Politics, Values, and National Socialism

Politics, Values, and National Socialism

by Aurel Kolnai
     
 

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The essays in this collection, spanning 1925 to 1970, confirm Aurel Kolnai’s place as one of the great conservative theorists of the twentieth century. Kolnai carefully analyzes the leading intellectual positions and thinkers of his day, the dominant social movements, and the prevailing moral influences—psychoanalysis, fascism, and National Socialism. He

Overview

The essays in this collection, spanning 1925 to 1970, confirm Aurel Kolnai’s place as one of the great conservative theorists of the twentieth century. Kolnai carefully analyzes the leading intellectual positions and thinkers of his day, the dominant social movements, and the prevailing moral influences—psychoanalysis, fascism, and National Socialism. He documents how they run counter to the architecture of civilization. Kolnai is relatively unknown outside philosophical circles, but Politics, Values, and National Socialism provides an overview of his moral philosophy. In most moral philosophy books one finds pages devoted to the major theories of ethics. This volume is different. It seeks to address the larger moral question of what kind of thought works against morality, and by implication, how one can defend morality. Eager to protect "the surviving islands of Liberal Civilization," Kolnai’s concern is really one of theory. He shows that much of what passes for moral theory is subversive of moral order. All who think that totalitarianism is a permanent threat, and who suspect that ideas can quickly be dangerously distorted in times of social unrest, will find plenty of clarifying ideas in this volume.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Aurel Kolnai’s writing is as exquisitely sophisticated in form as it is sharp in argument and engaging in content. An exile, he wrote in many languages, displaying an astonishing command of literary style, the consequence of his relentless command of ideas. Reading his philosophical essays—some of which are translated for the first time in this collection—the reader cannot avoid experiencing the “shock of recognition”: so rarely does the elegance of style coalesce with the power of original thought. The exactingness of Kolnai’s conceptual analysis, which gained the admiration of analytical thinkers such as Bernard Williams and David Wiggins, encounters the insights of phenomenology and the breadth of European culture. Kolnai reveals the dangerous fragility of the ideals of ‘democracy’ and ‘equality’ if the notions of ‘privilege’ and ‘dignity’ are not duly recovered. ‘Take, read!’” —Andrea Aldo Robiglio, professor of history of philosophy, KU Leuven, Belgium “Graham McAleer is to be applauded for assembling a rich array of Aurel Kolnai’s reflections on morality, civilization, and the totalitarian subversion of human freedom and dignity. The essays from the 1930s are absolute gems. [They] expose the false ‘vitalism’ of National Socialist ideology and the lamentable indulgence of serious thinkers such as Carl Schmitt and Martin Heidegger (and lesser-known religious and political thinkers) toward the evil of National Socialism. They are especially compelling for being written contemporaneously with events. More recent essays include a powerful reflection that warns against the confusion of religion with secular humanitarianism and a timely critique of “situation ethics” that distinguishes true morality and Christianity from its relativistic subversion. This is moral and political philosophy of the highest quality, as well as an indispensable guide to understanding the twentieth century.” —Daniel J. Mahoney, Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship, Assumption College and the editor of Kolnai’s Privilege and Liberty and Other Essays in Political Philosophy

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781412851091
Publisher:
Transaction Publishers
Publication date:
09/06/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
338
File size:
477 KB

Meet the Author

Aurel Kolnai (1900-1973) was visiting lecturer in ethics at Bedford College at the University of London from 1959 until his death. He was best known for his moral philosophy.
Graham McAleer is professor of philosophy at Loyola University in Maryland. He wrote introductions to the Transaction editions of Aurel Kolnai’s Ethics, Value and Reality and Max Scheler’s The Nature of Sympathy and On the Eternal in Man. He is the author of Ecstatic Morality and Sexual Politics.
Francis Dunlop is the translator of some of Aurel Kolnai’s other works, including Early Ethical Writings of Aurel Kolnai, and he is the author of The Life and Thought of Aurel Kolnai.

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