The Idea of Order: Contributions to a Philosophy of Politics

The Idea of Order: Contributions to a Philosophy of Politics

The Idea of Order: Contributions to a Philosophy of Politics

The Idea of Order: Contributions to a Philosophy of Politics

Excerpt

In these essays toward a political philosophy we shall be concerned with fundamentals. And because it is a question of fundamentals, they will, we imagine, be of interest to many readers. We should like to contribute to a clarification, historically and systematically, of some concepts with which every philosophy of society and the state has to deal. We shall admit historical considerations for the sake of insights into the systematic ones, and we trust that our inquiry into the systematic will help us to understand the historical. For we are moving in that circle exemplarily described by Johann Gustav Droysen in his Vorlesungen über Enzyklopädie und Methodologie der Geschichte (§ 37) when he writes: 'Undoubtedly we only understand completely that which is, when we recognize and make clear to ourselves how it came to be. But how it came to be, we recognize only if we investigate and understand, as exactly as possible, how it is. Our grasping that which came to be and comprehending its becoming is only one form and expression of our understanding of the present and existing. And this becoming and having come to be can be derived only by temporally conceiving and analysing the existing in order to understand it.' We must, therefore, center our attention on what may be called the structure and logic of social order. Three things appear necessarily to belong to a doctrine of communal and social organization: the problem of consensus and loyalty, the problem of sanctions in the broadest sense of the term, and the problem of authority and its hierarchy. Every doctrine of social order must deal with dynamic processes, with unavoidable and possible conflicts. Only by calling upon intellectual history can we present the immanent structural principles of order. And only if we succeed in asking history meaningful questions, starting from the logic of order and the necessary interplay of its essential elements, will history give us clarifying answers.

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