A Common Human Ground: Universality and Particularity in a Multicultural World

University of Missouri Press, 07.11.2003 - 168 Seiten

The 21st century is rife with tensions and conflict among cultures, peoples, and persons. In this thought-provoking book, Claes G. Ryn explores the great danger of turbulence and war and propounds a strongly argued thesis about what can make peaceful relations possible.

Many trust in “democracy,” “capitalism,” “liberal tolerance,” scientific progress, or general enlightenment to create peace and order. Ryn contends that the problem is deeper and more complex than usually recognized and that peaceful, respectful relations have demanding moral and cultural prerequisites.

One Western philosophical tradition, for which Plato sets the pattern, maintains that unity can be achieved only if diversity gives way to universality. Diversity must yield to a homogenizing transcendent good. A very different Western tradition, represented today by post-modern multiculturalism, denies the existence of universality altogether and celebrates diversity, which leaves unanswered the question of what will avert conflict. Ryn questions both of these positions and argues that universality and particularity, unity and diversity, are potentially compatible. He advances the thesis that a certain way of cultivating what is distinctive to persons, peoples, and cultures can enrich and strengthen our common humanity and increase the likelihood of peace.

In A Common Human Ground, now with a new preface by the author, Ryn sets forth a philosophy of human interaction that he applies to foreign policy and international relations, notably the issue of war and peace. Philosophical but not technical, scholarly but not specialized, Ryn’s well-received work is interdisciplinary, ranging from politics to literature and the arts.

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ValueCentered Historicism
The Concrete as Normative
The Unique Expression of the Universal

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Über den Autor (2003)

Claes G. Ryn is Professor of Politics and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at the Catholic University of America. He has taught also at the University of Virginia and Georgetown University. He gave the Distinguished Foreign Scholar Lectures at Beijing University in 2000 and has visited China many times at the invitation of leading academic institutions, including the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He was named Honorary Professor at Beijing Normal University. His many books include, Democracy and the Ethical Life, America the Virtuous, and Will, Imagination and Reason.

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