Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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p. ix

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Preface

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pp. xi-xvi

What is most startling, a great philosopher once said, is that there is something rather than nothing. This means that the “something” is a source of marvel, astonishment, and wonder, at least for philosophical eyes—which are rare. For the great majority of people, the world of “somethings”—even if initially strange or exotic—quickly turns into commonplace. The great...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-16

Our world is changing fast—not just in details but as a whole. An era anchored in Europe and the West is coming to a close, giving way to new global and even cosmological horizons. Although historical evolution usually proceeds a step at a time, changes sometimes aggregate or bundle up to produce a new framework or constellation. This seems to be our situation today. Analysts...

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1 Twilights and New Dawns

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pp. 17-38

An old adage holds that “times change and we ourselves change with them” (tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis). This means that even in the ordinary course of things, temporal changes require participants to adjust and to modify their attitudes and beliefs accordingly. This requirement or....

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2 Letting-Be Politically

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pp. 39-64

Words habitually used acquire the patina of self-evidence. As previously indicated, this is one of the reasons behind Nietzsche’s famous claim that the highest traditional values “devalue” themselves—once they are denuded of genuine insight and no longer enlist experiential engagement. By common...

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3 The Promise of Democracy

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pp. 65-78

I recently was invited to present a keynote address at a symposium titled “The Promise of Democracy.”1 I greatly appreciated the honor and privilege involved in this invitation. But I also felt somewhat uneasy because of the chosen theme or topic, which appears counterintuitive...

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4 Markets and Democracy

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pp. 79-96

“We live at a time when almost everything can be bought and sold.” This line stands at the opening of a recent book by Harvard political philosopher Michael J. Sandel titled What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. The book gives examples of the staggering venality in the present...

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5 Rights and Right(ness)

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pp. 97-114

“We live at a time when almost everything can be bought and sold.” This line stands at the opening of a recent book by Harvard political philosopher Michael J. Sandel titled What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. The book gives examples of the staggering venality in the present...

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6 “Man against the State”

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pp. 115-134

The opening part of Thus Spoke Zarathustra contains these stark lines: “State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it tells lies too; and this lie crawls out of its mouth: I, the state, am the people.” 1 These lines resonate strongly with contemporary ears, not only in totalitarian autocracies but also in (so-called) democracies as well. Everywhere people are confronted...

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7 Faith and Communicative Freedom

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pp. 135-152

On March 23, 2012, in his inaugural speech before the German Parliament, incoming federal president Joachim Gauck addressed crucial issues of contemporary public life. His address stood under the motto “Let’s not succumb to fear but promote courage.” Given the somber context of the time—the financial meltdown of the preceding years, the perceived “crisis....

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8 Between Holism and Totalitarianism

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pp. 153-168

In May 2013, I was honored with an invitation (which I accepted) to participate in the International Likhachev Conference in St. Petersburg. 1 I am not an expert on Russian history or culture, but I consider myself a humanist, a devotee of the so-called humanities, and when reading Dimitry...

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9 Freedom as Engaged Social Praxis

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pp. 169-182

Ever since the Enlightenment, Western culture has presented itself emphatically as a culture of freedom. Constitutional documents and charters celebrate the importance of human freedom and individual liberty, sometimes to the point of erecting the entire constitutional structure on this foundational...

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10 Freedom and Solidarity (Again)

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pp. 183-196

The present volume has from the start revolved around the difficult relation—sometimes viewed as antithesis—between freedom and solidarity, between individual independence and social interdependence or community. The opening chapters introduced the issue on a somewhat difficult philosophical...

Notes

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pp. 197-224

Index

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pp. 225-234