Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict: Philosophical Perspectives

Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict: Philosophical Perspectives

Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict: Philosophical Perspectives

Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict: Philosophical Perspectives


This collection of essays approaches the problems and strengths of nationalism from a number of philosophical perspectives. The contributors craft a definition of nation/nationalism that emphasizes the cultural and sociopolitical ties uniting members of a country rather than merely their place of origin.


Nenad Miscevic

Nationalism has been the driving force of political life in many countries around the globe in the last two decades, and has become and remains a hot topic in contemporary political and moral debate. the question debated by moral philosophers is the following: is any form of nationalism morally permissible or justified, and, if not, how bad are particular forms of it? the present volume addresses this issue. in this introduction, I will review the subissues that papers collected here deal with, starting with the definition of nationalism, then moving to the debate for and against it, and concluding by briefly commenting on the attempt to construct a mild and hybrid liberal-cosmopolitan nationalistic doctrine.

It is only to be expected that the most exciting work on the topic will come from countries in which intellectuals have some first-hand experience with nationalism. the exciting quality is not only the matter of one's being informed, but also of personally taking a moral and political stance: a cool analytical head has often to be jogged by a heart (preferably in the right place) in order to produce high quality work in moral philosophy. Among those who are able to write about nationalism from within, we have quite a few authors from Canada, some of them also active in the political Quebecker movement, two authors from the former Yugoslavia (now Slovenia and Croatia), a few from Israel, and one from Finland. the solutions to the problems of nationalism that they advocate are sufficiently diverse and representative of the main divisions in contemporary debate.

Let me now move to the introduction proper. Since this volume joins in with another round of professional debate, I shall in this introduction attempt to alleviate a little the troubles of the more general reader. I would like to introduce the moral philosophical debate in simple and clear terms. However, if it is true, as Russell once said, that it is impossible to be widely understandable and accurate at the same time, I will have to apologize to . . .

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