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At the garden party of moths and butterflies: a Foreword to Havel's Keywords and I3.maginaries

Priban, Jiri ORCID: 2024. At the garden party of moths and butterflies: a Foreword to Havel's Keywords and I3.maginaries. Danaher, David and Williams, Kieran, eds. Václav Havel’s Meanings: His Key Words and Their Legacy, Václav Havel Series, Prague: Karolinum, pp. 16-28.

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One of the most typical hallmarks of political modernity is Thomas Hobbes's view that auctoritas non veritas facit legem, usually shortened as the 'might is right' statement invoked by self-declared political realists. Against this view, political idealists argue that veritas non auctoritas facit legem and call on the authority of reason to guide our political life by guaranteeing truth in politics. For them, the political sovereign's might depends on the mightier rule constituted by the sovereign power of reason. While the legacy of Hobbes still dominates political and social theories and definitions of politics through the exercise of sovereign commands, the general habit of obedience and the state as the monopoly of power within a given territory, the tradition of identifying legitimate politics with truth is much older and its modern imaginary is typically associated with the Kantian view of public opinion governed by reason. The persuasive force of reason manifests itself in the public sphere of civil society, which is expected to facilitate free discussion transforming diverse opinions into rational judgements and political consensus. Public participation and rational engagement are then expected to constitute specific control of political authority, in which the sovereign reason rules the state and its legal constitution. These conceptual and ideological distinctions between political realism and idealism or power and truth are usually mastered by political, legal and social scientists in early stages of academic development despite their gross simplifications of political and legal reality and failure to describe the complexity of modern society. It is therefore very important for academics as much as citizens to encounter and explore political and legal constellations in which the keywords of auctoritas, veritas and lex cannot be simplified and summarised in typical formulas, conceptual distinctions and intellectual clichés.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Publisher: Karolinum
ISBN: 978-80-246-4941-2
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 09:48

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