Dialectical Tradition in South Africa

The Dialectical Tradition in South Africa

By Andrew Nash

Exploring the defence and articulation of free speech in South Africa, Nash examines Dutch attempts to modernize the legacy of the Enlightenment, the existentialism of a generation of Afrikaners during the 1940s and the renewal of Afrikaans literature.


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Book Information

Publisher: Routledge
Publish Date: 02/27/2015
Pages: 250
ISBN-13: 9781138871281
ISBN-10: 1138871281
Language: English

Full Description

This book brings into view the most enduring and distinctive philosophical current in South African history--one often obscured or patronized as Afrikaner liberalism. It traces this current of thought from nineteenth-century disputes over Dutch liberal theology through Stellenbosch existentialism to the prison writings of Breyten Breytenbach, and examines related themes in the work of Olive Schreiner, M. K. Gandhi, and Richard Turner. At the core of this tradition is a defence of free speech in its classical sense, as a virtue necessary for a good society, rather than in its modern liberal sense as an individual right. Out of this defence of free speech, conducted in the face of charges of heresy, treason, and immorality, a range of philosophical conceptions developed--of the self constituted in dialogue with others, of freedom as transcendence of the given, and of a dialectical movement of consciousness as it is educated through debate and action. This study shows the Socratic commitment to "following the argument where it leads," sustained and developed in the storm and stress of a peculiar modernity.

About the Author

Andrew Nash is associate professor of Political Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

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