Aron’s writings are lauded for their contributions to liberal political theory, international relations, and sociology. I argue that his early thought also offers phenomenological considerations for a relativist view of historical meaning, whose important role in the text’s argument has been suppressed by received interpretations. Drawing a direct link between introspective, intersubjective, and historical understanding, Aron argues that the “objectification” of intentions necessarily transforms their meaning. This impedes an objective account of historical subjects’ lived experience. Some of the Introduction’s appraisals of historical understanding rely on Aron’s phenomenological observations, and indicate that the intentionality of historical understanding circumscribes claims to historical objectivity. These results highlight the broader implications of largely overlooked phenomenological commitments in Aron’s thought, offer a fresh interpretation of the Introduction, and suggest that the standard account of Aron’s relation to the phenomenological movement should be reconsidered.


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pp. 113-143
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