2020-03Thematic Section
Relational Plurality as a Corrective to Liberal Atomistic Pluralism

Abstract:

This essay argues for a concept of political identity that is fundamentally relational in nature contra more liberal accounts of identity that are atomistic. I consider John Rawls’ account of political identity in his Political Liberalism and provide a response stemming from Hannah Arendt’s account of political identity grounded in the existential condition of politics: human plurality. Using her concept of human plurality, I argue that political identity ought to be conceived as relationally individuated as opposed to atomistically so, meaning that our identities only emerge in and through appearing before other political actors and not prior to it. The larger upshot is that conceiving of political identity as relational provides a more fruitful concept of the citizen and might allow progress to be made regarding some of the more entrenched political problems in American political culture, especially polarization and partisanship.

Keywords:

identity, liberalism, plurality, Hannah Arendt, political

How to cite:

Antonini, David. “Relational Plurality as a Corrective to Liberal Atomistic Pluralism.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 4, no. 3 (2020):  65-75. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2020.0031.

Author:

David Antonini
Department of Philosophy and Religion, Clemson University
126D Hardin Hall, Clemson, SC 29634, USA
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4277-3592
dranton@clemson.edu

References:

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Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958.

Arendt, Hannah. “What is Freedom?” In Between Past and Future. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.

Canovan, Margaret. Hannah Arendt: A Reinterpretation of Her Political Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Held, Virginia.  The Ethics of Care: Personal, Political, Global. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Mouffe, Chantal. “Deliberative Democracy or Agonistic Pluralism?” Social Research 66, no.3 (1999): 745-58.

Rawls, John. Political Liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.

Ricoeur, Paul. The Just. Translated by David Pellauer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Sandel, Michael. Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

Villa, Dana. “Modernity, Alienation, and Critique.” In Hannah Arendt and the Meaning of Politics, edited by Craig Calhoun and John McGowan. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1997.

Zerilli, Linda. A Democratic Theory of Judgment. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2015. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226398037.001.0001.

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