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2018 | 2 | 3(5) | 27–41
Article title

The Politics of Regression: The Idea of the Nation State in the Thought of Ernst Cassirer and Aurel Kolnai

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EN
Abstracts
EN
The aim of this paper is to compare the approaches of Ernst Cassirer and Aurel Kolnai on the idea of the nation state in its most radical form, which consists of identifying national sovereignty with an unrestricted right of the nation to political, external, and internal self-determination. What the comparison attempted here focuses on, is the criticism on the conditions for the possibility of specific German nationalism, presented by Cassirer in his Myth of the State and by Kolnai in his War Against the West. According to the main thesis of this paper, insofar as both Cassirer and Kolnai recognized the role played in politics by emotions and considered political phenomena as being constituted by not only rational or at least calculable mechanisms, but also affective factors, like beliefs, religion, and myth, they tended to consider nationalism in terms of the politics of “regression,” understood, psychoanalytically, as a reversion of mental life, in some respects, to a former, or less developed, psychological state, characteristic of not only individual mental disorders, but also social psychosis. It will be argued, that Cassirer and Kolnai, not unlike the representatives of the Frankfurt School, considered the contemporary preponderance of mythical thought in political philosophy to be an expression of the dialectic, which consisted in “relapsing” of the Enlightenment into mythology. As a main motive for the comparison of their political philosophies, an assumption will be presented in the paper, that, while taking into account the contemporary tendency to oppose national sovereignty to the sovereignty of international law, the approach to the idea of nation state, as presented by Cassirer and Kolnai, seems to be by no means out of date.
Publisher

Year
Volume
2
Issue
Pages
27–41
Physical description
Dates
published
2018-11-08
Contributors
  • Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences
References
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  • Dunlop, Francis. “Kolnai’s Dissertation Der ethische Wert und die Wirklichkeit: A ‘Completion’ of Scheler’s Value-Ethics.” Exploring the World of Human Practice: Readings in and about the Philosophy of Aurel Kolnai, edited by Zoltán Baláczs and Francis Dunlop. New York: Central European University Press, 2004.
  • Honneth, Axel. “Phänomenologie des Bösen. Das vergessene Werk von Aurel Kolnai.” Vivisektionen eines Zeitalters. Porträts zur Ideengeschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts. Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2014.
  • Honneth, Axel. “Afterward.” In Aurel Kolnai. Ekel, Hochmut, Haß. Zur Phänomenologie feindlicher Gefühle. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2007.
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  • Joachim, Carl, Friedrich Brzezinski, and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1956.
  • Kolnai, Aurel. Der ethische Wert und die Wirklichkeit. Freiburg: Herder and Company, 1927.
  • Kolnai, Aurel. Ethics, Value & Reality. London and New York: Transaction Publishers, 2008.
  • Kolnai, Aurel. “Der Inhalt der Politik.” Zeitschrift für die gesamte Staatswissenschaft, 94, no. 1 (1933): 1–38.
  • Kolnai, Aurel. “Die geistesgeschichtliche Bedeutung der Psychoanalyse.” Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse 9, no. 3 (1923): 345–356.
  • Kolnai, Aurel. “Max Scheler’s Kritik und Würdigung der Freudschen Libidolehre.” Imago. Zeitschrift für Anwendung der Psychoanalyse an Geisteswissenschaften 11, no.1 (1925):135–146.
  • Kolnai, Aurel. On Disgust. Chicago and La Salle: Open Court, 2004.
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  • Kolnai, Aurel. Sexualethik. Sinn und Grundlagen der Geschlechtsmoral. Paderborn: Ferdinand Schoningh, 1930.
  • Kolnai, Aurel. “The Meaning of the Common Man.” Thomist (1949), 273.
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  • Kolnai, Aurel. The War Against the West. New York: The Viking Press, 1938.
  • Mészáros, Judit. Ferenczi and Beyond: Exile of the Budapest School and Solidarity in the Psychoanalytic Movement during the Nazi Years. London: Routledge, 2014.
  • Plessner, Helmuth. Verspätete Nation. Über die politische Verführbarkeit bürgerlichen Geistes. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1959.
  • Plessner, Helmuth. Schicksal deutschen Geistes im Ausgang seiner bürgerlichen Epoche. Zürich: Niehans, 1935.
  • Radford, Robert. “Aurel Kolnai’s ‘Disgust’: a Source in the Art and Writing of Salvador Dali.” Exploring the World of Human Practice: Readings in And About the Philosophy of Aurel Kolnai, edited by Zoltán Baláczs and Francis Dunlop. New York: Central European University Press, 2005.
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Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.desklight-6245bf7f-3d6e-4aec-a97f-4f8b8a2db73d
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