Putting Liberalism in Its Place
Princeton University Press, 2009 M01 10 - 336 páginas
In this wide-ranging interdisciplinary work, Paul W. Kahn argues that political order is founded not on contract but on sacrifice. Because liberalism is blind to sacrifice, it is unable to explain how the modern state has brought us to both the rule of law and the edge of nuclear annihilation. We can understand this modern condition only by recognizing that any political community, even a liberal one, is bound together by faith, love, and identity.
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To speak of sovereignty—in the American case, popular sovereignty—is to speak of a relationship of meaning between the citizen and the community considered as a unified, historical subject. Our liberalism operates within this politics ...
In love, the body appears neither as end nor as means, but an instantiation of meaning. Love locates the infinite in the particular; love expresses a faith in a world that embodies a transcendent meaning. This is why Plato can describe ...
The state makes a claim upon us that we perceive as one of ultimate meaning. Quite literally, we can be conscripted by the state: it can demand of us that we sacrifice the self for the maintenance of the political community.
Chapter 4 switches the psychological inquiry from a focus on reason to a focus on meaning—that is, meaning for us. Here, I explicitly develop an alternative theory of the will to replace the liberal conception of will as contract.
What remains wholly indeterminate, however, is whether this postmodern displacement of a politics of ultimate meaning will lead to the rise of other forms of ultimate meaning, to understand which we again need to consider the structure ...
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