Dialogue, Dasein, and Destiny: Heidegger’s Challenge to Dialogical Comparative Political Theory

In: Comparative Political Theory
Timothy Berk Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

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This article critically assesses the influence of Heidegger on the “dialogical” school of comparative political theory, and in particular the writings of Fred Dallmayr. In response to dialogical cpt’s employment of Heidegger in service of democratic, egalitarian, and cosmopolitan ends, this article reconstructs Heidegger’s own projects of intercultural dialogue as attempts to awaken the inegalitarian political-spiritual potential of elect nations, such as the Germans, Greeks, and Japanese against the tide of liberal modernity. Contra Dallmayr, the article analyzes the political unity of Heidegger’s treatment of “authentic” intercultural dialogues in his speeches and lectures from 1933–34, his 1941–2 lecture courses on Hölderlin, and his semi-fictional dialogue between a German “Inquirer” and “Japanese” in the 1950s. It outlines the existence of an illiberal Heideggerian cpt and concludes that dialogical cpt scholars should reconceive of their dialogue with Heidegger as one with an “other” to the egalitarian pluralism that they seek to promote.

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