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The Forgotten Father: Freedom and its Foes in Karl Jaspers’ Post-War Writings

Published version
Peer-reviewed

Repository DOI


Type

Article

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Authors

Spiers, Robbie 

Abstract

Largely forgotten today, Karl Jaspers was one of the foremost public figures in post-war Germany to champion the idea of liberty, offering a unique blend of paternalist and populist politics. Freedom for Jaspers was both ideal and real, tied closely to the depths of existential being yet made concrete through the actions and choices of thinking individuals. Alongside developing this multi-layered conception of freedom, Jaspers also set out a number of ways that a culture of freedom could be fostered on both a national and an international level. A nationwide political education, guided by both paternalist great statesmen and by the people themselves, was to form the bedrock of Germany’s transition to democracy. Internationally, Jaspers believed that a decentralised system of cooperation, one which rose above the world’s increasingly irrelevant nation states, was the only means to stave off the dangers of totalitarianism. By placing Jaspers in his historical and intellectual contexts and comparing him with his contemporaries, we can shine new light into the tensions behind the polemics of this philosopher turned political pundit and highlight his important role as one of the Bundesrepublik’s intellectual fathers.

Description

Keywords

47 Language, Communication and Culture

Journal Title

Oxford German Studies

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

0078-7191
1745-9214

Volume Title

Publisher

Routledge
Sponsorship
AHRC (via University of Oxford) (AH/R012709/1)

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2024-03-08 09:28:23
Published version added
2023-09-07 23:31:26
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