From Liberal Values to Democratic Transition
Essays in Honor of Janos Kis
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: Central European University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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Table of Contents
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List of Tables and Figures
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János Kis is exceptional in many ways. He is a subtle, imaginative and highly original political thinker; a person of great personal courage and integrity who has suffered because his ideas were thought dangerous; and a philosopher who has been himself a political leader and political force—perhaps the only distinguished philosopher in our times who has been. His intellectual history and project are of great importance not only for Eastern Europe, where his ideas were formed, but for liberal egalitarianism as a viable model for government...
I. Liberal Values
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Judicial Independence as Ambiguous Reality and Insidious Illusion
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There is no single proper model for the shape and function of the judiciary in a liberal—democratic society. The very different ways that common law and civil law systems structure relations between judges and prosecutors is just the most commonly discussed example of variation among recognizably liberal legal orders. Every known way to organize the recruitment, promotion, and disciplining of judges has its own peculiar pathologies and is susceptible to some form of...
Why a Rational Agent Need Not Intend the Means to His End
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It is commonly thought that if a rational agent intends an end and believes that his doing some thing is a means necessary to that end, then insofar as he is rational, he is required to intend that means to his end. Call this The Claim. It is the part of practical reason referred to as instrumental rationality. It is taken to be a normative requirement, or even an analytic truth by some.1 I shall argue that The Claim is not true. A rational agent, insofar as he is rational, is...
Language and Order: De Bonald’s Theory of Language as a Paradigm of Traditionalist Political Philosophy
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Louis-Ambroise de Bonald (1754–1840) was a highly influential ideologist of the French Restauration who combined the most traditionalist elements available at the time, a Tomistic account of natural law, ultramontane Catholicism and intransigent royalism, to construct his traditionalist political philosophy. His style was certainly no equal to Burke’s or de Maistre’s pre-romantic diatribes, poetic imagery and rhetoric feats. De Bonald’s thoroughly pre-modern political...
Invasions of the Market
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Social life and politics are everywhere—west, east and south— increasingly market-driven. This is in part the result of the impersonal pressures of the global economy, in part also the outcome of political decision-making and neo-liberal ideology, encouraged and assisted by the World Trade Organization, whose mission it is to bring about just this outcome. Non-market areas of social life are transformed into markets, and this involves commodification and...
The Hope to Be Free: Freedom as Fact, Postulate and Regulative Idea in Kant
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“…[W]hat is quite remarkable, there is even one idea of reason (which is in itself incapable of any presentation in intuition, thus incapable of theoretical proof of its possibility) among the facts (Tatsachen), and this is the idea of freedom, the reality of which, as a particular kind of causality (the concept of which would be excessive from a theoretical point of view) can be established (dartun lässt) through practical laws of pure reason, and, in accordance with these...
Concepts of Neutrality and the State
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János Kis spent many years of his life in a communist regime that arrogantly claimed that the state has not only the right to take stands in matters of personal conviction but it is indeed a civic duty to be partisan in a communist society. Understandably, he took a strong interest in the issue of state neutrality, with clear focus on the duty of neutrality that the liberal state should be charged with. This can be explained, perhaps, not only by his general interest in...
On Depth and Greatness
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Speaking of virtues of texts and authors, customary praise is reserved
nowadays to truth, originality, and style. Depth, if it is ever
mentioned, is used as a synonym for brilliance or acuity. The proper
meaning of depth, with its echoes of early nineteenth-century German
romanticism and metaphysics, is avoided.
It is avoided because it links truth to history, something that goes against the taste and the sensibilities of our age. Also, the notion of...
II. Democratic Transition
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The Occupation of Iraq and the Difficult Transition from Dictatorship
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In spite of the great international mobilization for peace, and the subsequent failure to secure Security Council authorization or even a “moral” majority of council members, the United States launched and easily won its war against Iraq. It was an illegal aggressive war, an international crime against the peace.1 Its supposed legitimacy was however linked to finding and destroying weapon’s of mass destruction and creating the framework for democratic regime change...
“1989” For János Kis
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What more do we now know? Above all, we know more about the consequences. 1989 had results that could place it beside 1789 as a date in world history. Not only was it the beginning of a swift and fundamental change of system in the countries of Central Europe. It was also the end of the Cold War, which had started in the 1940s over these same countries. This alone meant that it directly affected many other regions of the world, such as southern Africa, south east...
Beyond Transition: The Variety of Post-Socialist Development
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The purpose of this essay is to develop a general hypothesis on the end of economic transition across post-socialist Eastern Europe, and its outcome. At first sight this may seem to be a risky venture. After all, policy research centers and rating institutes keep using the term “economies in transition” and reporting, year by year, on their advances or backdrops measured against a set of transition indicators. Clearly, my suggestion that economic transition came to an end, is...
Nationalism, Transnationalism and Postnationalism
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In a recent paper, János Kis argues that we need to get “beyond
nation-building,” and to develop a post-nationalist conception of political
community (Kis 2001). My aim in this chapter is to explore
different visions of what such a postnationalist order would look like,
and to identify some of the challenges to it.
The example Kis discusses concerns Hungarian nationalism. He suggests that new forms of self-government might develop within the European Union that would enable ethnic Hungarians who currently...
In Search for Hope and Paradigm
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I met János for the first time when I was an émigré in Paris, exactly twenty years ago. Since then, we have talked much by telephone and later, in better times, have met several times a year in Warsaw, Budapest, Paris or New York. We talked about Poland and Hungary, about Europe and “our” Europe, about friends and family. Let me add a few short notes to those intense conversations. These will be about the way the new messy world scene formed after the implosion...
Selected Bibliography of János Kis
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List of Contributors
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Page Count: 297
Publication Year: 2003