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The Political Life of The Godly Person of a Higher Order

  • James G. Hart
Chapter
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Part of the Phaenomenologica book series (PHAE, volume 126)

Abstract

As humanizations of nature or spiritualizations of sensibility (cultura culturans et culturata) the state and the city are studied in what Husserl called the science of the categorial forms of the pre-given historical world (A V 12 and also A V 10, 43 ff.). Our particular interest is the eidos of the invariant abiding same world’s societal features as they are profiled in the flux of historical-cultural aspects. Both the polis and the state may be said to be empirical universals, i.e., universals or essences which have universal validity for a particular people at a particular time. What follows is an attempt to show, from the vantage point of Husserl’s philosophy, that the polis enjoys a more basic necessity and value than does the state. This theory of the polis, which is much indebted to Aristotle, Hegel, Arendt and the communitarian-political tradition, has occasion to criticize not only Aristotle, Hegel, and Arendt, but also Husserl. Themes in this chapter will serve as a summary and conclusion to much contained in this book. (Unless otherwise noted, the references to Arendt are to The Human Condition; and those to Aristotle are to his Politics; for the Hegel discussion we will follow the provocative reading in Charles Taylor’s Hegel.1)

Keywords

Common Good Political Life Chapter Versus Public Realm Common Life 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958); Charles Taylor, Hegel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Murray Bookchin, Remaking Society (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1989), 80.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    This is intended to be a thin eidetic sketch. For discussions much richer in conceptual and historical detail, see the writings of Murray Bookchin, most recently The Rise of Urbanization and the Decline of Citizenship (San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1987).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Karl Schuhmann, Husserls Staatsphilosophie (Freiburg/Munich: Alber, 1988), 75 and 89 ff. This original and learned discussion mirrors all of Husserl’s philosophy from the vantage point of the theme of the state.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See Murray Bookchin, The Limits of the City (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1974).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    See Maria Mies et alii, Woman: the Last Colony (New York: Humanities Press, 1989). See also Vandana Shiva, Staying Alive: Women,Ecology, and Development (London: Zed Books, 1989) and Mechthild U. Hart, Working and Educating for Life (London: Routledge, 1992).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Alfie Kohn, No Contest: The Case Against Competition (New York: Knopf, 1987).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hannah Arendt, On Revolution (New York: Viking), 267. But even here one wonders how appropriate the council system is if it, from the start, institutes representation ahead of direct participatory democracy.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    In an earlier version of this discussion in Louvain, commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Husserl’s death, John Scanlon emphasized this difficulty.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cited in Toulemont, L’essence de la société selon Husserl, 199. It’s a pity that Husserl did not have literature available to him which made it clear that the ideals of community, i.e., cooperation, non-violence, mutuality, etc., are often realized to a far greater degree in the so-called primitives than in many modern societies, especially states. See, e.g., the anthology of A. Montagu, Learning Non-Aggression, op. cit. Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    The essay here referred to is indebted to the wonderful studies by Klaus Held. See his “Der Logos-Gedanke des Heraklits,” in Durchblicke: Martin Heidegger zum 80. Geburtstag (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1970), 93 ff. Also his Heraklit,Parmenides und der Anfang von Philosophie und Wissenschaft (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1980), Part II. Cf. his essay,“Le monde natal, le monde étranger, le monde un,” in Husserl-Ausgabe und Husserl-Forschung, ed. Samuel IJsseling (Kluwer: Dordrecht, 1990), 1–22.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    This is a theme which is scattered throughout the writings of Gustav Landauer.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    See Taylor’s Hegel, 433–444.Google Scholar
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    See the very important article of A. Phillips Griffiths, “How Can One Person Represent Another?” in Aristotelian Society Supplementary Vol. XXXIV (1960), 202–203.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Griffiths, 203.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Griffiths, 203.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    See the fine Letter to the Editor, New York Times,March 28, 1988, page 20 by Mark P. Petracca.Google Scholar
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  20. 20.
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    See C. Wright Mills, Power, Politics,and People, especially the essays at 187 ff., 236 ff., and 577 ff.Google Scholar
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    Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1950), 269 ff.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Hannah Arendt, On Revolution, 272.Google Scholar
  25. 26.
    I do not intend this to be an adequate statement of the issues. Here the rich meditations on communal narratives (e.g., by Hauerwas), the still profound discussions of child-rearing by Plato and Aristotle, the topic of the “authoritarian personality” (Adorno), and many other issues besides, are part of the picture. For a good start at a synthesis, see C. George Benello, “Group Organization and Socio-Political Structure,” in The Case for Participatory Democracy, ed. C. George Benello and Dimitrios Roussoppolos (New York: Grossman, 1971), 38–54.Google Scholar
  26. 27.
    Husserl’s notes and discussions borrow freely from F. Jodl’s Geschichte der Ethik, II, 82–85.Google Scholar
  27. 28.
    Fichte, Die Staatslehre, in Werke IV, 438.Google Scholar
  28. 29.
    See, e.g., Fichte, Das System der Rechtslehre, in the Nachgelassene Werke, II (Bonn: Marcus, 1834), 542. I do not know whether Husserl studied such texts as the one here referred to or whether he depended solely on Jodl for his own lecture notes.Google Scholar
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  30. 31.
    See Jodl, Geschichte der Ethik, II, 83–84.Google Scholar
  31. 32.
    This theme of Husserl (and Scheler) gives to present day narrative theories of ethics a fundamental consideration which they often seem to lack.Google Scholar
  32. 33.
    See, e.g., the 1812 Staatslehre in Werke, Vol. IV, 440.Google Scholar
  33. 34.
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    Karl Schuhmann, Husserls Staatsphilosophie, 166.Google Scholar
  36. 37.
    See Hannah Arendt, “Truth and Politics,” in Between Past and Future (New York: Viking, 1968), 241–242. Arendt goes to the other extreme from Husserl when she refuses to professional philosophers the disposition or capacity for the necessary rationality of the political realm.Google Scholar
  37. 38.
    See, e.g., Hua VII, 189–190, 392–395; B IV 9, 19–21; Iso Kern, Husserl und Kant, 297; Iso Kern, Idee und Methode der Philosophie, 333 ff; also my “A Précis…, 106–109. In Schuhmann the references to metaphysics are, e.g., 110 ff. and 194 ff. of his Husserls Staatsphilosophie. At 195–196 Schuhmann seems to confuse the metaphysical theme of the factual relationship between spirit and nature with an exploitation of nature by human thoughtlessness and greed — as if the wanton destruction of the environment was a consequence of a belief in or postulate of a harmonious correlation of spirit and nature. Without wanting to hold that Husserl himself was an ”environmentalist,“ it seems to me that the metaphysical theme of the belief in the correlation of nature and spirit is compatible with an ecological attitude of restraint and even reverence toward nature. Similarly the theme of the humanization of nature does not refer merely to the human appropriation of nature but to the more general and basic theme of the establishing of idealities in sensibility.Google Scholar
  38. 39.
    Good statements of Schuhmann’s position are on pages 110 ff., 132 ff., 154, 159–161, 170–172, 179 of his Husserls Staatsphilosophie.Google Scholar
  39. 40.
    Schuhmann, 150.Google Scholar
  40. 41.
    Schuhmann, 160.Google Scholar
  41. 42.
    Schuhmann, 173–174.Google Scholar
  42. 43.
    Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, 43.Google Scholar
  43. 44.
    Paul Goodman, People or Personnel (New York: Vintage, 1964), 15–18.Google Scholar
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    Georg Simmel, On Individuality and Social Forms (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971), 324 ff.Google Scholar
  45. 46.
    Cf. Lewis Mumford, The Culture of Cities (London: Secker and Warburg, 1944), 486 ff.Google Scholar
  46. 47.
    Manfred Sommer’s discussion of authentic culture in his Husserl und der frühe Positivismus (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1985), 123–151 ff. is the stimulus for my meditation on these matters. See Sommer’s discussions for the references to Hua XII and Hua XXI. Google Scholar
  47. 48.
    I wish to thank Phil Buckley for calling this text to my attention.Google Scholar
  48. 49.
    See especially the writings of Murray Bookchin, “Towards a Liberatory Technology,” in his Post-Scarcity Anarchism (Montreal: Black Rose Press, 1986), 105 ff. See also his Toward an Ecological Society (Montreal: Black Rose Press, 1986) and The Ecology of Freedom (Palo Alto: Cheshire Books: 1982).Google Scholar
  49. 50.
    Taken from Utne Reader, N. 38, March/April (1990), 52–51; much of the issue is devoted to a defense of Neo-Ludditism. For the complete text, see What are People For? (San Francisco: Northpoint, 1990).Google Scholar
  50. 51.
    Günther Anders, Endzeit and Zeitwende (Munich: 1972), 35 ff. cited in R. Bahro, Logik der Rettung: Wer kann die Apokalypse aufhalten? (Stuttgart: Weitbrecht, 1989), 125. I am basically in agreement with Bahro who argues that because the megamachine is so encompassingly destructive we can morally permit nothing of that which we make or use in the framework of the given structure of our civilization. Therefore we must now create alternative communities outside the system.Google Scholar
  51. 52.
    See Cairns, Conversations, 35.Google Scholar
  52. 53.
    Cf. my 1991 SPEP paper, “`We,’ Representation, and War-Resistance: Some Para-Husserlian Considerations.”Google Scholar
  53. 54.
    See Ullrich Melle, “Tiere in der Ethik. Die Frage nach der Grenze der moralischen Gemeinschaft,” Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 42 (1988), 247–273 and Arne Naess, Ecology, Community and Lifestyle (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), especially 163 ff.Google Scholar
  54. 55.
    Most recently in Remaking Society, (Montreal: Black Rose Press, 1989), 41–74.Google Scholar
  55. 56.
    Lewis Mumford, The Culture of Cities, cited in Patterns of Anarchy, ed. L. I. Krimerman and L. Perry (New York: Anchor, 1966), 347.Google Scholar
  56. 57.
    See Kirkpatrick Sale, Dwellers in the Land: The Bioregional Vision (San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1989; order from New Society Publishers), 42 et passim. This is the most detailed effort to work out the bioregional utopia. Its value is not merely in its being a completed vision, but serving as the point of departure for hard critical thinking.Google Scholar
  57. 58.
    Bookchin, Remaking Society, 194.Google Scholar
  58. 59.
    See, e.g., Elinor Ostrom, “How Inexorable is the `Tragedy of the Commons?: Institutional Arrangements for Changing the Structure of Social Dilemmas,” (Bloomington: Indiana University Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture, 1986); also Michael Taylor, The Possibility of Cooperation, 27–28; cf. also the conclusion of Chapter VI. Ostrom and Taylor both refer to “commons” for villages existing for seven-hundred years wherein there was no such “tragedy.”Google Scholar
  59. 60.
    For good arguments, based on anthropological and political considerations, that the state is not necessary, see Michael Taylor, Community, Anarchy and Liberty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982). For a good survey of the tensions between the centralist and communitarian poles, see Louis Rene Beres and Harry R. Targ, Constructing Alternative World Futures: Reordering the Planet (Cambridge, Mass.: Schenkman, 1977).Google Scholar
  60. 61.
    See A. Montagu’s anthology of anthropological studies on non-violent communities in Learning Non-Aggression, op. cit. See also the thoughtful study of “primitive” social organization freed of statist prejudices by Pierre Clastres, Society Against the State (New York: Zone Books, 1989).Google Scholar
  61. 62.
    See Ullrich Melle’s “Husserl and die Überlebenskrise,” unpublished lecture, held in Freiburg 31 January 1990 of which Werner Marx rightly said that never had anyone before spoken so beautifully of Husserl. On the topic of authentic culture, see also, see my “The Rationality of Culture…” and “The Entelechy and Authenticity of Culture.”Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • James G. Hart
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Religious StudiesIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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