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Being in the World

Dialogue and Cosmopolis

Fred Dallmayr

Publication Year: 2013

It is commonly agreed that we live in an age of globalization, but the profound consequences of this development are rarely understood. Usually, globalization is equated with the expansion of economic and financial markets and the proliferation of global networks of communication. In truth, much more is at stake: Traditional concepts of individual and national identity as well as perceived relationships between the self and others are undergoing profound change. Every town has become a potential cosmopolis -- an international city -- affecting the way that people conceptualize the relationship between public order and political practice. In Being in the World, noted political theorist Fred Dallmayr explores the globe's transition from the traditional Westphalian system of states to today's interlocking cosmopolitan network. Drawing upon sacred scriptures as well as the work of ancient philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle and more recent scholars such as Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Raimon Panikkar, this book delves into what Dallmayr calls "being in the world," seen as an aspect of ethical-political engagement. Rather than lamenting current problems, he suggests addressing them through civic education and cosmopolitan citizenship. Dallmayr advocates a politics of the common good, which requires the cultivation of public ethics, open dialogue, and civic responsibility.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Front cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quotes

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pp. 2-9


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

A picture, the saying goes, is worth more than a thousand words or verbal explanations. In the following, I want to present a picture and then ask: What is wrong with the picture? Imagine a country in which most of the people are said to be religious or God-fearing. ...

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pp. 1-14

By now it is a commonplace—a widely accepted commonplace—to say that we live in an age of globalization, that the world is steadily shrinking, and that people around the globe are increasingly pushed together. The saying has a ring of correctness or plausibility. ...

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1. Being in the World: A Moving Feast

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pp. 15-29

Our age of globalization conjures up a host of challenging problems, mostly of a cultural, economic, and political nature. A steadily expanding literature deals with these problems. What is not often noticed is that globalization also harbors terminological and semantic quandaries. ...

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2. Babel: Journeying toward Cosmopolis

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pp. 30-46

The legacy of Western “modernity” is ambivalent. On the one hand, it has bequeathed to us the inspiring ideas of global brotherhood and universal justice. On the other hand, in the aftermath of the Peace of Westphalia, it has launched the agenda of a compact, exclusivist nationalism ...

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3. After Babel: Journeying toward Cosmopolis

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pp. 47-58

In the earliest times, after the great flood, the Bible tells us (Genesis 11:1–9), “the whole earth had one language and few words.” The people took hold of a stretch of land in order to settle there and gain means of subsistence. They soon developed skills as artisans and craftsmen and even ventured into the fields of construction and engineering. ...

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4. Humanizing Humanity: Education for World Citizenship

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pp. 59-71

This is indeed a momentous gathering: the first “World Humanities Forum,” the first international meeting designed to underscore the importance of the humanities in our world.1 And significantly, the gathering is called and organized by UNESCO, that institutional branch of the world community ...

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5. Ethics and International Politics: A Response

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pp. 72-85

It is a privilege and a pleasure to respond to my colleagues and friends.1 It is a privilege because my colleagues are distinguished practitioners in their respective disciplines. It is a pleasure because reading their papers has broadened my horizons and responding to them enhances my critical self-understanding. ...

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6. Befriending the Stranger: Beyond the Global Politics of Fear

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pp. 86-100

Cosmopolitanism has a difficult relation with borders or boundaries. It cannot completely discard borders or bounded limits—without turning into an extraterrestrial enterprise or a mere flight of fancy. But it can also not blithely accept them, preferring instead to treat them as moving horizons. ...

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7. The Body Politic: Fortunes and Misfortunes of a Concept

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pp. 101-118

Looking at contemporary humanity, one can hardly avoid the impression of a huge body or organism ravaged by multiple diseases and even catastrophes.1 Even without detailed diagnosis, it is not hard to trace these ailments to a set of underlying factors or causes: political oppression or domination; ...

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8. A Secular Age? Reflections on Taylor and Panikkar

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pp. 119-136

At least in the Western context, our age is commonly referred to as that of “modernity”—a term sometimes qualified as “late modernity” or “post-modernity.” Taken by itself, the term is nondescript; in its literal sense, it simply means a time of novelty or innovation. ...

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9. Post-Secularity and (Global) Politics: A Need for Radical Redefinition

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pp. 137-150

In recent intellectual discussions, the term post-secularity has acquired a certain currency or prominence. Like other hyphenated terms (post-modernism, post-metaphysics), the word exudes a certain irenic quality, in the sense that the harsh features of traditional conflicts—between faith and reason, religion and agnosticism ...

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10. Political Self-Rule: Gandhi and the Future of Democracy

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pp. 151-161

For students and friends of Gandhi, 2009 was an important year.1 As we know, it was a hundred years ago, on a long sea voyage, that Mohandas Gandhi penned his book Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule—a text justly famous because it has stood the test of time. ...

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11. Radical Changes in the Muslim World: Whither Democracy?

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pp. 162-176

History defies linearity. In a time when, at least in the Western world, major issues appeared to be settled and some even predicted the “end of history,” drama has suddenly erupted elsewhere—and especially in the Muslim world. ...

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12. Opening the Doors of Interpretation: In Memory of Nasr Abu Zayd and Mohammed al-Jabri

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pp. 177-194

Interpretation is sometimes greatly underrated or undervalued; frequently it is seen as a mere method or subordinate tool of research. This view is seriously mistaken—as I shall try to show here mainly with regard to religious faith. As we know, the so-called Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam ...

Appendix A: Beyond Multiculturalism? For Bhikhu Parekh

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pp. 195-202

Appendix B: Cosmopolitan Confucianism? Chinese Traditions and Dialogue

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pp. 203-212

Appendix C: The Complexity of Difference: Comments on Zhang Longxi

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pp. 213-216

Appendix D: Dialogue in Practice: Conversation with Members of a “Youth Forum”

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pp. 217-226


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pp. 227-262


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pp. 263-270

E-ISBN-13: 9780813141930
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813141916

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2013