at work in the thought of contemporary writers of seemingly very different perspectives: George Kateb, Judith Butler, Charles ...
Postmodernism has evoked great controversy and it continues to do so today, as it disseminates into general discourse. Some see its principles, such as its fundamental resistance to metanarratives, as frighteningly disruptive, while a growing number are reaping the benefits of its innovative perspective. In Political Theory and Postmodernism, Stephen K. White outlines a path through the postmodern problematic by distinguishing two distinct ways of thinking about the meaning of responsibility, one prevalent in modern and the other in postmodern perspectives. (...) Using this as a guide, White explores the work of Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard, and Habermas, as well as 'difference' feminists, with the goal of showing how postmodernism can inform contemporary ethical-political reflection. In his concluding chapter, White examines how this revisioned postmodern perspective might bear on our thinking about justice. (shrink)
Edmund Burke: Modernity, Politics, and Aesthetics examines the philosophy of Burke in view of its contribution to our understanding of modernity. Stephen K. White argues that Burke shows us how modernity engenders an implicit forgetfulness of human finitude. White illustrates this theme by showing how Burke's political thought, his judgment of the "modern system of morality and policy," and its taste for a "false sublime" are structured by his aesthetics.
In this article I explore the character and importance of a democratic ethos. Ferrara develops such a concept around the idea of ‘openness’ as part of his broader ideal of seeking to foster exemplary expansions of political identity with the goal of better accommodating the ‘hyperpluralism’ polities face today. I argue that ‘openness’ has several drawbacks that hinder its possible functioning in such a role, contending rather that ‘presumptive generosity’ is to be preferred. The latter can contribute more effectively than (...) the former to enhancing Ferrara’s notion of exemplarity. (shrink)
How should inquiry into ethical-political life come to terms with “depth experience”? I mean by this extraordinary experience that breaks into the familiar frames of meaning and reasoning that undergird everyday life, bringing some sort of transformation of commitments or identity. I speculate broadly about such experience, expanding the focus beyond theistic experiences, such as being “born-again.” When one does this, depth experience need not be thought, as it often is, anathema to political theory. I show rather that it can (...) be cultivated so as to animate an admirable “bearing” on the part of citizens of affluent, late-modernsocieties. (shrink)
In this paper I take issue with Rainer Forst's claim that his account of the demand for justification that is at the core of the idea of justice provides our political thinking with a final “fundamentum inconcussum”.
This essay develops the idea that Analytic and Continental orientations to political theory are best comprehended not as mortal enemies, but rather as alternative lenses that, together, allow us to better perceive a broader range of significant aspects of political life than is possible by adhering to only one of these approaches. This claim is fleshed out by an analysis of the communicative action paradigm developed by Jürgen Habermas. If this paradigm is revised somewhat in order to make it less (...) dominated by the ideal of consensuality, it can then be taken to be quite attractive in the way it perceptively deploys these two lenses. (shrink)
Is the critique of modern, liberal subjectivity warranted, and, if so, how do we proceed in its aftermath? This article clarifies the ways in which such a critique is valid, as well as the ways in which it both misses its mark and gives us little in the way of resources for thinking further about subjectivity. I argue that thinking in the aftermath must articulate a weak ontological portrait of subjectivity that vivifies the value of both political generosity (emphasized by (...) critics like William Connolly) and equal respect (as emphasized by the defenders of liberalism like Charles Larmore). (shrink)