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PHILOSOPHY AND POLITICS / Vol. 56, No. 4 (Winter 1989)

Arien Mack, Editor

Describes how, with the Nazi Party's rise to power in 1933, Martin Heidegger and other German philosophers attempted to adapt their philosophies to encompass this new political situation.

Examines Martin Heidegger's philosophy, particularly his Being and Time, for indications of his political beliefs, concluding that while his thought sometimes paralleled that of the Nazis, he hoped to construct a philosophy that would encompass and uplift the Nazis.

Examines the political attitudes of Jean Paul Sartre through a comparison of The Critique of Dialectical Reason and The Communists and Peace.

It is often claimed that physicians should be held to a higher-than-normal standard of conduct concerning the foreseeable but unintended harmful consequences of aiding roadside traffic victims. Physicians are expected to know quite a bit about the risks of even their well-intentioned acts. If a physician moves a seriously injured person, thereby aggravating that person's injury, then the physician should be held responsible for the added injury, even though the average bystander would not be held responsible for the very same harms since bystanders are not, whereas physicians are, expected to know about these risks.

My subject is a variant of the Hobbesian question: How can we give individuals a reason to behave as each of them has reason to want all of them to behave? In Hobbes's version of the question and in his answer the basis of the operative reasons was a desire for personal security and survival. In my version there will be more reasons in play, including altruistic ones, and J shall assume that individuals are motivationally complex, in that each of them simultaneously occupies different standpoints, within which desires and reasons can arise which may conflict with one another.

In this paper I wish to look at the communitarian critique of liberalism from a certain perspective. My interest is in the tendency of both communitarianism and liberalism to contribute to docility in Foucault's sense, which is, roughly speaking, a condition in which people unreluctantly accept being used, and do so because they have been trained to do so. A delegate to the new Soviet congress recently spoke of the majority's "aggressive obedience," a fine near synonym for docility.

From its inception in ancient Greece political philosophy has been vexed by the relation between politics and rationality. This relationship has recently become more problematic by the reflection that terms like reason and rationality are not unequivocal but have, over the course of two and a half millennia, acquired a plethora of meanings and attributes which we are only now beginning to sort out. Before, then, we are in a position to state whether politics are or can be made rational, it is necessary briefly to consider a number of the most prominent rival conceptions of this problem.


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