Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics is an open access philosophical journal, being published only in an electronic format. The journal aims at promoting research and reflection, both historically and theoretically, in the field of moral and political philosophy, with no cultural preclusion or adhesion to any cultural current.

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The Globethics.net library contains articles of Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics as of vol. 1(1999) to current.

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  • Cicero’s View on the Merits of a Practical Life in De republica 1: What is Missing? A comparison with Plato and Aristotle

    Schütrumpf, Eckart (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2015-02-09)
    Cicero’s views on the theoretical–practical life controversy in De Re republica book 1 reflect his own career and accomplishments and are phrased in terms of the success of defending the state against those who wanted to destroy it. Cicero places himself in a tradition of men, from Miltiades to Cato, who entered the fracas of public life and saved the res publica. Plato addresses in Politeia 6 496b-e the theoretical–practical life controversy from the same perspective of defending or saving a desirable condition, however, for him it is not the government but the integrity of a philosophical life that needs to be protected. Philosophy is the highest form of existence and deserves all effort. Getting involved in politics would first of all jeopardize the integrity of a philosophical existence. Aristotle at Politics 7 ch. 2-3 approaches in a more Hellenistic manner the theoretical–practical life controversy from the personal perspective, that is the most desirable life. This is one of virtue which consists in acting. However, the highest form of activity is not that of the practical life but that of theory like that of god who is not engaged in “outside actions”. Cicero will follow Aristotle in focusing on virtus, however, he will do away with the theoretical side of human excellence which for both Plato and Aristotle deserved priority.
  • Technischer Totalitarismus: Macht, Herrschaft und Gewalt bei Günther Anders

    Dries, Christian (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2014-02-11)
    Günther Anders, unlike his first wife Hannah Arendt, developed neither an elaborate theory of power nor of violence. Although both key issues of political and social theory are vividly present in his later works on the atomic bomb, on the structure of modern work, and in his highly controversial reflections upon civil disobedience (Gewalt – ja oder nein). This article reconstructs and clarifies Anders’ implicit and explicit remarks on power and violence, technocracy, and violent self-defence by confronting them with the classic position of Max Weber, Heinrich Popitz’ anthropological-sociological approach, Karl Marx’s automatic subject, and Johan Galtungs idea of structural violence. Thus appear the outlines of an Andersian theory of technological empowerment (Selbstermächtigung), rooted in Anders’ early and largely unpublished philosophical anthropology from the 1920s and 30s, and the later idea of a Promethian gap (“prometheisches Gefälle”) between human capacities and the artificial world deriving from them. According to Anders man is an indigent as well as a utopian being, able to imagine and produce not only more than nature offers and more than he will ever need but more than he could ever understand and handle on his own. In this perspective, history of mankind – the promising attempt to create an artificial “second nature” within nature, in short: progress – seems to be a gradual process of disempowering man for the benefit of a technological regime in the very strong sense of ‘technocracy’. The current phase of this global process culminates, Anders argues, in a technological world state (“Weltzustand Technik”) wherein atomic armament and the growing number of atomic power plants cause a juridicial state of emergency. Anders denied that this historical stage could be reversible but he thought its atomic constitution could be alleviated. According to him one step towards a stabilized even though not fundamentally altered “Weltzustand” was violent action against those he cryptically called the “power elite” – a demand which is contradictory to his own concept of technocracy but nonetheless a clue to his specific grasp of technological power.
  • Filosofia e politica in Heidegger: l’interpretazione fenomenologica di Leo Strauss

    Ciccarelli, Pierpaolo (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2011-09-08)
    Through an accurate reading of Leo Strauss’ essay Philosophy as Rigorous Science and Political Philosophy, the paper aims to provide a contribution to raise the principled question of the relationship between philosophy and politics. Strauss states that there is an “intimate connection” between the “facts” occurred in Germany in 1933 and “the core” of Heidegger’s philosophical thought. Now, it's difficult to let this statement about Heidegger fit within the well-known Strauss' critique of the historicistic vision, accordingly to which every philosophy is conditioned from its historical time. An accurate, i. e., a critical reading of Strauss’ essay, forces us to answer to the following question: What does properly mean Strauss’ statement? Does it imply something like a reductio ad Hitlerum of Heidegger’s thought, i.e., an essentially historicistic interpretation of the issue? My paper supports the idea that Strauss’ interpretation of the relation between thought and politics is not historical, but phenomenological, assuming the word in a Husserlian way. In fact, according to Strauss, Heidegger’s thought – like every modern “philosophy of history” as for example those of Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche – is basically a renunciation of the “infinite philosophical task” in favour of what Husserl called Weltanschauungsphilosophie, that is, in favour of time-conditioned practical solutions of the riddles of life and the world. Seen in this way, Heidegger’s political engagement is a consequence, not of his philosophy, but rather of his essentially non-philosophical incapacity to resist the temptation of Weltanschauungsphilosophie, i. e., the desire of satisfying the human need of exaltation and consolation. The roots of Heidegger’s political choices are therefore to be understood within a specific cultural-political framework, and not within his philosophical thinking.
  • Max Weber e il carisma tra elezione popolare e lavoro parlamentare

    Mori, Luca (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2014-11-17)
    In his last political writings, Max Weber developed his concept of leader democracy (Führerdemokratie) while observing the plebiscitarian and Caesarist trends in the context of early twentieth-century mass democracy. There is an extensive secondary literature on the topic, and a number of critics have emphasized a problematic overlap in Weber’s account of the two figures of President-elect and charismatic-plebiscitarian leader. This article argues that the tensions within Weber’s account of plebiscitary leadership must be reconsidered against the background of the evolution of mass democracy. Masses contribute to the legitimacy of government by voting, but they are exposed to many potential sources of emotional influence: as a consequence, the modern politician has to use the means of mass demagogy to gain their confidence. Max Weber investigates the conditions to maintain a some sort of dynamic equilibrium between the charismatic leaders (with their party machine), and the opposing forces of state bureaucracies and of a “strong” parliament composed of responsible parties. Whereas the domination of charismatic leaders rests on the confidence of the masses – that they evoke through the use of demagogy – a well-organized parliamentary democracy requires frames and mechanisms for the systematic selection, testing, and accountability of leaders under institutional constraints, in order to be able to implement continuous and consistent policies. The blind spot of Weber’s discourse on leadership remains the internal consistency of a politician who is called to be mass leader, party leader, and responsible statesman.
  • Entre légitime défense et état d’urgence: La pensée andersienne de l’agir politique contre la puissance nucléaire

    Jolly, Edouard (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2014-02-11)
    Günther Anders has explained some polemical theses about the taboo of violence against the use of nuclear power in a conversation with Manfred Bissinger in December 1986. This conversation has triggered numerous reactions that were published in the book Gewalt –Ja oder nein. Eine notwendige Diskussion. In the course of this fascinating dialogue, Günther Anders clarified an original philosophical and political statement: according to him, it has become necessary to deal with a new form of political threat, because the nuclear one is the greatest threat that humanity has ever experienced. This threat, which I will call in this paper “passive legal violence”, has begun in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then she continued to live with Chernobyl. This events were two of the most important philosophical “objects” that Günther Anders treated. With him, we would like to ask one question: what could we do against the nuclear threat? Would pacifism be adequate against a new Fukushima?
  • La sovranità dell’Idea del Bene: Iris Murdoch con Platone

    Fanciullacci, Riccardo (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2011-11-24)
    The philosophical work of Iris Murdoch, although not so extensive, cannot be easily grasped through usual classifications. Here we suggest approaching it from the perspective of Moore’s thesis on the indefinable nature of good that she endorsed after having re-examined it. This comparison with Moore, however, is part of a more general and deeper investigation on the platonic Idea of the Good itself. Thus, after having analyzed how Murdoch understood and assessed the transition from Moore’s conception to the contemporary framework shared by emotivism and R. Hare’s prescriptivism, we clarify the idea of the sovereignty of good by emphasizing the following three aspects: the link between the realm of good and the authority of truth; the unifying power of the idea of good, in regard to reality as we experience it in our lives; lastly, the way in which this idea enables us to transcend the limits of our inherited theoretical horizons, thus revealing the true nature of human freedom.
  • La noción de ley natural en Cicerón

    Lisi, Francisco Leonardo (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2015-02-02)
    Cicero’s concept of natural law (lex naturae o lex naturalis) has been usually interpreted as a direct expression of Stoic philosophy. von Arnim has included Cicero’s well known characterization of natural law (De re publica III xxii 33 and De legibus I vi18-19) in his collection of the Stoic fragments as the only passages explicitely related to natural law, even if Cicero never mentions the Stoics nor alludes to Stoic sources in them. Since then the belief in the Stoic filiation of Cicero’s theory has become predominant. The circular argument at the basis of this hypothesis has not been remarked by most of the scholars. Further, there is usually a certain confusion in the different analysis that tend to make no difference between natural law (lex naturalis, lex naturae, ius naturae, ius naturales) and laws according to nature (leges secundum naturam). The paper clarifies this distinction that Cicero has carefully maintained and that differenciates the classic conception of law from the modern of natural law and later analyzes the relationship of natural law with mind (nous) and shows the Platonic origin of Cicero’s theory and points to the differences with the Stoa.
  • Il Trattato teologico-politico di Spinoza, tra filosofia e militanza (a partire da un recente volume di Steven Nadler)

    Caporali, Riccardo (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2014-02-11)
    After tracing a brief history of how the relationships between metaphysics and politics in Spinoza’s philosophy have been interpreted, the author deals with Steven Nadler’s most recent book and displays its main features and ideas. Following Nadler, Caporali highlights the militant character of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, whose theoretical and political centre is focused on the unsolved problem of the establishment of democracy through the exclusion of the vulgus (whereas the demos should actually be the democratic subject par excellence). This theoretical impasse historically corresponds to the political defeat of Dutch Republicans and leads Spinoza to centre his last, unfinished work (the Tractatus Politicus) on the notion of “multitudo”.
  • Machiavelli e Machiavellismo nello Herder della seconda metà degli anni sessanta

    Marino, Mario (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016-02-24)
    This paper deals with Herder’s first acquaintance with Machiavelli and Machiavellianism. To achieve this end, it analyzes Herder's relevant writings (Haben wir noch jetzt das Publikum und Vaterland der Alten? and Journal meiner Reise im Jahr 1769) and his sources (Frederick the Great’s controversial Anti-Machiavell as well as David Hume’s radical History of Natural Religion). As a result, two issues arise which characterize Herder's enduring interest in Machiavelli’s work and personality as well as his aftermath from the second half of the 1760s onwards: 1) Frederick the Great’s machiavellianist antimachiavellianism: 2) the model of ancient-Rome civil religion and its adaptation to modern times.
  • Günther Anders e la vergogna prometeica

    Miano, Francesco (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2014-02-11)
    This paper aims to evaluate few relevant aspects of Günther Anders’ work Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen (The Outdateness of Human Beings, 1956), in particular the so-called promethean shame, which represents one of the most interesting concepts of his reflection. A kind of overturning of the ancient promethean myth occurred in the last century: the modern man feels ashamed when interacting with the machines, the products and the performances he can create, because these are more efficient and complete than himself. The main goal of Anders’ analysis is to show how this psychological unease reveals a deep anthropological crisis of mankind, whose essential characters – singularity, contingence, bodily fragility, situated freedom – are deeply questioned and modified by the technological development of today’s world.
  • Saggezza o filosofia pratica?

    Berti, Enrico (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2011-09-16)
    The so called “revival of practical philosophy”, started in 1960 by H.G. Gadamer with his Wahrheit und Methode e metodo”, has often provoked a confusion between the authentic prac-tical philosophy of Aristotle and the virtue he calls phronêsis or wisdom. Actually, they repre-sent two forms of knowledge very different. Wisdom is the virtue of practical reason which consists in the ability of correctly deliberate, that is in the ability of individuating the action more suitable for realizing a good end. On the contrary, practical philosophy is a science, that is an habit of theoretical reason, even if it is a practical science, which has as its end in the good action and has a degree of rigour inferior to that of theoretical sciences. Practical philosophy is the science of the supreme good for man, that is happiness – the full flourishing of all human capabilities-, which is determined by means of a dialectical discussion with the thesis of the various philosophers.
  • Quelques réflexions sur la façon dont Platon fait parler les lois

    Bertrand, Jean-Marie (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2011-09-14)
    Antiphon is an essential author of the Sophist period. According to him, law is the enemy of man, because it forbids him to freely exercise his natural capacities. Plato in the Laws believes that one can live in harmony both with nature and positive law provided that the legislator has based the legitimacy of lawmaking on his knowledge of the divine project. Therefore, man can follow divine instructions, transmitted through the legislative discourse, and can comply with the best in his own nature. Each individual, in the City, lives individually his relation with law as is described in Crito, without this law becoming a ‘social contract’, since the political system finds coherence and harmony in the practice of binding collective rituals.
  • La distruzione dell’amore. Esilio e letteratura

    Latini, Micaela (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2014-02-11)
    The aim of this paper is to investigate the connection between the political concepts of power and violence, and the concept of love in the literary and philosophical reflections, which Günther Anders carried on in Lieben, Gestern (1986). In particular, the paper intends to focus on the motif of the destruction of the love feeling in the society of the exiles, as the absence of love novel in 20. Century attests. The theses of Anders appear nowadays extremely topical, moreover if they are read in the scenario opened by the new studies about sentiments.
  • Anders e l'incompleto

    Fadini, Ubaldo (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2014-02-11)
    This contribution aims at highlighting some fundamental motifs (reasons) of that particular philosophical anthropology which can be found in the works of G. Anders, who sets at the center of the analysis, with strong clarity, the figure of man as human being, who comes into the world as “incomplete” and “undetermined”: according to Anders this concretizes itself through the critical confrontation with the philosophical anthropology which becomes philosophy of the tekhne in A. Gehlen and with the Kafkian representation of an existence radically incomplete.
  • Acutissimus o prudentissimus? Intorno alla presenza di Machiavelli nel Trattato politico di Spinoza

    Visentin, Stefano (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2011-10-04)
    The article focuses on par.7, chapter V, of the Political Treatise, one of the two paragraphs in which Machiavelli’s name can be read. This is the starting point for a synthetic analysis of Machiavelli’s presence in some topoi of the Dutch thought of the XVIIth century; finally, thus returning to Spinoza, the author tries to comprehend the meaning of this presence within the a. m. tradition, in order to evaluate the role played by the Florentine secretary in Spinoza’s political reflection. Machiavelli’s presence actually goes deeper than the famous two passages may lead to believe, and a careful analysis of the a. m. paragraph reveals a fundamental aspect of the strong link between the two philosophers: the centrality – both theoretical and practical – that both thinkers tribute to the political role of multitude, in contrast with any reductio ad unum of the processes of constitution and justification of power.
  • Temporalità plurale e contingenza: l’interpretazione spinoziana di Machiavelli

    Morfino, Vittorio (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2011-10-04)
    Spinoza dedicates two remarkable, though brief, paragraphs of his Political Treatise to Machiavelli’s thought: in the first one he investigates the political meaning of the writings of the Florentine secretary, whereas in the second one he summarizes and discusses more closely the different political theories. Spinoza’s interest in Machiavelli is clearly centred on the latter’s political views, however another relevant issue can be traced in Spinoza’s work, an issue that legitimates the theoretical frame of Machiavelli’s political philosophy: plural temporality and contingency. In this sense Machiavelli’s concept of chance becomes central to Spinoza’s interpretation, however distant from the Dutch philosopher’s ontology this concept may appear, an ontology which has been defined (especially in the German ambit) as governed by a “logical”, “blind”, “absolute” necessity.
  • Spinoza e la tolleranza

    Caporali, Riccardo (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2011-10-04)
    The author claims: 1) in Spinoza a classical idea of toleration, if traceable, has a marginal role: no logic of concession, the one that (in Thomas’ conception) allows the prince to resign to the different cults just like one may resign to the human vices and sins; and no toleration as an intermediate claim, in view of a fuller acknowledgement of the individual rights (Locke, Voltaire); 2) in Spinoza there is a clear idea of an underlying “patience”, which lays under political power; a kind of “continuous low”, with variations that become decisive within the raising of the «imperium»: a most peculiar and original thesis that originates from the core of Spinoza’s political thought, and that reverses the traditional roles of “tolerant” and “tolerated”, of one and many, of governor and multitudo.
  • Godimento indiretto – primi appunti per una genealogia dell’economico

    Giugliano, Dario (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2015-07-01)
    Starting from a Kantian definition of money, this article will trace some of the stages of a genealogy of economics. In particular, the author attempts to interact some elements of Marxian thought with reflection of Nietzsche on the problem of the debt. The Platonic-Aristotelian reflection on the relationship between exchange and use is the background to all this.
  • Lists of the Virtues

    Chappel, Sophie-Grace (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016-02-25)
    Virtuous action is action according to the virtues. But which are the virtues? What might be our basis for a list of virtues? In this paper I consider some of the possible answers that have been offered, reviewing material from Plato and Aristotle and the New Testament, also from Philippa Foot, Rosalind Hursthouse, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Linda Zagzebski.
  • Espressionismo, olismo, deflazionismo in Simon Blackburn

    Marrone, Pierpaolo (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2011-09-12)
    Expressionism, holism, and deflationism are central concepts in Blackburn quasi-realistic metaethics. The paper deals with these in order to evaluate the general tenability of Blackburn’s version of non-cognitivism.

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