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Integral Pluralism

Integral Pluralism: Beyond Culture Wars

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Integral Pluralism
    Book Description:

    In addition to war, terrorism, and unchecked military violence, modernity is also subject to less visible but no less venomous conflicts. Global in nature, these "culture wars" exacerbate the tensions between tradition and innovation, virtue and freedom. Internationally acclaimed scholar Fred Dallmayr charts a course beyond these persistent but curable dichotomies in Integral Pluralism: Beyond Culture Wars. Consulting diverse fields such as philosophy, literature, political science, and religious studies, Dallmayr equates modern history with a process of steady pluralization. This process, which Dallmayr calls "integral pluralism," requires new connections and creates ethical responsibilities.

    Dallmayr critically compares integral pluralism against the theories of Carl Schmitt, the Religious Right, international "realism," and so-called political Islam. Drawing on the works of James, Heidegger, Gadamer, and Merleau-Ponty, Integral Pluralism offers sophisticated and carefully researched solutions for the conflicts of the modern world.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-7368-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. 1. Integral Pluralism: Holism and Difference
    (pp. 1-22)

    In traditional terminology, the world was conceived as a “cosmos,” that is, as an appealingly structured ensemble endowed with internal coherence and a high degree of intelligibility. In conformity with this conception, human societies were seen as small replicas of the cosmic order, replicas whose constituent elements were integrally related, with each fitting harmoniously into a preordained pattern. Since the onset of Western modernity, this orderly vision has been increasingly sundered or thrown into disarray. In large measure, the trajectory of modernity can be construed as a series of steadily deepening dualisms or polarities. In the course of this development,...

  5. 2. The Concept of the Political: Politics between War and Peace
    (pp. 23-44)

    A distinguished American senator and onetime presidential candidate not long ago delivered an important opinion by stating that America will not achieve peace “by being inoffensive.” In the senator’s view, several recent American politicians had brushed aside or forgotten about a basic international reality, namely, “the difference between America’s friends and America’s enemies.”¹ In making this statement, the senator—knowingly or unknowingly—endorsed a crucial principle famously articulated by German legal theorist Carl Schmitt, to the effect that the core of politics—what he terms “the political”—resides in the “friend-enemy” distinction. The senator was by no means alone in...

  6. 3. The Secular and the Sacred: Whither Political Theology?
    (pp. 45-66)

    “Sovereign is the one who decides on the case of exception.”¹ With this sentence Carl Schmitt opens a treatise titledPolitical Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty.The sentence appears forthright and crisp, but one is bound to wonder what it has to do with political theology. Schmitt’s first chapter offers an overview of the historical development of the concept of sovereignty but is silent on political theology. Nor does the second chapter—dealing with the legal connotations of sovereignty—address that issue. It is not until the third chapter that the topic is finally taken up, and...

  7. 4. Postsecular Faith: Toward a Religion of Service
    (pp. 67-84)

    Somewhere in the middle of his life, John Dewey penned a short tract titled “A Common Faith” in which he distinguished between organized “religion” and religiosity or a “religious” disposition. Whereas the former denotes a formal institution wedded to official doctrines and rituals, the latter involves practical conduct, an ethically and perhaps spiritually informed manner of leading one’s life.¹ Dewey does not reject religion per se but rather its tendency to sideline lived experience or to privilege orthodoxy over “orthopraxis.” Despite changed circumstances, his tract on the whole has stood the test of time. Recent decades have seen the renewed...

  8. 5. Religion and the World: The Quest for Justice and Peace
    (pp. 85-102)

    According to a biblical passage (cited earlier), religious faith is meant to be “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). This suggests that religion is meant to be neither separated or divorced from the world nor collapsed into it, but to serve as a ferment or challenge in the midst of human affairs. The same idea is captured in the well-known phrase that religious or spiritual people areinbut notofthis world. Byreligionhere I do not mean a set of doctrines or dogmas but rather a kind of bonding, relatedness, or attentiveness: a relatedness to a...

  9. 6. Hermeneutics and Cross-Cultural Encounters: Integral Pluralism in Action
    (pp. 103-122)

    As customarily defined,hermeneuticsmeans the theory, or rather the practice or art, of interpretation. In its primary and traditional sense,interpretationmeans textual interpretation, that is, the encounter between a reader and a text. In this encounter, something has to happen, some work has to be done: the reader needs to discover the meaning of the text, which is usually far from self-evident. The difficulty of the work is increased in the case of temporal or spatial distance: when the reader wishes to understand a text from another age or in a different language. Yet to some extent, the...

  10. 7. A Man for All Seasons: Mahatma Gandhi’s Integral Pluralism
    (pp. 123-142)

    As the saying goes: the center does not hold. If one were to highlight a central feature of the modern age, one could plausibly point to its centrifugal momentum, its tendency toward fragmentation. In the intellectual domain, the tendency is patently evident in the process of specialization, the relentless segregation of fields of knowledge. However, the trend exceeds the knowledge domain. Together with other thinkers of his time, the philosopher Hegel saw modernity marked by radical “diremptions” or divisions (Entzweiungen)—divisions between knowledge and action, thinking and feeling, private self-interest and the common good—with the prospects of reconciliation growing...

  11. 8. Reason and Lifeworld: Two Exemplary Indian Thinkers
    (pp. 143-166)

    It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of two leading Indian philosophers: Daya Krishna and Ramchandra Gandhi. What renders the loss particularly grievous is the fact that they were not just ordinary academics but exemplary and even iconic Indian thinkers. In a way, during much of their lives they represented two different possibilities of Indian thought, two alternative conceptions of the meaning of philosophy. On the whole, Daya Krishna identified philosophy with critical analysis and the striving for exact knowledge, whereas Ramchandra Gandhi placed himself in the tradition of the great Indian seers, the teachings of...

  12. Appendix A Return of the Repressed: Merleau-Ponty Redivivus
    (pp. 167-174)
  13. Appendix B Disclosure and Critique: Critical Reason and Its Horizons
    (pp. 175-184)
  14. Appendix C On Love with Distinction: A Chinese Debate
    (pp. 185-190)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 191-222)
  16. Index
    (pp. 223-232)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 233-233)