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Readings in and about the Philosophy of Aurel Kolnai

Zoltán Balázs is Associate Professor at the P. Pázmány Catholic University, Budapest-Piliscsaba,
Francis Dunlop is Honorary Lecturer at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

Aurel Kolnai was born in Budapest, in 1900 and died in London, in 1973. He was, according to Karl Popper and the late Bernard Williams, one of the most original, provocative, and sensitive philosophers of the twentieth century. Kolnai's moral philosophy is best described in his own words as „intrinsicalist, non-naturalist, non-reductionist", which took its original impetus from Scheler's value ethics, and was developed by using a natural phenomenologist method. The unique combination of linguistic analysis and phenomenology yields highly original ideas on classical fields of moral theory, such as responsibility and free will, the meaning of right and wrong, the universalisability of ethical norms, the role of moral emotions, internalism vs externalism, to mention a few.
The volume presents a selection of essays by Kolnai, including his main political theoretical work, What is Politics About, available in English here for the first time. The second half of the book Kolnai's work is analyzed in a series of essays by eminent scholars.

"The editors of the book, who rank Kolnai among the outstanding moral-political philosophers of the twentieth century, are to be congratulated on this and their other efforts at bringing Kolnai's work to the attenction of more readers, after decades of undeserved neglect." - Appraisal


Preface; About the Contents of This Volume; Introduction, Francis Dunlop; I. PAPERS BY KOLNAI What Is Politics About?; A Note on the Meaning of Right and Wrong; Erroneous Conscience; Are There Degrees of Ethical Universality?; The Concept of Practical Error; Actions and Inactions; Agency and Freedom; The Indispensability of Philosophy; II. PAPERS ABOUT KOLNAI’S WORK 1. Introductory Kolnai’s Mature Political Philosophy, Lee Congdon; The Ethical Theories of Aurel Kolnai, John D. Beach; 2. Politics and Utopia The Democratic Subversion of Political Liberty and Participation, John P. Hittinger; Liberty, Equality, Nobility: Aurel Kolnai and the Moral Foundations of Democracy, Daniel J.Mahoney; Aurel Kolnai: A Political Philosopher Confronts the Scourge of Our Epoch, Pierre Manent; Aurel Kolnai and Utopia, David Wiggins; 3. Ethics Aims in Games and Moral Purposes, Loránd Ambrus-Lakatos; Kolnai and Kant on (Human) Dignity, Zoltán Balázs; Kolnai’s Dissertation Der ethische Wert und die Wirklichkeit: A “Completion” of Scheler’s Value-Ethics, Francis Dunlop; The Nature and Scope of Ordinary Morality: Some Reflections in the Spirit of Aurel Kolnai, M.W. F. Stone; 4. Feeling and Emotion Is Love Intertwined with Hatred? Andreas Dorschel; Kolnai’s Idea of Emotional Presentation, Thomas Norgaard; Aurel Kolnai’s “Disgust”: A Source in the Art and Writing of Salvador Dalí, Robert Radford; About the Contributors to This Volume; Indexes

354 pages
ISBN 978-963-9241-97-8 cloth $55.00 / €47.50 / £42.95
ISBN 978-963-7326-01-1 paperback $27.95 / €24.95 / £22.99