Theorizing Nationalism by Ronald Beiner

By Ronald Beiner

Theorizing Nationalism at once addresses the normative dimensions of nationalism. a few of the topics it discusses are the next even if there's a "right" to collective self-determination, the connection among nationalism and modernity, no matter if nationalism and liberalism might be reconciled, no matter if there's a theoretically valid contrast among so-called civic and ethnic models of nationalism, and the "existential" recognition of nationalism.

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At 3L the characteristic figure is dialectical totality (dt′), as when separated phenomena come to be seen as aspects of a unified (or disunified) whole. Hermeneutics provides a good initial heuristic for understanding what it is to think in this dialectical mode. In a painting it is not only that the parts cannot be understood except in relation to the whole and vice versa but—and this is the clue to Hegelian totality—they mutually ‘infect’ each other—the whole is in the part, as my body is in my writing hand.

But Bhaskar is quick to point out that, in the natural (including the social) world, where negentropic processes co-exist with an underlying entropy, not all change is dialectical in a developmental sense. 41. For more detail, see (apart from Dialectic, esp. Ch. 10) Bhaskar, PE, Ch. , DCR, 187–9. 42. , DCR, 266–71. 43. That is, progressive/regressive, rational/rationalising. 44. Bhaskar, PE, 216. This distills the essence of the account in Dialectic, Ch. 4. 45. , DCR, 188 (modified). 46. I return to Bhaskar’s critique of irrealism in my ‘Introduction’ to Bhaskar, PE.

For Kant, dialectic was that part of transcendental logic which showed the mutually contradictory or antinomic state into which the intellect fell when not harnessed to the data of experience. By a turn to transcendental subjectivity, Kant combined, or seemed to combine, the satisfaction of rationalist demands on knowledge with empiricist criteria for being—but only at the price of leaving things-inthemselves unknowable. Kantian dialectic showed the inherently limited nature of human cognitive and moral powers, the resulting inherent impossibilities, as well as the conditions of possibility of human (nonarchetypal, non-holy) intelligence and will.

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