Tag Archives: Political Modernity

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.”

Machiavelli’s Legacy: The Prince After Five Hundred Years (2015)

Machiavelli's Legacy: ed. Timothy Fuller

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“Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince is one of the most celebrated and notorious books in the history of Western political thought. It continues to influence discussions of war and peace, the nature of politics, and the relation of private ethics to public duties. Ostensibly a sixteenth-century manual of instruction on certain aspects of princely rule and behavior, The Prince anticipates and complicates modern political and philosophical questions. What is the right order of society? Can Western politics still be the model for progress toward peace and prosperity, or does our freedom to create our individual purposes and pursuits undermine our public responsibilities? Are the characteristics of our politics markedly different, for better or for worse, than the politics of earlier eras? Machiavelli argues that there is no ideal, transcendent order to which one can conform, and that the right order is merely the one that has the capacity to persist over time. The Prince’s emphasis on the importance of an effective truth over any abstract ideal marks it as one of the first works of modern political philosophy.

Machiavelli’s Legacy situates Machiavelli in general and The Prince in particular at the birth of modernity. Joining the conversation with established Machiavelli scholars are political theorists, Americanists, and international relations scholars, ensuring a diversity of viewpoints and approaches. Each contributor elucidates different features of Machiavelli’s thinking, from his rejection of classical antiquity and Christianity, to his proposed dissolution of natural roles and hierarchies among human beings. The essays cover topics such as Machiavelli’s vision for a heaven-sent redemptive ruler of Italy, an argument that Machiavelli accomplished a profoundly democratic turn in political thought, and a tough-minded liberal critique of his realistic agenda for political life, resulting in a book that is, in effect, a spirited conversation about Machiavelli’s legacy.

Contributors: Thomas E. Cronin, David Hendrickson, Harvey Mansfield, Clifford Orwin, Arlene Saxonhouse, Maurizio Viroli, David Wootton, Catherine Zuckert.”