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Sustaining Affirmation : The Strengths of Weak Ontology in Political Theory - Stephen K. White

Sustaining Affirmation

The Strengths of Weak Ontology in Political Theory

Paperback Published: 25th September 2000
ISBN: 9780691050331
Number Of Pages: 176

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In light of many recent critiques of Western modernity and its conceptual foundations, the problem of adequately justifying our most basic moral and political values looms large. Without recourse to traditional ontological or metaphysical foundations, how can one affirm--or sustain--a commitment to fundamentals? The answer, according to Stephen White, lies in a turn to "weak" ontology, an approach that allows for ultimate commitments but at the same time acknowledges their historical, contestable character. This turn, White suggests, is already underway. His book traces its emergence in a variety of quarters in political thought today and offers a clear and compelling account of what this might mean for our late modern self-understanding.

As he elaborates the idea of weak ontology and the broad criteria behind it, White shows how these are already at work in the thought of contemporary writers of seemingly very different perspectives: George Kateb, Judith Butler, Charles Taylor, and William Connolly. Among these thinkers, often thought to be at odds, he exposes the commonalities that emerge around the idea of weak ontology. In its identification of a critical turn in political theory, and its nuanced explanation of that turn, his book both demonstrates and underscores the strengths of weak ontology.

Industry Reviews

"This is an excellent and refreshing book whose brevity and modest tone belie its substantial achievement."--Patchen Markell, Ethics "A timely contribution to the contemporary debates regarding democracy, pluralism, and the limits of political liberalism."--Brett T. Wilmot, The Journal of Religion "Sustaining Affirmation is a highly original project that is brilliantly executed and leaves recent political thought looking different than in any other of our current attempts to understand it."--Morton Schoolman, American Political Science Review "This thoughtful and timely work consists of close engagements with four influential contemporary political thinkers. The book will be valuable for students of these thinkers, to the thinkers themselves, and to anyone interested in the question of how to think about morals and politics in these late modern times."--Richard E. Flathman, Journal of Politics "A powerful vision of the world and a sustaining vision of what human beings can get from that world. It has been a long time since a book made me think and rethink so much. One could not ask for more."--Simone Chambers, Constellations

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: The Weak Ontological Turnp. 3
Fundamental and Contestablep. 6
A Stickier Subjectp. 8
Cultivationp. 10
Circuits of Reflection, Affect, and Argumentationp. 11
Ontological Undercurrents within Liberalism: George Kateb's "Democratic Individuality"p. 18
The Ontology of Democratic Individualityp. 20
From an Emersonian Ontology to Ethics and Politicsp. 30
The "Richer Ontology" of Charles Taylorp. 42
Engaged Agencyp. 44
Theism and the Aesthetic-Expressive Dimensionp. 57
Prefiguring the Politicalp. 69
Judith Butler's Being-in-Troublep. 75
Feminism and Foundationsp. 77
"An Ontology of Present Participles"p. 81
"Indispensable" Foundationsp. 87
The Insistent Ambivalence of Lossp. 98
The Ontology and Politics of a "Post-Nietzschean Sensibility": William Connollyp. 106
Figuring and Cultivating Being as Rich and Fugitivep. 107
The Ethos of "Agonistic Democracy"p. 117
Conclusionp. 151
Indexp. 155
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691050331
ISBN-10: 0691050333
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 176
Published: 25th September 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.42 x 15.55  x 1.35
Weight (kg): 0.27