The Voluntarist and Anti-Voluntarist Tradition in Politics

Techno Occulture

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For a while now I’ve been gathering the threads of two oppositional aspects of our political tradition: the Voluntarist and Anti-Voluntarist. Defenders of voluntarism shift from various perspectives such as the theological, political, formal, and substantive dimensions with a careful eye toward the concept’s virtues and limitations as understood by its expositors and critics, among them Arnauld, Pascal, Malebranche, Leibniz, Locke, Spinoza, Montesquieu, Kant, Rousseau, Hegel, Constant, Tocqueville, Adam Smith, and John Rawls. Yet, there have been many detractors of this tradition of volitional will, or the concept of the General Will, or Will of the People in democratic politics. Those such as Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Stalin, the later Heidegger, Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida, Agamben, and many others have maligned this tradition as inadequate to the task, and have opted one way or the other for a more rationalist or intellect base approach. Recently I learned from others on FB that Peter Hallward…

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