Beyond Burgenland and Kakanien? Post-national politics in Europe: political justification and critical deliberation
Title: Beyond Burgenland and Kakanien? Post-national politics in Europe: political justification and critical deliberation
Author: WITTROCK, Jon
Citation: Florence, European University Institute, 2008
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
This thesis sets out from the problem of a perceived prescriptive incoherence between, on the one hand, the structures of liberal democracy and, on the other hand, an underlying ideal of the nation. It then moves on to specify that problem as pertaining to competing sources of fundamental political justification, and the author agrees with those defending some version of public reason. However, he asks: Does this really entail the formation, necessarily, of a secular polity? And, he answers: That depends on what we mean by ‘secular’; and so the thesis proceeds to include an analysis of the conceptual pair of religious/secular along the lines of later analytic philosophy, arguing that we have to understand these concepts in terms of their implied ideals and practices, and that we cannot expect to find an essential core uniting all of their uses. And as a consequence of the above considerations, the author argues in favour of translating some of the components found within religious traditions into a ‘post-Christian’ context, in which they are liberated from their connections to predetermined doctrines and set frameworks of interpretation; but unlike many working in the Kantian tradition, he does not focus on an ‘ethical’ or ‘moral’ content, but rather on what has often been called an ‘aesthetic’ one. This latter term, however, originally refers, simply, to perception, and the author introduces the concept of ‘oscillation’ to describe a phenomenological movement which has been included, albeit not under that name, as an analytical figure by several of the most important critical thinkers of the 20th century, and proceeds to inquire into the possible consequences, prescriptively, of this line of reasoning, thereby sketching, in the end, three paths ‘beyond Burgenland and Kakanien’ which he call, firstly, a ‘comprehensive critique’, secondly, a weak and thirdly a strong ‘critical synthesis’, respectively. Finally, he tries to outline the limits of his position and speculates on possible future developments.
LC Subject Heading: Political science
Defense date: 13/06/2008; Examining Board: Prof. Peter Wagner, University of Trento, Supervisor Prof. Robert Pippin, University of Chicago Prof. Arpad Szakolczai, University of Cork Prof. Bo Stråth, University of Helsinki
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