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Multicultural Dynamics and the Ends of History

Exploring Kant, Hegel, and Marx

Réal Fillion

Publication Year: 2008

Multicultural Dynamics and the Ends of History provides a strikingly original reading of key texts in the philosophy of history by Kant, Hegel, and Marx, as well as strong arguments for why these texts are still relevant to understanding history today. Réal Fillion offers a critical exposition of the theses of these three authors on the dynamics and the ends of history, in order to provide an answer to the question: "Where are we headed?" Grounding his answer in the twin observations that the world is becoming increasingly multicultural and increasingly unified, Fillion reasserts the task of the speculative philosophy of history as it had been understood by German philosophy: the articulation and understanding the historical process as a developmental whole. Fillion's interpretation engages many recent strands of social and political thought in order to provide a new understanding of current events, and possible futures, grounded in the understanding of the dynamics of the past and the present provided by Kant, Hegel, and Marx. The result is a rich and timely answer to the question of where our world is headed today.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Series: Philosophica

Table of Contents

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pp. i

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pp. iii-ix

The primary purpose of this book is to show the relevance of speculative philosophy of history, in both classical and contemporary forms, as a framework for thinking about the following broad question: given the various developments taking place throughout the world, with specific reference to its increasingly multicultural character, where are we headed? ...

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Introduction: Where Are We Headed?

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pp. 1-18

This book attempts to work out a philosophical response to two general preoccupations that, I believe, characterize our time. These preoccupations can be felt more as nagging feelings than as explicitly articulated thoughts. One of the reasons for writing this work is to give articulation to such feelings, which I share with my contemporaries. I believe that this is a principal professional ...


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Chapter 1: Kant and the Cosmopolitan Point of View

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pp. 21-38

The three texts in speculative philosophy of history that are to be examined in this book are all relatively short. The first is by Immanuel Kant and was written in 1784: "Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View." It is especially useful for us because it is written in the form of nine theses concerning the very idea of thinking of history as a whole, or "Universal ...

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Chapter 2: Real Universality as a Challenge to the Cosmopolitan Ideal

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pp. 39-58

We shall call that expression, as stated in the eighth thesis of his "Idea of a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View," the "Cosmopolitan Ideal." Its strength, in my view, is that it recognizes and articulates the historical, unfolding context of the full development of human capacities. Indeed, that it is the point of suggesting this "Idea of a Universal History," because it is only ...


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Prologue: Hospitality—Conditional and Unconditional

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pp. 61-68

My mother once told me that her mother, out on the "homestead" in northern Saskatchewan, never refused a meal to a stranger showing up on the doorstep because that stranger might be Christ returned. I remember being surprised at the evangelical note struck by this story, which contrasted sharply with what I had experienced of my grandmother's otherwise quiet and ...

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Chapter 3: Mutual Recognition and the Challenge of Unfamiliar Familiarities

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pp. 69-86

The last two chapters focused on the question of where we are headed. This chapter and the following one will focus on the claim that the world is becoming increasingly multicultural. What I would like to do is describe what might be called the dynamics of multiculturalism. That is, I would like to argue that, if we want to try to understand our world as "multicultural," we must ...

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Chapter 4: Hegel, The Particularity of Conflicts, and the Spaces of "Reason-ability"

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pp. 87-104

A fully fledged philosophy of history can be found in the work of Hegel, a key inspiration for John Russon's account, as well as for the more general account, of the importance of the role and function of recognition for understanding the dynamics of social life, as well as its overall direction. I have already cited Charles Taylor's use of this theme of recognition and, more ...


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Chapter 5: Marx, Productive Forces, and History

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pp. 107-124

The main purpose of this book is to ask the question stated in the introduction: given our increasingly multicultural world, where are we headed? The first Part of this book examined Kant's speculative philosophy of history, which provided a telos to history—the full development of our natural capacities within the context of a universal civic society—that could be said to ...

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Chapter 6: The Biopolitical Production of the Common

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pp. 125-142

The previous chapter was devoted to trying to show how Marx's speculative response to our question of where we are headed remains relevant. The telos of the free development of all can indeed be seen to be an ultimate direction or end that manifests itself at the heart of the basic struggle that animates the dynamics of social life. It is the demonstrated intimacy of the telos and the ...

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Conclusion: The Dynamic Telos of History — A Shared Democratic World

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pp. 143-150

I have sought in this book to make the case that speculative philosophy of history can help us better respond to the question of where we are headed. The case needs to be made, in my view, because we all have a sense that we are headed somewhere, although we tend, today, to be unacceptably inarticulate about where that is. I say "unacceptably inarticulate" because more and more of ...

Works Cited

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pp. 151-154


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pp. 155-164

E-ISBN-13: 9780776617602
E-ISBN-10: 0776617605
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776606705
Print-ISBN-10: 0776606700

Page Count: 186
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: Philosophica