Ferry, Luc: Political philosophy. 2, The system of philosophies of history
University of Chicago Press 1992. x, 200 pages. ISBN: 0226244725, hardcover. Translated by Franklin Philip. K3.
From the Back Cover
Because contemporary political philosophy owes a significant debt to the great nineteenth-century German philosophies of history, a sound knowledge of German Idealist philosophy is crucial to an understanding of our own time. In Political Philosophy 2, Luc Ferry provides not only a thorough introduction to German Idealism and its critics, but also an insightful look at contemporary political philosophy. Ferry begins this second volume of his ambitious three-volume Political Philosophy by considering both the structure and the potential political effects of the various philosophies of history born of German Idealism. He focuses on the key question of whether, and to what extent, the principle of reason may be said to govern the totality of the historically real. This leads to an examination of Hegel's criticism of the moral view of the world and to an assessment of the phenomenological criticism of Hegel put forth by Heidegger and Arendt. Ferry builds on the arguments set forth in Political Philosophy 1, which examines the contemporary philosophical retreat from the Enlightenment ideals of progress, reason, and freedom and also offers a cogent defense of a humanistic modernity. The earlier volume highlights in particular the thought of Leo Strauss, Heidegger, Kant, and Fichte. In volume 2, Ferry again turns to the political thought of Kant and Fichte. To Ferry, these two form a continuum between reform and revolution and thus allow for a moral view of the world that is rendered impossible by both Hegel's absolute affirmation, and Heidegger's absolute negation, of the principle of reason. Ferry devotes the rest of the book to a look at the problems raised by the practical philosophy ofhistory, especially the antinomy that it in turn forms with rationalism. Written with Ferry's characteristic lucidity, this volume will appeal not only to all students of Heidegger and Arendt, but also to the nonspecialist reader interested in German Idealism.