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German Political Philosophy (Routledge Studies in Social and Political Thought)by Chris Thornhill
Synopses & Reviews
This book combines philosophical, intellectual-historical and political-theoretical methodologies to provide a new synoptic reading of the history of German political philosophy. Incorporating chapters on the political ideas of Luther and Zwingli, on the politics of the early Enlightenment, on Idealism, on Historicism and Luk cs, on early Twentieth-Century political theology, on the Frankfurt School, and on Habermas and Luhmann, the book sets out both a broad and a detailed discussion of German political reflection from the Reformation to the present. In doing so, it explains how the development of German political philosophy is marked by a continual concern with certain unresolved and recurrent problems. It claims that all the major positions address questions relating to the origin of law, that all seek to account for the relation between legal validity and metaphysical and theological superstructures, and that all are centred on the attempt to conceptualise and reconstruct the character of the legal subject.
From the Reformation to the present, German political philosophy has done much to shape the contours of theoretical debate on politics, law, and the conditions of political legitimacy; many of the most decisive and influential theoretical impulses in European political history have originated in Germany. Until now, there has been no thorough history of German political philosophy available in English. This book offers a synoptic account of the main debates in its evolution.
Commencing with the formal reception of Roman law and the constitutional reforms in the Holy Roman Empire in the late fifteenth century, German Political Philosophy includes chapters on:
- the political ideas of Luther, Zwingli and Melanchthon in the Reformation;
- the natural-law theories of the early German Enlightenment;
- Kant, Hegel and the age of German idealism;
- romanticism and historicism; the Young Hegelians and Karl Marx;
- legal positivism and organic theory;
- Nietzsche, Weber and early sociology;
- neo-Kantianism in the late nineteenth century;
- constitutional theory in the Weimar Republic;
- the critical theories of the Frankfurt School;
- post-1945 sociological functionalism;
- Niklas Luhmann's systems theory.
At the heart of this book is the claim that, despite - or perhaps because of - the great upheavals and ruptures in the history of state-formation in Germany, there are certain recurrent themes and concerns which persist through these discontinuities to give a distinctive character to German political reflection. This valuable book will be of great interest to political philosophers, intellectual historians, lawyers, and historicalsociologists.'
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