Integral Pluralism: Beyond Culture Wars

Integral Pluralism: Beyond Culture Wars

Integral Pluralism: Beyond Culture Wars

Integral Pluralism: Beyond Culture Wars

Synopsis

In addition to war, terrorism, and unchecked military violence, modernity is also subject to less visible but no less venomous conflicts. Global in nature, these "culture wars" exacerbate the tensions between tradition and innovation, virtue and freedom. Internationally acclaimed scholar Fred Dallmayr charts a course beyond these persistent but curable dichotomies in Integral Pluralism: Beyond Culture Wars. Consulting diverse fields such as philosophy, literature, political science, and religious studies, Dallmayr equates modern history with a process of steady pluralization. This process, which Dallmayr calls "integral pluralism," requires new connections and creates ethical responsibilities.Dallmayr critically compares integral pluralism against the theories of Carl Schmitt, the Religious Right, international "realism," and so-called political Islam. Drawing on the works of James, Heidegger, Gadamer, and Merleau-Ponty, Integral Pluralism offers sophisticated and carefully researched solutions for the conflicts of the modern world.

Excerpt

These are perilous times; the issue of war and peace hangs everywhere in the balance. Despite an unexpected recent upsurge of political goodwill, structural constraints and ingrained habits of rivalry may well tip the balance against it. Behind the habits of ill will and distrust, deeper fissures lie in waiting—fissures (we are told) demarcating cultural or civilizational “fault lines” and rendering our age prone to civilizational “clashes.” According to some observers, clashes of this kind—often disguised (and mislabeled) as “terror wars”—are likely to persist for decades and perhaps even centuries. Quite apart from these civilizational conflicts, however, there is another, no less profound fissure affecting Western, especially American, society today. In the view of competent analysts, the latter society has rarely been so radically split asunder. The split here runs along cultural, religious, and socioeconomic lines. A common term for such divisions is “culture wars.”

To be sure, culture wars of this sort are not new in Western societies, although they have reached a particularly acrimonious stage today. As people with historical memory will recall, Western culture wars go back basically to the French Revolution, when that country was divided into the forces of the “Red” and the “Black.” In that context, the color red designated those forces seeking social progress, democracy, and individual freedom, whereas black symbolized the forces of “reaction,” those seeking to restore order, traditional authority, and discipline. The division also carried religious implications, with one side extolling Christian, especially Catholic, faith and the other tending toward secularism, perhaps atheism. Culturally and politically, the Blacks stood for compact French unity ruled by traditional elites, while the Reds favored a degree of social pluralization (and sometimes a transnational cosmopolitanism).

Under somewhat changed auspices, the phenomenon of culture . . .

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