The Theory of Governance and Other Miscellaneous Papers: 1921-1938 (The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Volume 32)
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This first of two volumes of Voegelin's miscellaneous papers brings together crucial writings, published for the first time, from the early, formative period of this scholar's thought. The book begins with Voegelin's dissertation on sociological method, completed under the direction of Othmar Spann and Hans Kelsen at the University of Vienna in 1922. It reveals an intimate knowledge of the writings of Georg Simmel and a skillful use of insights gained from Edmund Husserl's Logical Investigations and Ideas.
The dissertation, and other smaller pieces written at this time, addresses problems that remained of great importance to Voegelin throughout his life: the relation of insight to language, the structure of the human being, and the human's spiritual center. They disclose both Voegelin's theoretical reference points during these early years, including the thought of Henri Bergson, Othmar Spann, Georg Simmel, and Edmund Husserl, as well the young scholar's remarkably independent approach to theoretical problems.
Moreover, this volume includes a work that is fundamental to an understanding of Voegelin's theoretical development: his extended study on the "theory of governance," written between 1930 and 1932. It follows the issues that confront political society to their roots in the soul and in the soul's relationship to the ground of being.
The Theory of Governance and Other Miscellaneous Papers presents a meditative-exegetic study of texts from Augustine, Descartes, and Husserl, early examples of the meditations that became central to Voegelin's later work. Other essays included in this volume such as "Theory of Law" and "Political Theory as Human Science" develop these theoretical insights and refine Voegelin's methodological tools. This volume will be of interest to all scholars of the work of Eric Voegelin and of the refoundation of political philosophy in the twentieth century in general.
conditions also create communities. The latter are formed especially among those who have no chance of improving their lot” (22). “Organizations are consciously and intentionally created as economic, political, social, artistic, ethical, or religious associations” (22–23). When their interests require it, communities can also strive to become organizations. For example, an ethnic group dispersed through several states may strive for political unity in a new state of its own. But with this example
nowhere because the a priori divisions are almost certain to be false. The ability to recognize the characteristics of the concrete social phenomenon also lent Simmel’s work its unique charm and an importance that will endure, even if, one day, his propositions concerning the method of social science should be proven false. The intimate connection between observation of phenomena and a critical attitude toward observation gives Simmel’s and Litt’s works an advantage over those of the theorists
important aspect of Voegelin’s own thought, for if he was introduced to Plato’s philosophy in the seminars of Othmar Spann, his understanding of the 26. Ibid., 239–40 below. 27. Race and State, 19–36, esp. 19, 33–36. 10 editors’ introduction philosopher was decisively informed by the scholarship of the group of researchers inﬂuenced by Stefan George.28 Throughout chapter 3 the problem of Good and Evil, broached in the discussion of Max Scheler in chapter 2, is an important theme. Among other
in terms of how it ﬁts into a historical environment. And we will not approach it with concepts taken from the history of literature or ask whether Wedekind is a naturalist or a decadent, or indeed if he is moral or immoral. Procedures of this type commit the fatal error of approaching a totality with concepts that do not derive meaning from the totality itself. The course of our investigation will reveal the particular importance of dispensing with such assumptions in approaching Wedekind. For
perhaps only the natural system of law as developed by natural law theorists, and the systems of positive law as they have been presented in positive legal science? The second view predominated during the golden age of natural law. The natural system confronted the positive system, the theorist of legal reason confronted the systematizers of positive law. The two areas were clearly distinguished, and Fries, whom we just quoted, leaves no doubt as to how irrelevant the system of natural law is to