Schindler begins by uncovering a contradiction in John Locke’s seminal account of human freedom. Rather than dismissing it as a mere “academic” problem, Schindler takes this contradiction as a key to understanding the strange paradoxes that abound in the contemporary values and institutions founded on the modern notion of liberty: the very mechanisms that intend to protect modern freedom render it empty and ineffectual. In this respect, modern liberty is “diabolical”—a word that means, at its roots, that which “drives apart” and so subverts. This is contrasted with the “symbolical” (a “joining-together”), which, he suggests, most basically characterizes the premodern sense of reality. This book will appeal to students and scholars of political philosophy (especially political theorists), philosophers in the continental or historical traditions, and cultural critics with a philosophical bent.
D. C. Schindler is associate professor of metaphysics and anthropology at the John Paul II Institute. He is the author of a number of books, including The Catholicity of Reason.
D. C. Schindler argues that a "dramatic" approach, shaping both the form and content of philosophy, enables a new conception of being, of human consciousness, and of their coming together to satisfy both traditional concerns about unity and postmodern calls for difference-while avoiding the pitfalls of a one-sided emphasis on either.
This important text, in which Sloterdijk develops his account of freedom and the modern subject, will be of great interest to students and scholars in philosophy and the humanities and to anyone interested in contemporary philosophy and critical theory.