Fred Dallmayr’s work is innovative in its rethinking of some of the central concepts of modern political philosophy, challenging the hegemony of a modern “subjectivity” at the heart of Western liberalism, individualism and rationalism, and articulating alternative voices, claims and ideas. His writings productively confound the logocentrism of Western modernity, while providing alternative conceptions of political community that are post-individualist, post-anthropocentric and relational.
The editor has focused on work in three key areas:
Critical phenomenology and the study of politics
The first selections focus on the philosophical roots of Dallmayr’s work in two of the most innovative intellectual trends of the twentieth century: phenomenology and critical theory. These chapters outline some of the main arguments advanced by practitioners of phenomenology, particularly “existential phenomenology,” as well the guiding ideas of critical theory and critical Marxism, while tracing Dallmayr’s debt to thinkers such as Heidegger, Gadamer, Habermas, Adorno and Merleau-Ponty.
These readings illustrate Dallmayr’s explorations beyond the confines of Western culture, as this phase of his thinking turns toward what is now called cross-cultural or “comparative” political theory. In an approach that maintains its linkage with critical phenomenology, Dallmayr asserts that Western (or European-American) political theory can no longer claim undisputed hegemony; rather it must allow itself to be contested, amplified and corrected through a comparison with non-Western theoretical traditions and initiatives.
These selections explore the final phase of Dallmayr’s work, in which he applies his insights on cross-cultural studies to the context of global politics, rebutting Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis, and instead arguing for a cosmopolitanism that takes a middle path between both global universalism and restrictive particularism, advocating sustained dialogue and respectful mutual learning between countries and civilizations.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Farah Godrej
Critical Phenomenology and the Study of Politics
1 Critical Phenomenology and the Study of Politics (1981)
2 Beyond Possessive Individualism (1981)
3 Political Philosophy Today (1984)
4 Habermas and Rationality (1991)
5 Rethinking the Political: Some Heideggerian Contributions (1993)
6 Beyond Monologue: For a Comparative Political Theory (2004)
7 Conversation Across Boundaries: E Pluribus Unum? (2003)
8 Modes of Cross-Cultural Encounter: Reflections on 1492 (1996)
9 Political Self-Rule: Gandhi and the Future of Democracy (2013)
10 Global Governance and Cultural Diversity: Toward a Cosmopolitan Democracy (2001)
11 Cosmopolitanism: In Search of Cosmos (2013)
12 Mindfulness and Cosmopolis: Why Cross-Cultural Studies Now? (2014)
An Interview with Fred Dallmayr (Questions from Farah Godrej)
Farah Godrej is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Riverside. She is the author of Cosmopolitan Political Thought: Method, Practice, Discipline (Oxford University Press, 2011), as well as many articles in journals such as Political Theory, Review of Politics, Polity, and New Political Science.