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Humanism and wars

Karl Jaspers between politics, culture, and law

Chris Thornhill

pp. 299-318

This chapter examines the changes in Jaspers' thought brought about by the experience of National Socialism and World War II. It argues that, whereas his Weimar-era works were focused on a reconstruction of the metaphysical tradition and a critique of the anti-metaphysical impulses in neo-Kantianism, his post-1945 publications were marked by a cautious privileging of practical reason and a more sympathetic reading of neo-Kantian principles. The war stimulated a move away from the earlier metaphysical dimensions of his thought, and after 1945 he committed himself to a brand of humanism founded in principles of practical reason. In its conclusion, the article re-evaluates Jaspers' later political thought, generally considered damaging to his theoretical reputation, and it examines elements of his late work that still warrant positive reconstruction for political theory.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-2223-1_25

Full citation:

Thornhill, C. (2012)., Humanism and wars: Karl Jaspers between politics, culture, and law, in H. Wautischer, A. Olson & G. J. Walters (eds.), Philosophical faith and the future of humanity, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 299-318.

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