Category Archives: Dallmayr, Fred

Against Apocalypse: Recovering Humanity’s Wholeness (2015)

Against Apocalypse: Recovering Humanity's Wholeness

by Fred Dallmayr

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“The book denounces the irresponsible recklessness of some geopolitical agendas which are pushing the world relentlessly toward a major global war, and possibly toward nuclear destruction or apocalypse. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has recently placed the ‘Doomsday Clock’ at three minutes to midnight. Signs pointing toward a possible grand disaster are multiple: everywhere one looks in our world today one finds ethnic and religious conflicts, bloody mayhem, incipient genocide, proxy wars and ‘hybrid wars’, renewal of the Cold War. Add to these ills global economic crises, massive streams of refugees, and the threats posed by global warming – and the picture of a world in complete disorder is complete. Thus, it is high time for humankind to wake up.Starting from the portrayal of global ‘anomie’, the book issues a call to people everywhere to oppose the rush to destruction and to return to political sanity and the quest for peace. This is a call to global public responsibility. In ethical terms, it says that people everywhere have an obligation to prevent apocalypse and to ‘maintain’ our world or ‘hold the world together’ in all its dimensions – including the dimensions of human and social life, natural ecology, and human spiritual aspirations (or openness to the divine). Differently out: in lieu of the prevailing disorder and brokenness, the book urges us to search for a new ‘wholeness’ and just peace.

The book is intercultural and also inter-disciplinary. Since the aim is holistic – to hold the world together – the book necessarily has to draw on many disciplines: including philosophy, theology, social science, history, and literature. In terms of Western philosophical and intellectual legacies, it draws mainly on the teachings of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Derrida. It also offers a completely new interpretation of the work of Thomas Hobbes, unearthing in this work an ethical demand to exit from the state of perpetual warfare in the direction of a shared commonwealth. The text also relies on the teachings of Christian theology (both Catholic and Protestant), invoking at crucial junctures the works of Karl Barth, Raimon Panikkar, and others. In terms of non-Western intellectual and spiritual legacies, the book offers new interpretations of leading texts in the Indian and Chinese traditions. Thus, emphasis is placed on the ideas of ‘world maintenance’ (loka-samgraha) in Hinduism and of “All-Under-Heaven” in classical Chinese thought. Although a central thrust of the text is for a new wholeness, the goal is not a uniform synthesis where everything would be swallowed up in a bland unity. Rather the issue is how to preserve diversity of the world in its rightful integrity, by linking all elements in a complex web of interconnections and ‘relationality.'”

Being in the World: Dialogue and Cosmopolis (2015)

Being in the World: Dialogue and Cosmopolis

by Fred Dallmayr

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“It is commonly agreed that we live in an age of globalization, but the profound consequences of this development are rarely understood. Usually, globalization is equated with the expansion of economic and financial markets and the proliferation of global networks of communication. In truth, much more is at stake: Traditional concepts of individual and national identity as well as perceived relationships between the self and others are undergoing profound change. Every town has become a potential cosmopolis―an international city―affecting the way that people conceptualize the relationship between public order and political practice.

In Being in the World, noted political theorist Fred Dallmayr explores the globe’s transition from the traditional Westphalian system of states to today’s interlocking cosmopolitan network. Drawing upon sacred scriptures as well as the work of ancient philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle and more recent scholars such as Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Raimon Panikkar, this book delves into what Dallmayr calls “being in the world,” seen as an aspect of ethical-political engagement. Rather than lamenting current problems, he suggests addressing them through civic education and cosmopolitan citizenship. Dallmayr advocates a politics of the common good, which requires the cultivation of public ethics, open dialogue, and civic responsibility.”

Freedom and Solidarity: Toward New Beginnings (2015)

Freedom and Solidarity: Toward New Beginnings

by Fred Dallmayr

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“The prevailing Western paradigm is modernity: a model focused on individual liberty, secularism, and the scientific control of nature. This worldview emerged from the break with the medieval and classical past and advanced a philosophy in which the solitary mind opposes the rest of the world. Although there is a simple appeal in this binary structure, history has shown that it is neither socially nor politically innocuous.

In Freedom and Solidarity, noted political theorist and humanist Fred Dallmayr seeks to bridge the gap between the self and the outside world. Drawing on new scholarship and his work with the World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations, a global, nongovernmental organization of distinguished thinkers, he challenges dominant worldviews and heralds new possibilities for political thought and practice. Dallmayr argues that while we need not reject all the values of modernity, it is imperative that we resist the simplifications inherent in dualism and fundamentally reassess the notions of freedom and solidarity.

Engaging a breathtaking array of influential thinkers, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Henry David Thoreau, Gandhi, Albert Camus, John Dewey, and Dimitry Likhachev, Dallmayr explores the possibility of a transition from the modern paradigm―a mode of life presently in decay―toward a new beginning in which freedom and solidarity can be reconciled, making it possible for humanity to flourish on a global scale.”