|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2010)|
Panagiotis Kondylis's only published picture
|Born||17 August 1943
Drouva near Olympia, Elis, Greece
|Died||11 July 1998
|Main interests||Social philosophy, political philosophy, philosophy of culture|
Panagiotis Kondylis (also Panagiotes Kondyles; Greek: Παναγιώτης Κονδύλης; 17 August 1943 – 11 July 1998) was a Greek writer, translator and publications manager who principally wrote in German, in addition to translating most of his work into Greek. He can be placed in a tradition of thought best exemplified by Thucydides, Niccolò Machiavelli and Max Weber.
Kondylis produced a body of work that referred directly to primary sources in no less than six languages (Greek, Latin, German, French, Italian and English), and had little regard for what he considered intellectual fashions and bombastic language used to camouflage logical inconsistencies and lack of first-hand knowledge of primary sources.
- 1 Life
- 2 Work
- 3 Themes and thought
- 3.1 Philosophers, logic, polemics, nihilism
- 3.2 Scientific knowledge and skepticism
- 3.3 Thucydides, Plato, Ancient Greece and the Classics
- 3.4 The multi-lateral Enlightenment
- 3.5 Aron and Schmitt; decision and existentialism
- 3.6 Enmity and friendship
- 3.7 The fall of Communism, history and ideology
- 3.8 Politics and the rise of mass democracy
- 3.9 Power and law, self-preservation and reason
- 3.10 Marx, utopia and Weber
- 3.11 Schmitt and Marxism; theology and economic activity
- 3.12 Europe at the crossroads
- 3.13 Social ontology, sociology and history
- 3.14 Rationalism, irrationalism, methodology and value-neutrality
- 3.15 Human rights as ideology
- 3.16 Scipio Africanus the Younger; the Propagandists; Spengler
- 4 Books and articles
- 5 Notes and references
- 6 Further reading
- 7 External links
Born in 1943 in the small community of Drouva (Δρούβα) near Olympia, Greece, where the Kondylis' family house is still standing today, he moved with his father, who was a military officer, at the age of six to Kifisia, Athens, where he attended school. Kondylis studied classical philology and philosophy at the University of Athens (at which time he was drawn to Marxism), as well as philosophy, medieval and modern history and political science at the Universities of Frankfurt and Heidelberg. During his postgraduate studies at Heidelberg he earned his PhD (under the supervision of Dieter Henrich) with the 700-page study of the origins of post-Kantian German idealism, including the early years of Hegel, Schelling and Hölderlin: Die Entstehung der Dialektik (The Genesis of Dialectics), which supported views considered innovative and provocative at the time, including illuminating the pre-history of Marxism and the world-theoretical presuppοsitions of the Marxist philosophy of history. Outstanding German historians Werner Conze and Reinhart Koselleck were important guiding influences during his formative years in Heidelberg.
Kondylis was awarded the Goethe Medal in 1991. As a recipient of the Humboldt Prize he also was in 1994/95 a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. Kondylis, though, was independent – a Privatgelehrter (private scholar) who never aspired to an academic career apart from one attempt in the early 1980s when he entered into discussions with the Philosophy Department of the University of Athens, applying for a placement. His application was confronted with the distrust of the conservative faculty of the philosophical department. Although Kondylis was supported by the then well-known professor Theofilos Veikos, he still had to contend with the opposition of many University based philosophers and subsequently did not succeed in commencing a career as an academic. Thereafter, he never expressed any wish for an academic career (expressing the view that "academic philosophy is dead and buried"), although he was offered a lot of honorary placements, including by the University of Ioannina, which he politely refused.
He died in Athens in 1998. His library of some 5000 titles based in his house in Politeia, Athens was donated by his sister, Melpo Kondylis (Μέλπω Κονδύλη), to the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in which a special "Kondylis" section exists in the campus library. In November 2008 a conference was held in Heidelberg honouring the memory of the late Panagiotis Kondylis. A similar event was held in Greece on 22 May 2008.
The great bulk of his corpus was written in German, and most of his writings were translated by Kondylis himself into Greek. He was interested in a number of areas of study including: the Enlightenment and the preceding Renaissance-era critiques of metaphysics; the philosophy of war and Clausewitz, as well as the work of Hegel and Marx; Western bourgeois culture and its decline; Conservatism; post-Modernity, and International Affairs. He also translated into modern Greek classic works by authors such as: Xenophon, Burnham, Machiavelli, Marx, Lichtenberg, Pavese, Montesquieu, Chamfort, Rivarol, Schiller, Cassirer and Carl Schmitt. Moreover, he was publications manager of the Greek-language "Philosophical and Political Library" (editions Γνώση (1983–1998; 60 volumes)) and "Modern European Civilisation" (editions Νεφέλη (1997–2000; 12 volumes)), producing modern Greek translations of renowned texts by authors as diverse as: Hobbes, Lyotard, Foucault, ancient Greek Sophists and Cynics, Moscovici, Sorel, Heidegger, Burckhardt, Michels, Aron, Leo Strauss, Derrida, Locke, Hauser et al., and histories of modern Greek philosophy. Kondylis's best known books are: Die Aufklärung (The Enlightenment) and Macht und Entscheidung (Power and Decision) (see below).
Kondylis claimed to be "scientific" in the sense of writing "descriptively" (and explanatorily), in separating Is (facts) from Ought (values), rather than writing "prescriptively" or "normatively". The thread running through all of Kondylis's writings (whether primarily focussed on the history of ideas, social ontology, historical sociology, geopolitics, etc.) is his position that the historical plethora and variety of individual, social and theoretical behaviour or endeavour unfolds against a backdrop of the anthropological law (or constants) of "power" and "decision". Such "power" and "decision" continually traverse a friend-foe spectrum within historically formed (and currently dynamic) societies characterised by varying degrees of multi-faceted social relations of individual and collective subjects (in and through which e.g. biological impulses are rationally justified and embellished so that their voice is heard as the command of ethics; the impulse of self-preservation manifests itself as "meaning of life"; and sexual urges are dressed up as "love"). Orientation, identity formation, hierarchisation, interpretation, the production of normative systems, ideologies, rationality as self-control and the abandonment or postponement of immediate gratification, etc., are all means through which power relations manifest themselves socially and distinguish human civilisations from the basic instinctual behaviour and unrationalised raw violence of the animal kingdom (in short: humans accept "meaning" in seeking power, whereas animals do not). As human societies become more complex (and materially wealthier), power and its self-intensification ceases to often coincide with mere physical superiority (as in the case of primitive conditions), and power is often objectivised through greater use of historically determined and relative ((re-)interpreted and often contested) symbols and values. However, raw physical power is always at least potentially available for use by individual and collective subjects who wish to maintain and expand their power. Even scientific knowledge is not beyond historical determination and polemical manipulation – but only scientific knowledge, if it consistently separates Is from Ought, can explain in terms of corroboration with empirical reality the abundant variety of human existence and "knowing".
The Political and Man
His final major work Das Politische und der Mensch (The Political and Man) remained unfinished at the time of his death, but nevertheless managed to present a unified social-scientific theory or "value-free" description of social phenomena, encompassing socio-ontological, sociological and historical aspects of the study of human affairs. Kondylis's conception of social ontology does not offer any fixed causalities or laws nor does it say what people ought to do or not do in any given situation or how their social action should unfold. The task of social ontology is accordingly not to reduce fluid and varied phenomena to basic samples and basic genetic factors; what is sought is to show the spectrum of the forces and factors, which can only be constituted and become discernible from the – irreducible and inexhaustible – diversity of form. Such forces and factors, of course, include certain constants such as striving for self-preservation through the expanding of one's own power, and the friend-foe relation, which exist in all societies and are actualised in concrete historical situations and therefore have concrete dimension and content e.g. when the dominant paradigm might be theocentrism or anthropocentrism or mass democratic post-Modernity. Much of the nearly completed first volume (three volumes had been planned by Kondylis) is an analysis of mass-democratic ideology in the social sciences while also dealing with methodological and theoretical questions such as the distinction between "socio-ontic observation" and "socio-historical observation" and the three key aspects of the social: the social relation, the political and man. Moreover, Kondylis examines the social relation as regards its "internal" mechanism of subjectivity and "external" mechanism of action, the friend-foe polarity and the social relation's continuity, in addition to exploring the concepts of understanding and rationality by way of an extensive examination and/or critique of numerous renowned authors such as Buber, Durkheim, Dilthey, Habermas, Heidegger, Husserl, Luhmann, Mead, Schütz, Parsons, Popper, Simmel, Tönnies, Weber and von Wiese.
The Enlightenment and intellectual history
Apart from being a comprehensive survey of the major polemical trends in the European History of Ideas from the end of the Middle Ages and the subsequent turn against Cartesian Rationalism by many mainstream and other Enlightenment figures[who?] promoting a "new" or revived sensualism, until the post-Kantian period of Schelling and Hegel, Die Aufklärung (The Enlightenment), together with Die neuzeitliche Metaphysikkritik (Modern-era Criticism of Metaphysics), can be seen as analyses of the European Modern Era's struggle against value-relativity and nihilism, which were the logical conclusion of the overall rationalist positioning in the European Modern Era. Against the Aristotelian metaphysics of essence, the notion of function was recruited, and then the danger of breaking-down all essences into variable functions had to be confronted with the invention of new beings: "Nature", "Man" and "History" thus succeeded God and the (transcendental) Spirit. However, the notion of function totally prevailed in the course of the 20th century in the context of overthrowing essence on a global scale (notwithstanding the on-going and socially inevitable influence of various ideologies and religions) see The Decline of Bourgeois Thought- and Life- Forms below. Throughout these books, self-preservation and power appear as key concepts in interpreting human affairs, and in setting aside all dualisms and Platonisms, all the traditional distinctions between Hither and Thither, the ideal and reality, understanding and volition. From the point of view of the history of ideas, while the philosophers who did systematically set aside such dualisms were few and far between (e.g. Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, La Mettrie, de Sade, and to a lesser extent, Diderot, Helvetius, Holbach, Hume), quantitatively, philosophers expounding versions of the traditional distinctions mentioned above, or at least maintained a normative stance necessary to seek social influence, prevailed for much of the European Modern Era, and Kondylis also analysed the basic stance(s) of such and other thinkers including: Alembert, Condillac, Condorcet, Grotius, Hegel, Hamann, Herder, Kant, Leibniz, Lessing, Maupertuis, Newton, Rousseau, Shaftesbury, Voltaire, and Wolff, in considerable detail, as well as referring to other (pre-)Enlightenment thinkers (in addition to those mentioned above) such as: Augustine, Aquinas, Aristotle, Bacon, Bayle, Berkeley, Bruno, Descartes, Erasmus, Galilei, Locke, Pascal, Plato, Pufendorf, Telesio, etc.. In both The Enlightenment and Modern-era Criticism of Metaphysics, Kondylis runs a compelling interpretative thread through the constant reformulation of concepts and positioning and apparently overwhelming volume of argumentation, from the late Middle Ages until the 19th century (and 20th century in the case of Modern-era Criticism of Metaphysics, which includes analyses of: Bergson, Dilthey, Feuerbach, Heidegger, Malebranche, Mill, Nietzsche, Occam, Russell, Salutati, Spencer, Whitehead, Wittgenstein, and Zabarella), producing scholarly works that not only have a handbook or reference text quality but also an ability to provide insight into the motive forces of development of, and changes in, the history of ideas in the European Modern Era (see also Conservatism below) before the onset of the new Planetary Era.
Power and De-cisio
In Macht und Entscheidung (Power and De-cisio) Kondylis set forth the theoretical basis for his attitude to existence and his own endeavours as an author and social scientist. "Decision" is here conceptualised differently from its hitherto known varieties in decisionism – now it appears as a theory about the emergence of individual and collective worldviews. Such an emergence as a function of power i.e. self-preservation through self-enhancement (or self-intensification), always refers to enemy positioning, and as such always contains normative elements within itself. Kondylis examines the claimed bindingness and also ambiguity inherent in all ideologies and social institutions. Drawing from anthropology, philosophy, sociology and history, concepts such as value, value-freedom and nihilism are explored. It is claimed that the infinite variety of human perceptions, beliefs, ideologies, i.e. world-views, are nothing more than an effort to give personal interests a normative form and an objective character, deriving from a "decision" on what means should be used, who should be a friend and who a foe, in the big "Hobbesian" struggle for what is the most primitive and common goal of all humans – self-preservation. Therefore, personal and/or group world-views and ideologies in general are used as a weapon in everyday struggle for the purpose of power claims and self-preservation. Social and historical being and becoming consist of transitory existences – regardless of whether they invoke Reason and ethics or not – seeking power (in any one or more of its countless forms). That is how Nature's (and society's) creatures are, and they cannot do otherwise.
Kondylis's next book, Konservativismus. Geschichtlicher Gehalt und Untergang. (Conservatism. Historical Content and Decline.), like The Enlightenment, which broke new ground in its novel interpretation of such a pivotal period in European philosophy (see above), went against the grain of conventional wisdom on the history of conservatism understood simply as a reaction to the French Revolution as articulated by e.g. Karl Mannheim. Rather, in Kondylis's book, conservatism had already existed as a social and political force since the Middle Ages in which the nobility and its estate system, having derived its legitimacy from a particular conception of law as a privilege, combated emerging egalitarian interpretations of law in the European Modern Era, which encompassed the rise of the modern sovereign state, albeit initially in absolutist guises (among which were the attempt to impose religious tolerance and peace in the aftermath of the Reformation and the religious wars). Nevertheless, the book also examines conservatism as a political force adapting to the reality of the modern sovereign state's eventual triumph and in light of the French Revolution and beyond. Included is an analysis of how the central themes used in the socialist criticism of capitalism were initially formed in the ideological realm of the counter-Revolution, whose social conveyor of this first anti-capitalist criticism was the patriarchal great-landholder, the older or younger aristocrat, who saw his social existence being eroded and falling apart by the irrepressible march of mercantile-monetary relations, the Industrial Revolution and by individualistic-liberal ideas. What followed was an idealised image of pre-capitalist reality, whereby people lived united by the bonds of blood, tradition and mutual faith and protection, from the earth and in nature, preserving their existential essence from the fragmentation which is imposed by the advanced division of labour and the continuous hunt for material gain in a society cut up into competitive individuals. Key intellectuals during conservatism's history include: Bonald, Burke, Carlyle, Chateaubriand, Cortés, Fenelon, Haller, Jarcke, de Maistre, Moser, Müller, Radowitz, Schlegel, and Stahl.
Theory of War, Clausewitz, Marx, Engels, Lenin
In Theorie des Krieges (Theory of War), Kondylis opposed Raymond Aron's liberal interpretation of Clausewitz's theory. According to Aron in Penser La Guerre Clausewitz was one of the first writers condemning the militarism of military elites and their war-proneness (based on the famous sentence "war is a continuation of politics by other means"). Kondylis claimed that this was a reconstruction not coherent with Clausewitz's thought. Clausewitz was, according to Kondylis, morally indifferent to war from a theoretical point of view, and his propounding of the value of political rule over war had nothing to do with pacifistic claims. For Clausewitz war was just a means in the eternal quest for power in an often anarchical and unsafe world, and as such war could neither be a continuous phenomenon, nor cease altogether. In other words, war arose from the political (i.e. "political communication") in the wider sense of social existence encompassing society as a whole (inclusive of anthropological factors), and whether war occurred at a particular time or not depended on a correlation of social and political forces encompassing collective and individual input into any given state of affairs. Kondylis saw in Clausewitz a general theory of war with sufficiently inclusive and elastic conceptualisation which could cover all forms of strategy – even antithetical forms: from primitive guerrilla warfare to extremely technicised contemporary war, as well as the possibility of terrorism using advanced technology to cripple modern-day societies. Kondylis continued with an analysis of Lenin's, Engels's and Marx's theories of war, articles about military staff and politicians, technological and absolute war, and concluded (in the Greek edition) with an analysis of a possible Greek-Turkish war.
The Decline of the Bourgeois Thought
In Der Niedergang der bürgerlichen Denk- und Lebensformen. Die liberale Moderne und die massendemokratische Postmoderne (The Decline of Bourgeois Thought- and Life- Forms. The Liberal Modern and the mass-democratic Post-modern), Kondylis used Weberian ideal-typical analysis to outline the great "paradigm shift" of post-Modernity from around 1900 onwards, in bringing to an end the previously dominant bourgeois-liberal hierarchical and humanist world-view, and ushering in a new era of mass-democratic pluralism and leveling of hierarchies based on mass-democratic social formations characterised by, inter alia, historically unprecedented mass production and mass consumption, atomisation and mobility, and, not least of all, the various forms of mass-democratic ideology. To this end, Kondylis made effective use of his distinction between the "synthetic-harmonising thought-form" and the "analytic-combinatory thought-form" in which the latter set aside the former during the same period as the setting-aside of classical bourgeois liberalism by mass democracy, which for the most part occurred as the re-interpretation and changing of liberalism in accordance with the needs of mass democracy, and not always as an open and programmatic clash between the two. The "synthetic-harmonising thought-form" and the "analytic-combinatory thought-form" distinction is applied by Kondylis to his extensive overview of developments in the arts (including literature, music, architecture, the visual arts, cinema), as well as of developments in philosophy, the sciences and commonplace mind-sets and ways of living, mainly from the second half of the 19th century until the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.
Planetary Politics after the Cold War
In Planetarische Politik nach dem kalten Krieg (Planetary Politics after the Cold War), Kondylis dealt with a number of matters e.g. conceptual confusion in the overtly polemical and unhistorical use of "conservative", "liberal" and "(social) democracy"; mass democracy as the world's first international social formation; the impact of communism on the 20th century; and "human rights" as predominantly American ideology but also amenable to interpretations contrary to American interests, i.e. the dissemination of universal human rights ideology will lead to a significant increase in international conflict and increase the worldwide trend towards anomy. The end of the Cold War in particular emerges as a pivotal point in history in which the European Modern Era finds itself in its historical twilight while coming full circle, absorbed by the Planetary Era which the European Modern Era itself inaugurated with the great geographic discoveries of the 15th and 16th centuries. Planetary history gulps down its creator, European history – another one of the blaring examples of the unintended consequences of collective action in history.
Kondylis's published works as a whole can be seen as a unified series of analyses based on an unwavering adherence to empirical fact and logical consistency no matter what aspect of study is being emphasised at any given time. He sought to eliminate artificial academic boundaries between e.g. "philosophy", "anthropology", "economics", "history", "sociology" and "politics" by emphasising the interconnectedness of such disciplines from the point of view of "value-free" i.e. "power claim"-free and non-normative scientific understanding. He thought of himself as "an observer of human affairs" or "writer" or "historian of ideas, social historian and theorist" (always writing by hand), rather than as a "philosopher", producing a body of work that bears little resemblance to any other author, apart from perhaps Max Weber.
Themes and thought
Some of the main themes in Kondylis's books and other writings, as well as key attributes in his thinking, are outlined in the paragraphs below.
Philosophers, logic, polemics, nihilism
Kondylis's view of so-called "philosophers" was that they behaved no differently from people acting politically or socially, i.e. they take a position which is in agreement or in conflict with other people. The end result would always be that the dreams or power claims of (most) philosophers in showing the rest of the world the path to harmony would never be fulfilled. Such a situation is the norm for all political and social theories which are guided by normative views and desires. Logic, in turn, was not considered to be the sole preserve of ethical-normative "rationality", but consists in the formally logical development of any argumentation. Logic does not produce either ethical-normative or value-free thought of and by itself – it can be a servant of all possible positions. However, in the history of ideas more often than not polemics thrusts aside logic in trying to assert the "correct" ethical-normative position and as a consequence people are reproduced as competitors and foes, or comrades and friends, as the case may be. Nihilism, the logical conclusion of a position that acknowledges the historically and empirically proven relativity of values, does not encourage destruction, because nihilism would be proclaimed a new normative value, which is obviously illogical. Kondylis highlighted the fact that the worst politically motivated catastrophes that have befallen upon humans have been in the name of normative principles and values, regardless of whether their opponents at any given time considered such principles and values "false" and/or "nihilistic".
Scientific knowledge and skepticism
Kondylis held that scientific knowledge of human affairs was possible notwithstanding it was historically based like all other forms of "knowledge". The scepticist view of knowledge being unattainable is false simply because it has no logical foundation. Scepticists would say: "if world-images are historically differentiated and relative, then the claim of the possibility of scientific knowledge is false because scientific knowledge is also a world-image and set in a particular historical context." Kondylis would reply that such a position is illogical since the claim "world-images are historically differentiated and relative" is made with certainty of its truth even though it is maintained at the same time that "scientific knowledge is not possible." Kondylis explained that the historical determination of all theories does not prove the relativity of his theory, but simply confirms the general principle that all theories are historically determined. On the other hand, any theory which sees itself as absolute and independent of historical determination cannot possibly explain how there can be theories other than itself. Scientific knowledge of human affairs is possible, as long as there is a consistent severance from ethical-normative thought. The relativity of normative principles and values might appear as a sign of scepticism to ethicists, but to Kondylis it is simply empirically substantiated and provable knowledge. Descriptive value-free research in respect of science as a quest for truth can only be what it claims to be as long as it does not seek to be a value which wants general application and bindingness (as is the case with ethical-normative stances). In the final analysis, the position one takes is a matter of taste.
Thucydides, Plato, Ancient Greece and the Classics
In comparing the two great Ancient Greek authors, Kondylis asserted that Thucydides had not lost any of his timeliness e.g. in analysing fundamental political behaviour and international relations either today or yesterday, as opposed to Plato in the Laws. Each historical situation has two sides, because in each situation the Human, if seen structurally, unfolds and is acted out in its wholeness, but under the cloak of normative convictions, which are relative and transitory. That is why certain fundamental types of human behaviour have in general stayed the same in known history, whereas during the same time-frame dominant ideologies and social rules have repeatedly changed, e.g. the political behaviour of Greeks in the 5th century B.C. seems familiar to us even though their religion and ethics are foreign to us today. Indeed, in Ancient Greece something astonishing occurred: in a relatively short period of time, and from within the internal necessities of the movement of cogitation, the ultimate choices in the human condition in general as regards the re-cycling of fundamental constants in both deed and thought, notwithstanding their varying socio-historical investiture, were discovered and summarised. Whoever has e.g. carefully studied, and in all its shades, the face-off between Sophism and Plato will ascertain that therein the dilemma of "metaphysics or nihilism" (whereby the ethical dimension of philosophical examination is attached to the epistemological and cosmological dimension, in parallel giving birth to numerous intermediate solutions), which bedevils Western thought, and not only Western thought, was summed up in a way which is literally insurmountable. Nevertheless, Kondylis was always quick to point out that what he considers "classical" is not confined to ancient Greece, and includes all the authors who dealt with the "ultimate choices" (see The Enlightenment and Modern-era Criticism of Metaphysics above for the names of such authors), and it is advisable to anyone seriously interested in systematising their intellectual interests to start off with all the ancient and more modern classic authors and not to dedicate themselves roughly existentially to intellectual fashions, which will disorientate them as soon as they become passé, narrowing their intellectual horizons in the process. With all the classics, one gets to the heart of problems and does not while away the hours gaping at the next shooting star. In understanding the mechanisms of ideological and Utopian thought, a feature of classical ancient times was the absence of eschatological and lineal perceptions of the historical becoming, which as is well-known, have a Judeo-Christian origin and were secularised just as much by socialist Marxism as by capitalistic liberalism. In order to avoid hysteria in the face of complete and irrevocable death, eschatological hysteria was legitimised world-theoretically. Whoever learns to live without spoken or unspoken eschatologies and without ethicisms as their substitutes, has to learn to die, completely and irrevocably, with psychic tranquility and drollness. This highest of lessons is learnt in classical ancient times, which ignored the straight line with the propitious end in order to fasten itself to the eternal cycle.
The multi-lateral Enlightenment
The Enlightenment for Kondylis was an extremely complex and fertile period in the European history of ideas that did not culminate (according to teleological ideology) e.g. in the thought of Kant; nor could it be compressed into Cassirer's Enlightenment thought-form by ignoring materialistic trends; nor could it be said that the philosophy of sense did not belong to the Enlightenment stricto sensu as Hazard contended; nor did the Enlightenment directly and automatically lead to the French Revolution and the atrocities committed in the 1790s based on the logic of the Enlightenment's texts and ideas (when in fact it is the logic of the contest that causes both the multi-lateral nature of the Enlightenment and the Revolution, the latter e.g. not being the product of a bourgeoisie supportive of radical materialism, and in the absence of the peasantry). Yet even though a number of competing intellectual trends struggled for influence (or notoriety), it is clear that the Enlightenment as a whole had a number of features. In the face of the overall combating of ecclesiastical-theological thought and rise of empiricism and sensationalism, though the extent to which and methods by which this was undertaken varied, there persisted many disparate attempts to maintain autonomous Reason above sensible experience e.g. the philosophical synthesis of Kant or the Revolutionaries and their enemies who referred to philosophy. Interestingly, the conservative-romantic critique of the Enlightenment, in reducing the Enlightenment to geometric intellect and/or Cartesian way of thought, and in ignoring philosophy of the sense, Rousseauism or the Storm and Stress movement, re-surfaced in e.g. Adorno and Horkheimer's reproaches of the Enlightenment as the apotheosis of instrumental Reason – but this time in neo-romantic-progressive conceptualisation and language. In any event, Newton's thought in the 18th century was particularly influential, with materialism emerging for the first time in the European Modern Era as a major intellectual force, not so much because of natural-scientific perceptions but due to political and theological factors. However, the purely mathematical component in Newton's thought (and mathematics in general) was downgraded for fear of a resurrection of intellectualist abstractions. Hence, the Enlightenment conception of Nature, which constituted the theoretical basis of the struggle against the theological teachings about Creation, crystallised in light of presuppositions very different to the mechanistic world-view of Galilei, Descartes or Hobbes, which of course assisted Modern Era rationalism obtain its first great victory against the hitherto prevailing interpretation of the world. Moreover, historically founded sociology was initiated in the 18th century (e.g. the Scottish Enlightenment), and was to bear mature fruit in the following two centuries, and as the boundaries between philosophy, literature and science became blurred and once ignored thinkers were to later receive recognition, the mono-dimensional interpretations of the Enlightenment as Reason eclipsing Apocalypse and authority could be seen for what they are – polemics. Nevertheless, for most thinkers, while the sensible-material world is no longer ontologically subordinate to the sphere of the pure (transcendental) spirit in ancient and Christian metaphysics, normative thought has to establish autonomous ethics to replace the Christian-ascetic life and hence (a normatively conceived) anthropology predominates vis-à-vis theology, i.e. Man using science and technique seeks to dominate (and change) this world. The main characteristic of Modern Era rationalism consists of the opposition between the normative (Man as lord over Nature including his own nature) and the causal (man is nature) and their subsequent interweaving (or the interweaving of Is and Ought). In the Enlightenment, self-movement is recognised in matter at the natural-scientific and cosmological level; empirical and sensationalist trends come to prevail at the epistemological level; the anti-ascetic turn aggressively succeeds in natural philosophy; and at the level of social theory, material factors, from geography to economy, are valued more than ever before, while their formation and function are specifically understood. And even though the most radical rehabilitation of the senses remains quantitatively negligible, the ultimate ontological and ethical-philosophical consequences of a consistent rehabilitation of the senses reverberates in all philosophical factions leading to the multitude of arguments and the multi-lateral nature of the mainstream Enlightenment (from Shaftesbury to Kant) in not allowing the complete predominance of the sensible (most strikingly appearing in the nihilism of La Mettrie and de Sade). Later on, the rehabilitation of the senses was expressed by e.g. Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Dilthey, American pragmatism and Bergson as a primacy of volition and action over thought and theory, and in different ways, such thinkers showed that philosophy and intellectual creation more generally have roots in deeper strata than what was previously thought while raising the issue of the ontology of such strata. Ideology as "false" consciousness could be formed only on the basis of the Enlightenment perception of material nature and practical-instrumental orientation of the human intellect, and the discovery of civilisation as a whole cleared the way towards modern social and historical science. On the other hand, in the realm of values, there would be an increasing intensity in the contest between prosy idealism and unbearable relativism. The Enlightenment was neither simply intellectualist, nor was it merely based on normative-emancipatory positions. Of course, a great many philosophers and intellectuals today still project their own normative and axiological thought as a continuation of a mono-dimensionally interpreted Enlightenment, while their opponents simply reverse the argumentation. After all, from its own nature, philosophical thought is no less political and polemical than political thought, including when interpreting the Enlightenment.
Aron and Schmitt; decision and existentialism
In respect of scholars of international relations (and the development of Kondylis's interest in strategy, geopolitics and military history), Kondylis singled out Raymond Aron for special praise, not only for his lucidity and praiseworthy intellectual ethos, but also for his wide-ranging sociological and philosophical learning. Such was not Kondylis's view of Carl Schmitt. Kondylis made clear that Schmitt's view of the relation friend-foe was too narrowly focussed on the political as encompassing social ontology. Conversely, because the relation friend-foe is a dimension of social ontology, it cannot be used, with its differential meaning, as a criterion for the definition of the political. The field of social ontology, i.e. social reality taken as a whole, consists of social relations; however, these relations are not all public and political, but also private and as such politically indifferent. The relation friend-foe characterises social relations as a whole and not just political relations. Political relations are social relations, but not all social relations are political. Kondylis felt he personally had nothing to learn from Schmitt, but had familiarised himself with theory on friendship and enmity existing in society in general, and more narrowly, in politics, by reading Thucydides, Machiavelli and Max Weber. Moreover, Kondylis's "descriptive decisionism" in Power and Decision was at odds with what Kondylis called Schmitt's "militant decisionism", also prominent in existentialist philosophy and theology between the two world wars.
Despite existentialism's polemic against liberal-Kantian ethicism, it essentially theorised the decision ethically-normatively by proclaiming it as a "pure" expression of "pure" existence as opposed to the "automatisms" of the "impure" anonymous masses or of the alienated person. The error of militant decisionism is in its separation of social and political subjects into those who take decisions and those who do not (when in fact everyone takes a decision or partakes of a decision in subscribing to some kind of world-view). From the point of view of politics, the liberals defended against the "decision", the allegedly perpetually self-producing determinism of the "social-welfare state", in the context of their polemic against the arbitrariness of the monarch, or later, against the explosions of revolutionary volition; and the enemies of liberalism recruited the "decision" and the "exception" against the self-understanding of liberalism. Kondylis also highlighted not only that the concepts of friend and foe existed for centuries in European theory, but also that the notion of the decision was introduced by Kierkegaard into modern philosophy and embraced by e.g. Jaspers and Karl Barth, who were by no means friends of national socialism. In a nutshell, Kondylis was neither a friend nor a foe of Schmitt and his political romanticism.
Enmity and friendship
According to Kondylis, enmity is simply the opposite of friendship from an ethical and normative perspective. On the other hand, from the point of view of descriptive history and sociology in describing conflict in dynamic historical processes, enmity and friendship are both phenomena that necessarily exist in parallel to one another and are mutually determined. Whenever the intensity of enmity rises, so does the intensity of friendship, and vice versa. Whoever combats others pursuing public goals (e.g. political goals or intellectual goals in seeking a change in general ways of thinking and behaviour), will end up in a psychiatric hospital if he remains forever alone shouting – if he does not find (political) friends who he can mobilise in support of his goals. Only if one has a multitude of friends does society as a whole take him seriously. The proclamation of war against one side means eo ipso the formation of another side, i.e. of an association of friends. It has been observed long ago that the sense of community is strengthened in times of war against another community. The co-existence and manifold commixture of enmity and friendship structurally correlates to the Janus Face of human nature which has been noted by great political thinkers such as Machiavelli, Hobbes and Clausewitz. In relation to social cohabitation in general, what the above means is that a society of humans cannot live permanently in a state of war without breaking up, while at the same time it cannot but endlessly give birth to conflict (bloody or not). Friendship and peace just as much belong to the situation humaine as enmity and war. This observation does not constitute an article of faith, but a commonplace truth which one can learn by reading the newspapers each morning. Whoever cannot comprehend or digest this truth is perhaps a great prophet or a great philosopher or social theorist – but he is unsuitable as an analyst of human affairs.
The fall of Communism, history and ideology
Kondylis kept equal distance from all partisan politics. He had nothing but scorn for American triumphalism after the fall of communism as expressed by apologists for America such as Fukuyama. In Kondylis's opinion, not only was History alive and well and waiting "around the corner" for anyone who e.g. might think American free-market and human rights ideology will forever rule, but that intellectuals will continue, as they have always done, their apologetic and polemical activity. The fall of communism simply signified an end of an historical era, and the fact that the three great political-ideological currents of that era had run dry: conservatism, liberalism and socialism (social democracy). These ideologies had gradually lost their social conveyors and their social references so that their use became arbitrary and even interchangeable. In the new mass-democratic planetary epoch the question of distribution is not put between compactly constituted social classes in the context of separate nations and still abundant natural resources. After the fall of communism, the motive forces of planetary politics come to the surface after decades of often undetected accumulation in the tumultuous political history of the 20th century. A terrible intensity is now being created from the gigantic expansion of mass-democratic expectations on a global scale, while in parallel the planet is becoming smaller owing to the population explosion and the evolving scarcity of ecological and other goods. One must expect violent competition and conflict (including the rise of Middle Powers acting on the periphery either of their own volition or in collaboration with, and as surrogates of, a Planetary Power, e.g. Turkey), and amid it all, the greatest danger will possibly not be war but a perpetual situation of unbridled anomy. It cannot be discounted that politics, which has already taken on an economic character (rather than being simply a question of who will, and how to, rule, i.e. dominated by "right-wing" or "centre" or "left-wing" political ideology), in the future will acquire a biological character, in the event that such politics was forced to shrink to the point of distributing vital goods such as food, water and/or air, while eight or ten billion people maniacally seek to consume as many raw materials, as much energy and as many goods as a North-American or European. In that case there would be little room for ideological activity (as can be seen with "economic refugees"). However, if in more bearable circumstances, new ideologies are formed, their form and content will be determined by the character of the subjects and alliances of planetary politics: e.g. will they be nations, civilisations, races? What is certain is that there will always be intellectuals who will offer their services to a "just cause" competing against other "just causes" in producing ideology and slogans that can be used in practice.
Politics and the rise of mass democracy
While political history was left out of The Decline of Bourgeois Thought- and Life- Forms for technical reasons of presentation, Kondylis emphasised that political history does not simply constitute the surface of the total historical spectrum and consequently it cannot simply be discarded and substituted with another political history, but forever remains intertwined with socio-historical changes. The three great political movements of the 20th century, i.e. communism, national socialism or fascism, and liberalism reinterpreted as an equalising force in the sense of the "social-welfare state", ALL promoted, notwithstanding considerable differences in degree and pace, rationale and purposefulness and practical pressures, mass-democratic trends; indeed they all set aside traditional (patriarchal or bourgeois) hierarchies and connected the ideal of formal equality with the idea of material rights. Uprooting and displacement of peoples; the breaking-up of village communities and rural patriarchal clans; the equality of women; even policing, persecution and terrorism; as well as massification (e.g. the integration of individuals into mass economic, professional and political organisations) – in whichever manner they occurred and regardless of the degree of gruesomeness – fostered the levelling and fragmentation of society into individuals. From the point of view of the overall historical result, the question of political freedom as it is understood in the West had a subordinate meaning, notwithstanding being at the epicentre of ethical problems and ideological contests (interestingly, the Stalinist scheme of Five Stages of Development of all peoples ends at what "capitalist" globalisation wants (as ideology) to bring about – the equalisation of all nations (western or not) as regards their basic socio-economic structuring). While no national politics can be deduced wholly and unmediatedly from the motive forces of world history, by the same token, given the degree of density of planetary politics in the 20th century and beyond, no political history can skate over or circumvent universal social trends.
Power and law, self-preservation and reason
Kondylis was adamant that there could not be any clear contradistinction between "reason" or "law", and, "power" or "self-preservation", in political activity ("politics" being defined in the Aristotelian sense of the social whole formed from the multitude of social relations in any society). In other words, these concepts were always intertwined (albeit to varying degrees). Stable peace is always the product of a commonality of interests, and not of Reason or Law per se. It would seem that the greater the intensity in invoking Reason or Law (or e.g. "human rights"), the greater the sharpening of controversies over practical matters and all the more are conflicts of distribution intensified. While the great majority of people, who are today guided by the mass media as they were once guided by preachers at the pulpit, think in terms of intellectual categories of dominant ideologies as being self-evident, planetary politics after the Cold War is unfolding in such a manner that the dissemination of human rights and their application over and above state sovereignty is strengthening the worldwide trend towards anomy. Of course, the garrulous and lachrymose pseudo-humanism that characterises public discourse in the West does not mean any tangible disposition for drastic worldwide redistribution of material prosperity. On the other hand, the extremely dangerous paradox of the planetary situation means that even "just"" solutions such as self-denial without historical precedent would not offer a long-term way out. If the wealth e.g. of 800 million is divided among six billion, everyone will simply become a brother in poverty – conversely: if a Chinese, Indian and African were to consume per capita as much raw material and as much energy as a North American, that could entail ecological collapse. Worldwide material expectations are now being orientated toward the Western mass-democratic model without satisfactory material preconditions in place to satisfy such expectations. How can there be any hope that in our times the ideals of Reason and ethics in their "human rights" guise can be realised? Such notions are simply our ideology today. In other times, one would fervently call upon God and his Will. However, was that ever adequate for the commandment of Love to become the standard for human action?
Marx, utopia and Weber
According to Kondylis, what distinguishes the Marxist view of history from the observation of history from the political standpoint is that the former delineates an ethically loaded ending with history's direct conveyor being the economy, while the latter shows the recycling of similar mechanisms (but not necessarily occurrences) without ultimate ethical or other meaning and without scientifically verifiable permanent priority of economic, ideological, racial and ethnic or any other factor. The eschatological side of Marxism, with its lineal conceptualisation of historical becoming, no matter what "scientific" arguments were put forward by Marxists, has more to do with the Judeo-Christian or liberal free-market and Rights of Man or human rights world-views than with science. In the case of Marxism, it is plain to see that there is no happy end in History (i.e. a classless society, based on the necessity of the development of the productive forces and of the necessity of adapting productive relations to the productive forces, independent of the volition and individual ethics of people). However, the fact that history remains open as to its possible outcomes does not mean a denial of the science of history and human affairs or the denial of causation. Simply put, causation in history occurs on a case by case basis, whereas any overarching determinism subjugating all cases to one and only teleologically articulated chain is like a fairy-tale, and definitely is not science. The economy can be an extremely important part of the transformative factors in social life, but is always subject to the general logic and general morphology of social relations, i.e. relations among human existences who live socially. Such human relations and the forces that comprise and maintain societies are the subject matter of social ontology, which is the deepest and ultimate level of analysis.
Another aspect of Marxism, of course, was the way tens of millions of people, most of whom had the most ethical of intentions and who most often showed incomparable self-sacrifice in fighting for the institution of Utopia, had as the results of their collective efforts, the exact opposite of their proclaimed goals (e.g. the domination of man by man, the logic of power in its bloodless or bloody unfolding). This apparent paradox fits within the unintended consequences of collective action in history, which does not only apply to Marxism. Kondylis was fond of saying that there was no point for him in substituting the heroin of Marxism with the heroin of liberalism, or ethicism or Christianity etc. as so many did after the Cold War. "When I ceased using drugs, I did so radically and conclusively". On the other hand, Kondylis also singled out Marx (like Weber did beforehand) as a great thinker in showing how philosophy, anthropology, economy, history, politics, etc. comprise in essence the one and the same thing, as well as a unified knowledge, at whose centre one is inevitably led no matter at which point of the periphery one sets out. Marx was a great theoretician only because he was, and only for as long as he was, a great historian. To the extent he stops being an historian and becomes an eschatologist of history and a theologian, a chasm is opened up in his thought that often does not leave intact individual analyses. Marx, though, quite correctly pinpointed the fact that the level and character of the relationship between man as natural being and the rest of nature significantly influences the manner of composition and structure of human society; and that human relations, which crystallise in social composition, are comprehended and consolidated or modified on the part of acting subjects through ideologies, i.e. they are echoed in a "false consciousness", which simultaneously satisfies ethical-normative and polemical needs.
In any event, the study of Marx was important to Kondylis for three principal reasons. First, the noting of the manifold correlations between scientific analysis and ethically inspired eschatology brought to the fore the question of structure and the metamorphoses of the age-old osmosis of Is with Ought, through which humans have always tried to convert by default their desires into realities. Second, the great discovery of Marx, which can be summarised in the concept of "ideology", raised the question, as Karl Mannheim saw, of applying the concept of ideology to Marxism itself. Third, the dogmatic primacy of the economic factor in the construct of historical materialism was contradicted by the potency and autonomy of the political factor as evinced by a historical analysis of various situations and epochs. The examination of the political factor helps us arrive at a knowledge of certain constants which unfold in the field of social ontology and anthropology. Kondylis acknowledged the debt he owed to the study of Thucydides, Machiavelli, Aron and to a long-standing engagement in the study of European social and political-military history in arriving at such knowledge. On the other hand, the conceptual tools that are demanded by the epistemologically sufficient understanding of the relation between Is and Ought or of the methodological bases of social science become acute in the critical juxtaposition between Kant and Weber. Yet for Kondylis, Weber in particular is above all a noble example of intellectual ethos, founded on a passion for truth even when the price to be paid is psychologically heavy – cutting all ties with hopes feeding on illusions.
Schmitt and Marxism; theology and economic activity
The structural correspondence between theological and political concepts was not a daring discovery of Schmitt. In any event, Schmitt himself expressly and analytically referred to counter-revolutionary theorists of the 18th and 19th centuries, especially to Bonald and Cortés, who had most adequately pointed out the parallelisms of the conceptual structure, but also the political osmoses, between autocracy and theism, liberalism and deism, democracy and pantheism or atheism. The Marxist analysis of social ideologies made contiguous findings, showing in various historical examples that societies depict the world of the gods in proportion to the hierarchisation of social relations or at any rate in such a manner that the perception of the Thither ontologically and ethically legitimises whatever occurs in the Hither. Of course, Schmitt and his counter-revolutionary inspirers give the theological level precedency, i.e. they draw political decisions from theological ones (whereas Marxist analysis methodises inversely by privileging secularised ideological schemes), because they are concerned more generally to hold the cachet of theology high, in order to use it against bourgeois-liberal rationalism. As is known, not only during the 19th, but also during the 20th century, bourgeois liberalism or its mass-democratic transformation were attacked both from the "left" and the "right", and one part of its "right-wing" enemies hauled its ideological weapons from the pre-bourgeois past, merging nevertheless the theological motives with aesthetical motives and hence modernising them, whereas another part had recourse to a renewal of paganistic myths (national socialism, fascism).
The structural correspondence of theological and secularised or temporal concepts is the result of the common subordination of both to superordinate thought-structures endogenous to anthropological and cultural constants; the distinction between Thither and Hither is given as conceptual structure already in the belief in the meaning of life, whatever its theological or non-theological rationalisation. Contemporary world social reality, whereby the funnel of mass democracy has leveled every other hierarchy apart from that of wealth, is projected as an equally level world-image whereby the cosmic correspondences of horizontal and vertical mobility prevail, indeed, the continual births and catalysis of miscellaneous combinations prevail; that is why today theories regarding "chaos" are so popular – and so matter-of-course. While it is possible that very different theological traditions might converge under the pressure of mass-democratic conditions at a global level through the influence of contemporary science and technique, the fact that the globalism of mass democracy will not at all bring about the worldwide harmony of ideas and interests means that particular theological traditions shall survive in cultural formations as ideological weapons in the great contest regarding the distribution of the planet's resources, which will define the 21st century. Such formations will not "reflect" a social hierarchy as in the case when once the heavenly hierarchy "reflected" the earthly hierarchy, but they will take on vital functions in the friendly or inimical face-off of collective subjects (e.g. the survival and transformation of Byzantine theology in present-day modern Greece fulfills both internally and externally essentially different functions compared to one thousand years ago). In respect of the theological presuppositions of economic activity, which are facilitated with the formation of a certain ethic as a motive of economic subjects, which was Max Weber's great topic of enquiry, Kondylis always had firm doubts in respect of the causal relation which Weber wanted to see between theology and economy. If such a relation existed, it only did so in certain cradles of birth of capitalism, certainly not in all such cradles and definitely not always in strict form. Yet the birth of capitalism is different to its adoption and spreading, whereby the latter can occur based on various theological traditions if the socio-economic (including rapid population growth) and political pressures are sufficiently intense.
Europe at the crossroads
In his four extensive books (The European Enlightenment, Conservatism, Modern-era Criticism of Metaphysics, The Decline of Bourgeois Thought- and Life- Forms), Kondylis sought to locate the world-theoretical axes which impart on the European Modern Era their specific unity in light of today's planetary developments. In these four books, the whole epoch is recreated in a range of perspectives, whereas the history of ideas, but also social history, is constructed as a history of problems, so that the analysis can simultaneously move at various levels restoring these problems' unity. Seeing that at the end of the 20th century human domination over Nature does not stop even in the face of the manipulation of biological matter of living beings, the impression is plausible that the European Modern Era first of all means a radical re-positioning of man vis-à-vis his natural environment, a historisation of this environment in the sense of its progressive interweaving with the historical activity of man. Of course, abstractions and commonplace observations must be derived from more specific findings at different levels of study and classifications, which inevitably do not precisely reflect the fact that historical movement in reality occurs at all the levels simultaneously. In any event, it can be said that the primacy of vita activa over vita speculativa (practical life over theoretical life; hitherto abusive labour over noble leisure in specifying the repositioning vis-à-vis Nature), both in cosmology and politics, radically overturned ancient and Christian perceptions. In cosmology, the aforementioned primacy meant the superiority of motion over stasis, i.e. the replacement of the closed hierarchical world with the open and level universe; and in politics it meant that people are not as a matter of fate tied to a god-given or natural hierarchical order, but are able to construct a community equally open and level as the new universe. The tool for this construction was initially the modern sovereign state with its general and equal legislation, and later it was the grand plan of Utopia. Nevertheless, state, Utopia, the primacy of active life and a technical perspective of things are closely connected. And in politics, just as in social labour, technique predominates over nature, again overturning ancient and Christian classifications. Yet historical development as reality was never that unified and lineal. The Modern Era had from the outset other sides, which were in fact deeply contradictory. Against the ancient-Christian perception of the ontological inferiority of the perceptible world vis-à-vis the sphere of the transcendental spirit, the Modern Era ontologically re-valued material Nature, attaching to it the features which in the opposing perception was possessed by the spirit – logical and rationally understood structuring, i.e. determinism. Man could behave like God opposite deterministic Nature (and in this sense anthropology displaces theology from the summit of theoretical interests), i.e. Man could, due to knowledge of Nature's laws, manipulate Nature as a technician inspired by the primacy of active life. On the other hand, this same Man, as a natural being, was subjugated to natural determinism and could not exclude himself from Nature without placing in danger the whole ontological re-valuation of Nature, which the Modern Era urgently needed both world-theoretically and practically-technically. From Man wholly subjugated to natural determinism, one cannot expect free volition and ethical deeds stricto sensu. The Modern Era develops various argumentative strategems to overcome the contradiction between causal and normative contemplation, which afflicts the Modern Era even from the 16th century and is exacerbated precisely during the epoch of the Enlightenment resulting in the appearance of extreme nihilistic trends. The crisis in values intensifies exactly to the extent, based on the aforementioned world-theoretical displacements, dominance over Nature is extended. In the transition from the liberalism of the 19th century to 20th century mass democracy, western societies prevaricate away from the tug of war as follows: mass democracy relies on mass production and mass consumption, indeed, domination over Nature has reached a point whereby an unprecedented in human history overcoming of the lack of goods has been secured. This overcoming blunts the problem of distribution in its old elemental sense and correspondingly permits a most significant slackening in the realm of values, where in fact pluralism constitutes a stance which directly assists the consumerist appetite of masses and correlates, at the ideal level, with the diversity of supply at the material level; consumption becomes a value and values become consumer goods. However, such an ending of the European Modern Era does not mean the discovery of a conclusive equalibrium. While mass democracy becomes a planetary social formation, uprooting traditional hierarchies even in the non-Western regions and converting billions of people into impatient consumers, the problem of distribution is widened and sharpened in circumstances of a serious demographic and ecological encumberance on the planet. The planetary expansion of mass democracy means of course further expansion of the pantheon or rather the pandemonium of values, but at the same time the conflicts of distribution impose recourse to symbolic weapons, i.e. the limiting of value pluralism. World pluralism is only guaranteed by world felicity (pluralism is the ideology of satiated felicity – the hungry do not respect the values of the satiated), but this, on a sufficient scale, is an impossibility . The 21st century shall be a century of clashes between planetary Titans and Giants. Thus, whether European values will be absorbed by worldwide pluralism or a new scarcity of goods shall reverse pluralism, the European Modern Era belongs to the past. The liberal and European epoch is different to the mass-democratic and planetary age. Some[who?] believe that the planetary dissemination of Western technique will bring about the imposition of Western values and attitudes to life. However, modern technique is world-theoretically colour-blind and, when it becomes a self-evident common denominator as the plough once was, we shall see it – we can now see it – combined with the most different world-theoretical and value positionings. Others again believe that the initial humanitarian plan of the European Modern Era is still uncompleted and can be completed today on a planetary scale cleansed by the mistakes or the arrogance of the (colonial) past. They remind us of the educated idolaters of the 3rd and 4th centuries, who believed that, in relieving paganism of its childhood illnesses and naiveties, they would render it a viable ideological basis of a radically different world.
Social ontology, sociology and history
Social ontology is firstly co-composed by a theory regarding the spectrum and mechanism of social relations between humans; secondly, by a theory about those particular (political) relations which constitute and retain society as a hyper-personal entity, and finally, by an anthropology and philosophy of civilisation as the characteristic nature of man. Patently, the object of social ontology does not consist of fixed entities, which somehow exist behind historical and social phenomena directing and subjugating them to any form of determinism. On the contrary, it consists of those factors and forces which hold life of socially living humans in continuous motion and precisely because of that they render the predominance of each individual "determinism" and causation relative and transient. In other words, social ontology does not provide a highest pragmatological or normative criterion in observing human society and history, but provides that fundamental analysis from which it stems, because the finding of such a criterion is impossible. Social ontology describes fields and frameworks, in which all the elements which co-compose its object move, but it cannot determine from the beginning in which direction and in which manner they shall move. Precisely this imparts upon social ontology more generality than the social sciences, which seek typologies and causalities. A fairly crude example would be that social ontology ascertains that man can, as a friend, sacrifice himself for other humans or, as an enemy, can kill them, and the task of social ontology is to render understood such a plasticity which permits movement between radically opposite poles. The task of sociology is to find in which circumstances and which typical forms one or the other occurs, e.g. when one might expect peace between humans and when war, whereas the task of history is to seek the causes to which an or b specific peace or an or b specific war is owed. In any event, the best theoretical generalisation is that which, based on its own presuppositions, refers us to empirical research and to the analysis of specific situations. On the other hand, the internal logic of the understanding of specific situations requires these specific situations to be integrated into continually broader correlations until we reach the level of all levels, i.e. for want of a better term, what can be called "human affairs". Social ontology not only ought to co-operate most closely with the social sciences, but also be itself multi-dimensional. The observation of human affairs is indeed a multi-dimensional and multi-prismatic matter. Of course, the outline above remains open to misunderstanding without reference to the thousands of pages written by Kondylis. The key is to think historically – the answers to historical problems are not to be found in a constructed theory, but on the contrary, the answers to theoretical problems are to be found in history. Those who select theory over history do not do so because they move in higher spheres, as they often think they do, but because of intellectual indolence; at the end of the day, any theory is infinitely more simple than any historical situation. The production of ahistorical theory and theory ignorant of history is deep down an easy matter, and that is why so many, famous and unknown, indulge in it, wanting to believe that the substitution of an arbitrary concept with another arbitrary concept or with a new combination of concepts is a significant contribution to thought. All of that comprises symptoms of a permanent intellectual adolescence. The intellect reaches a maturity when it is in a position to give a specific analysis of a specific situation. Only the clueless will call that narrow-mindedness and empiricism. It is exactly the specific analysis of specific situations which shows the true texture and usefulness of conceptual and methodological tools.
Rationalism, irrationalism, methodology and value-neutrality
Kondylis held that science beyond rationalism is an impossibility and that a conception of Ought i.e. the founding of values, within scientific rationalism is also an impossibility. The rationalism of scientific knowledge and the rationalism of values are two different things. Moreover, while scientific knowledge cannot be anything but rational, the founding and defence of values is possible both with rational and irrational means (e.g. the invocation of the "ethical sense", "of compassion" etc.). Of course, scientific rationalism does not have any relation with an epistemological articulation of concepts whereby the exclusive criterion of truth is logical coherence. The latter is a self-evident postulate of scientific thought, but it only has scientific value if it "saves the phenomena", i.e. if it crystallises generalisations of empirical observations. It is a matter of indifference as to whether the generalisations are formulated with empirical observations as the starting point, or if they are pronounced hypothetically in order to be proved empirically ex post facto – in reality, both these two modi procedendi are indivisible in scientific practice, which always moves between the two poles of theoretical generalisation and empirical ascertainment, even though the history of sciences shows that there have been many attempts to (wrongly) define the correct methodology. In fact, because the possible combinations of theoretical generalisation and empirical observation are manifold, no recipe can sufficiently replace individual learning and the individual attributes of each researcher. Even if everyone accepted in abstracto the same method, the eyes of the hare would remain different to the eyes of the owl. The so-called "methodological debates" relate more to the formation of ideological factions within the community of scientists and less to the substantial progress of knowledge. The question of rationalism and irrationalism is put differently when we proceed to the level of world-theoretical decisions and ethical-normative preferences. The "rationalists" by definition connect their pet ethical-normative positions with the "correct use of Reason" so that they can thereafter draw the conclusion that whoever militates against these positions does so only because he is unable to think logically. However, between form and content, i.e. between argumentation in accordance with current rules of logic and in positionings vis-à-vis questions of content, there is no necessary relation; the same form of logical argumentation regarding content can lead to entirely different conclusions when the premises are distinct. Under the controllable form of the rules of logic, rationalism is purely formal; when rationalism seeks to identify itself with ethical-normative contents, then it moves away from the realm of such control and is articulated as a world-theoretical decision in two senses: as a decision for "rationalism" and against "irrationalism", and as a decision in favour of these contents as opposed to other contents. When the "rationalists" consider the decision in favour of "rationalism" is itself eo ipso rational, they do something which we all reject as being self-evident in our everyday life: they recognise in someone, i.e. in "Reason", the right to be the judge when it itself is judged. Of course, we are dealing with a classical power claim, behind which, as is known, the related claims of each of the representatives of "Reason" are hidden. But the "irrationalists" too find themselves before insurmountable difficulties. They accept that the source of ultimate world-theoretical and ethical-normative positions is found ultra rationem, but they are not in a position to ostracise with consistency Reason, at least in the form of the use of arguments with as far as possible coherent logical structuring. Whoever cannot argue coherently and formally correctly is condemned to be a social nought, not only because he cannot campaign against "rationalism", but is not even taken into consideration. Just as the "rationalists" are unable to see the rationalism on the other side of the river, so too the "irrationalists" err when they think that "rationalism" desiccates with its abstractions the existential prerequisites of thought. The decision in favour of "rationalism" remains an existential decision, and the defence of "irrationalism" takes place with rational means. Therefore, such confrontations cannot be taken at face value. The essential questions for a lucid analysis are as follows: what is characterised in each situation as rational or irrational? What and from whom is something accepted or rejected as rational or irrational? With whose truth and power claim is that which is characterised as rational or irrational connected?
While both scientific and ethical-normative rationalism belong to rationality in general, it does not follow that because ethical values are relative (i.e. products of specific subjects in specific circumstances), such relativity leads to a type of epistemological relativism or scepticism. On this crucial point, Kondylis's positioning was at odds with the whole of philosophical tradition down to the present day, i.e. at odds with its two basic, even if contrasting, directions. Scepticism always connected, both in its ancient (Sophism, Pyrrhonism) and more modern versions, the impossibility of knowing things with the relativity and variability of good and evil, whereas Platonism and ideocratic trends generally did precisely the opposite: the steadfastness of metaphysical knowledge buttressed the certainty of the in perpetuity invariable good and evil. Hence, scepticism was always inverted Platonism and Platonism was inverted scepticism. From Kondylis's point of view, knowledge of human affairs is possible, at least to a practically sufficient degree – and it is exactly this knowledge which permits us the ascertainment that values are relative in the sense referred to above. There is no necessary logical correlation between epistemological scepticism and ethical relativism. The dictum: "I cannot know things, therefore there are no objective values" is logically flawed. From the position "I cannot know things" simply emerges the fact that "I cannot know if values are objective". Thus, I ought to know things in order to be certain that values are not objective and invariable. Of course, when we say that knowledge of human affairs is possible, we ought to distinguish different levels and to explain at which level and to what extant on each occasion is such knowledge possible: are we talking about the level of social ontology, or that of sociology, or that of history? Simply by contemplating all the sayings from different civilisations and epochs from thousands of years ago, or at least from totally different circumstances, which still ring true today with such directness, one can establish that there is a permanent human substratum, which is the object of social ontology and which constitutes the basis and guarantee of knowledge of human affairs. Obviously, in order to understand people who believed or believe in different values to us, one has to draw one's criteria from that deeper knowledge, i.e. one has to advance to a stratum deeper than each value and take, in that sense, a stance of value neutrality. Whoever says that this is impossible is simply unable to penetrate epistemologically into this deeper stratum – and furthermore is unwilling: because under the pretext of the denial of the possibility of value neutrality they simply try to enforce a knowledge saturated with their own values, i.e. with their own power claims. This is inevitable and most useful in social conflict, but from an epistemological point of view it means the abolition of any sense of science, even of the most elementary. The reason for this is that no science is possible if there is no possibility of separating, to a considerable degree, one's desires from reality. If we do not want or cannot distinguish our desires (in other words: our values) from what happens in the world, then either science has no reason to exist or it would be sufficient for someone to express his desires so that he can be automatically considered a scientist. Kondylis went on to say that he did not ignore how difficult and incomplete the attempt is to overcome personal desires for the sake of scientific knowledge. But whoever seeks the ostracising of value neutrality because it is difficult to achieve, falls into the same paralogism as if he sought the abolition of courts of law because justice is and will always be imperfect. Naturally, the knowledge of human affairs itself shows that there are organic and insurmountable reasons for which value-neutral scientific knowledge will remain a socially marginal phenomenon. Between such knowledge and life, which is formed as a contest of values, there is an unbridgeable opposition. The reason for this is as follows: people like to think (and socially bolster their position when they make others believe) that their values, i.e. the Ought which they proclaim, is not subjective and hence a relative and transient creation, but comes from the nature of things, and therefore possesses objective bindingness; the practical consequence is obvious – whoever reads the Is correctly has the right to lead the others in the name of the Ought. The interweaving of Is and Ought (as it is found in the idea of God, in the notion of Nature and of Man) always served goals of imposition and power. It is self-evident that the distinction between Is and Ought can only be made by anyone who does not seek such goals – and it is a distinction which is purely epistemological. It does not mean that the various perceptions of Ought do not stem from the empirical Is of social reality because the ascertainment of the formulation of these perceptions in certain circumstances, and, the drawing of an ethical Ought from the ontologically given ethical character of an Is, are two different things. Both the Is and the Ought have double meanings, which should not be confused. Is can mean the given empirical world without axiological determinations or an axiologically charged ultimate ontological footing of the empirical world; and Ought can mean a command independent of the ethical quality of its content or an axiologically charged rule which can in fact clash with simple authoritarian dictates (the classical clash of law and ethics, Creon and Antigone). Exactly in the same manner can the two meanings of Is clash between themselves. The axiologically charged Ought is not deduced from any kind of empirical Is, but from only an Is which is also axiologically charged. Ethical-normative thought moves at that level (regardless of whether it is theological and calls the Is "God" or atheistic and calls the Is "Reason" etc.). Conversely, the scientific distinction between Is and Ought means there cannot be an empirically given Is from which an axiologically charged Ought can be drawn.
Kondylis was adamant, however, that recourse was needed to a careful study of his works in full in order for the above outline of his thought to be properly justified argumentatively.
Human rights as ideology
||This section possibly contains original research. (January 2011)|
The proclamations of human rights from the end of the 18th century until today mark a historical turn, which in the beginning is carried out in the sphere of western civilisation. Anthropology replaces theology, the kingdom of God ends, and the kingdom of Man as creator of the historical universe begins. As Man replaces God, he necessarily takes on certain of God's traits, i.e. he is considered an absolute value-in-himself, a holy and inviolable person, a conveyor of inalienable rights. However, if Man succeeded God, the distance between ideology and reality was not reduced at all. The omnipresence of God did not at all secure the universal validity of "love one another", and the universality of "human rights" in no way equally influences the life of all humans. Just as the specific content and the specific applications of "love one another" was defined bindingly by specific sovereign subjects, so too "human rights" have their sovereign and binding interpreters. The United States, through their fleet and air force, bindingly determine "human rights" in Bosnia, but the Bosnians cannot bindingly determine "human rights", e.g. to impose the abolition of the death penalty in the United States. The United States reserve for themselves the very human right of confronting Saudi Arabia and Iran differently, despite the fact that the "human rights" situation in those two countries diverges only a little. In short: the political exploitation of "human rights", i.e. its use as a means of pressure and intervention is inevitable already because such "rights" can only be imposed by the more powerful on the weaker, whereas in the reverse situation, no institutional arrangement is possible or functional. In this way, "human rights" are converted into a political tool in a planetary situation, whose density of course renders the use of universalistic ideologies necessary, in which, however, the binding interpretation of these ideologies lies with the dispositions and interests of the more powerful nations. "Human rights" are subject to the amphoteric logic of this situation and reflect the contradictions and stresses which mark in a dramatic manner today's global society. That is why the contest for their interpretation will necessarily be converted into a contest among humans about what each human on each occasion considers his inviolable right. This contest regarding interpretation started awhile ago between "North" and "South", or, "West" and "East", and is exacerbated to the extent that the billions of the "South" or the "East" do not interpret "human rights" formally, but materially, demanding a substantial re-distribution of global wealth without being interested in the ethics of the satiated.
Kondylis goes on to say that he placed the phrase "human rights" in quotation marks because today such rights exist on paper, in the head of philosophers or on the lips of propagandists, but not in reality. There are "states governed by the rule-of-law", but there are no "human rights", if we understand the term literally. It is only permissible to consider as a human right a right which all humans enjoy only because they are humans, i.e. without the intercession of governing authorities and collective subjects (e.g. nations and states), which, from a conceptual and natural point of view, are narrower than humanity as a whole. Furthermore, a genuine human right would have to apply and be enjoyed everywhere where humans exist, i.e. everywhere where someone wants to settle down. In the final analysis, there are no human rights without unlimited freedom of movement and right of settlement and without automatic legal equalisation of all individuals with all individuals due to the universal validity of a united legislation. For as a long as e.g. an Albanian does not have exactly the same rights as an Italian or Greek in Italy or Greece, we can talk stricto sensu about political and civil, but not human, rights. The situation in today's world is clear: it is not permitted to all people, according to their sole attribute as humans, to possess all the rights (irrespective of whether they are called political or civil, or human, rights), regardless of where they are born or find themselves. Human rights, which would in reality deserve such a name, could be dispersed only by a world state, with respect to which all individuals would find themselves in a direct and equal relationship, i.e. they would directly obtain all their rights from that state as representative of the whole of humanity. Only he who represents the whole of humanity can consider each person according to his sole attribute as a human, independent of racial and ethnic predicates, and accord to him human rights. The non-existence of such rights is confirmed every day by the political, legal and policing practice of the West itself, which, circumventing the grievous logical consequences of its own propaganda, exercises "human rights" under the proviso of (national, European etc.) sovereign rights. Each sovereign authority has the right to arrest people from other countries only because thy come into, or sojourn into, its domain without permission, but does not have the right to e.g. beat them, because that authority proclaims the human right of corporeal integrity – as if the arrest itself does not constitute eo ipso the abrogation of the right of a human to do with his body as he pleases! Illegal immigrants are expelled, of course, in accordance with the (variable) orders of the "state governed by the rule-of-law", not because they are not humans, but because they are not French, Greeks, Germans etc. On this crucial point, what proves to be decisive is the criterion of nationality and not the sanctified rhetoric of "human rights". One can foresee that even this rhetoric will retreat to the extent the West ascertains its sermons will burden it with unbearable loads (and anyone saying that millions and millions of people pouring into e.g. European countries will not affect the quality of life and increase anomy[clarification needed] in such countries, is, there is no other way to put it, an imbecile[according to whom?]). It should be noted that Kondylis never advocated the creation of a world state nor did he say that the creation of one was an impossibility, nor did he contend that there should not be human rights or that they will never exist – he simply pursued the internal argument of "human rights" ideology to its logical conclusion in describing a situation of considerable importance in the Planetary Era.
Scipio Africanus the Younger; the Propagandists; Spengler
Ancient historians relate that after the destruction of Carthage, Scipio Africanus the Younger cried when he saw the end of his enemies because he remembered the Homeric verse "The day will come when holy Troy will be destroyed", and he contemplated that the same fate could befall upon Rome. Much smaller intellects and much smaller souls do exactly the opposite. Once their own political and ideological faction decisively triumphs, they rush to proclaim the end of History so that nothing can ever negate that victory. Or they do something practically equivalent: they paint an historical future such that, as it ought to be formed, the way in which the victor likes to understand himself and his activity in reality coincides with the objectively given course of History. What is really interesting is that the supporters of the temporarily victorious capitalist liberalism start from about the same philosophy of history as the erstwhile Marxists: they talk as if history is traversing, albeit with temporary divergences, a lineal trajectory, at the end of which a united and peaceful world will be found. Moreover, just like the Marxists, they believe that the economic factors, i.e. the development of the productive forces and the interweaving of economies constitute the motive forces of historical progress, which will substitute war with trade (which is something that was first postulated more than two centuries ago – and we all know what has happened since then!). Just like the Marxists have experienced the shipwreck of their Utopia, so too the liberals will find themselves soon among the ruins of their Utopia, which the ferocious contests of distribution of the 21st century will bring crushing down. Whoever contends that History has ended might as well be certain that History awaits them around the next corner. And the large number of intellectuals, who rushed to convert from fellow-travellers or propagandists of Sovietism to fellow-travellers and criers of Americanism, troubled themselves unjustifiably. If Fukuyama gave, even in shallow form, the unction of the philosophy of history to universalistic Americanism, Huntington provided more practical services and outlooks to American imperialist ambitions. If History does not end, but continues as a clash of civilisations (a phrase borrowed from Bernard Lewis), and if the European and American West have by definition common imperatives in this clash, then it is patently clear the United States, as the most powerful nation of the West, has to permanently lead the protection of the West against the Muslim and Confucian masses. Of course, present-day Europe (the term is used as a convention because in reality there is no such political entity), from a political-military point of view roughly constitutes an American protectorate and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Huntington's thought has, in that perspective, a real footing, but its more general historical and sociological founding is stale. If Europe and the United States move together during the 21st century, the reason will not be the cultural commonality, but the unity of their interests, as is determined in each circumstance by geopolitics, strategy and the economy. Never in history have cultural factors stood as determinitive in seeking alliances, even if alliances between culturally kindred entities are often rationalised accordingly ex post facto, so that high motives can be accorded to them. But it is absurd to imagine that Japan will choose between the United States and China based on the criterion of cultural kinship, whereby it would probably become a territory of an all-powerful future China, and not based on strategic criteria, which would give it room for greater independence under more tolerant American cover. It is also absurd for one to believe that Arab emirs will prefer the rule of the Islamists to the alliance with the "unbelieving Americans, or that a Russia totally disenchanted with the West and unable to react otherwise, could not, obstructed by cultural differences, fall into the lap of China, forming with her a puissant Eurasian block. In any event, it is not possible for all civilisations to fight all civilisations continuously. The correlation of forces imposes combinations and alliances – but what cultural criteria could predominate in the formation of alliances between civilisations? What cultural logic does Islam impose in order to approach the Chinese more and turn against the West? Huntington zig-zags around these fundamental questions, nor does he seek the guiding lights of historical experiences because his intention is less theoretical and more strategic – meaning strategic from the American perspective.
On the other hand, Spengler was correct to the extent he restated the commonplace notion that all civilisations live, develop and decline, and made many enlightening observations in the process, but his reasoning for his rise-and-decline theory is not borne out by specific historical analyses. For example, the historical fate and present-day situation in Europe cannot be described by the deductive method, which has as a starting point a predetermined scheme and endogenous procedures as its exclusive connecting thread. On the contrary, it would appear that the European Modern Era has come full circle as Europe lost its global sovereignty, which it possessed from the epoch of discovery. In other words: as the incipience of the Modern Era roughly falls at the incipience of the global sovereignty of Europe, thus the end of the Modern Era coincides with the end of this rule. The Modern Era was not just a European phenomenon, but had Eurocentric content, both world-theoretically, as well as economically-politically. The outflanking of the European dimension by the planetary dimension, and of bourgeois liberalism by mass democracy (as the first genuine planetary social formation) went with the decomposition of the specifically distinct content, the specifically distinct bio-theory and bio-practice of the European Modern Era. After 1945 the whole of Europe found itself under dual occupation, American and Soviet (and incidentally Soviet victory in World War Two was only possible by the planned rapid industrialisation of the 1930s in developing the means to defeat the Third Reich – notwithstanding the awful atrocities committed against Soviet peoples in the process). And the process of unifying Europe, as incomplete as it is or will remain, was not inaugurated because the European peoples, taught by a bloody past, decided to become brothers, but it was precisely the consequence of the world-historical demotion of Europe. For as long as Europe ruled the world with her colonial Empires, European competition was intense because the sovereign in Europe would be the sovereign of the world. The loss of global sovereignty nullified the world-historical meaning of intra-European competition and hence its intensity fell perpendicularly, indeed, under American hegemony. Of course, there is not just a political side to all this. Another significant question is to what extent and in which form will elements of Modern Era European civilisation survive or whether contemporary technique can go with other, very different cultural stances. There is no easy answer – especially when on a densely populated planet, the separate greenhouses, in which past civilisations developed at relatively slow rates, have vanished.
Books and articles
- Die Entstehung der Dialektik. Eine Analyse der geistigen Entwicklung von Hölderlin, Schelling und Hegel bis 1802. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1979. 729 S. ISBN 3-12-911970-1 (The Coming into Being of Dialectics).
- Die Aufklärung im Rahmen des neuzeitlichen Rationalismus. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1981. 725 S. ISBN 3-12-915430-2 (The Enlightenment within the Framework of Modern Rationalism). [Greek edition: Athens, Θεμέλιο, 1987; 1993 (2nd edition)]
- Macht und Entscheidung. Die Herausbildung der Weltbilder und die Wertfrage. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1984. 129 S. ISBN 3-608-91113-8 (Power and Decision – The Formation of World Images and the Question (Problem) of Values). [Greek edition: in Ισχύς και απόφαση – Η διαμόρφωση των κοσμοεικόνων και το πρόβλημα των αξιών. Athens, Στιγμή, 1991]
- "Reaktion, Restauration", and, "Würde", in: Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe, Historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland, hsg. v. Otto Brunner, Werner Conze, Reinhart Koselleck, Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1984, 1992. [Greek editions: Athens, Ίνδικτος, 2001; 2002. Translated by Λευτέρης Αναγνώστου.]
- Konservativismus. Geschichtlicher Gehalt und Untergang. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1986. 553 S. ISBN 3-608-91428-5 (Conservatism. Historical Content and Decline).
- Marx und die griechische Antike. Heidelberg: Manutius-Verlag 1987, ISBN 3-925678-06-9. [Greek edition: in Ο Μάρξ και η αρχαία Ελλάδα. Athens, Στιγμή, 1984]
- Theorie des Krieges. Clausewitz – Marx – Engels – Lenin. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1988. 328 S. ISBN 3-608-91475-7 (Theory of War). [Greek edition: in Θεωρία του πολέμου. Athens: Θεμέλιο, 1997; 1998 (2nd edition)]
- Die neuzeitliche Metaphysikkritik. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1990. 614 S. ISBN 3-608-91330-0 (Modern-era Critique of Metaphysics). [Greek edition: Athens, Γνώση, 1983; second Greek edition (including Chapter 4): Herakleion & Athens, ΠΕΚ, 2012]
- "Nachwort", in: K. Vorländer, Geschichte der Philosophie, b. 3 (Neuzeit bis Kant), Hamburg 1990, 328–345.
- Der Niedergang der bürgerlichen Denk- und Lebensformen. Die liberale Moderne und die massendemokratische Postmoderne. Weinheim: VCH-Verlagsgesellschaft, 1991 ISBN 3-527-17773-6 (The Decline of Bourgeois Thought- and Life- Forms. The Liberal Modern and the mass-democratic Post-modern). [Greek edition: Athens, Θεμέλιο, 1991]
- "Einleitung", in: P. Kondylis (Hg.), Der Philosoph und die Lust. Frankfurt: Keip Verlag 1991, 11–34. ISBN 3-8051-0510-X. [Greek edition: in Η Ηδονή, η Ισχύς, η Ουτοπία. Athens: Στιγμή, 1992]
- "Utopie und geschichtliches Handeln", in: Politische Lageanalyse, Festschrift für Hans-Joachim Arndt zum 70. Geburtstag, hg. v. Volker Beismann und Markus Josef Klein. Bruchsal: San Casciano Verlag 1993, 163–175. [Greek edition: in Η Ηδονή, η Ισχύς, η Ουτοπία. Athens: Στιγμή, 1992]
- Planetarische Politik nach dem kalten Krieg. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag 1992 ISBN 3-05-002363-5 (Planetary Politics after the Cold War). [Greek edition: in Πλανητική πολιτική μετά τον Ψυχρό Πόλεμο. Athens: Θεμέλιο, 1992.Η Ελληνική εκδοση έχει και ένα επιπλέον κεφάλαιο που αναγγέλει την Ελληνική χρεωκοπία ]
- "Einleitung", in: P. Kondylis (Hg.), Der Philosoph und die Macht. Hamburg: Junius Verlag 1992, 9–36. ISBN 3-88506-201-1. [Greek edition: in Η Ηδονή, η Ισχύς, η Ουτοπία. Athens: Στιγμή, 1992]
- "Der deutsche "Sonderweg" und die deutschen Perspektiven", Westbindung, Chancen and Risiken für Deutschland, hg. v. R. Zitelmman-K. Weissmann-M. Grossheim, Berlin 1993, 21–37.
- "Marxismus, Kommunismus und die Geschichte des 20. Jh.s", H. Fleischer (Hg.), Der Marxismus in seinem Zeitalter, Leipzig 1994, 14–36.
- "Montesquieu: Naturrecht und Gesetz", Der Staat 33 (1994), 351–372.
- "Nur Intellektuelle behaupten, dass Intellektuelle die Welt besser verstehen als alle anderen." Interview von Marin Terpstra mit Panajotis Kondylis. In: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, 42,4 (1994), 683–694.
- "Wissenschaft, Macht und Entscheidung", H. Stachowiak (Hg.), Pragmatik. Handbuch pragmatischen Denkens, b. V, Hamburg 1995, 81–101.
- "Jurisprudenz, Ausnahmezustand und Entscheidung", Der Staat 34 (1995), 325–356.
- "Universalismus, Relativismus und Toleranz in der westlichen Massendemokratie", Dialektik 1996 (3), 11–21.
- Montesquieu und der Geist der Gesetze. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag 1996 ISBN 3-05-002983-8 (Montesquieu and the Spirit of the Laws).
- "Melancholie und Polemik", L. Heidbrink (Hg.), Entzauberte Zeit, München 1997, 281–299.
- Das Politische und der Mensch Grundzüge der Sozialontologie Band 1: Soziale Beziehung, Verstehen, Rationalität. Aus dem Nachlass hg. von Falk Horst. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag 1999 ISBN 3-05-003113-1 (The Political and Man – from the unpublished (at death) manuscript of Panagiotis Kondylis). [Greek edition: Athens: Θεμέλιο, 2007. Translated by Λευτέρης Αναγνώστου.]
- Das Politische im 20. Jahrhundert. Von den Utopien zur Globalisierung. Heidelberg: Manutius-Verlag 2001 (Sammlung von 19 Artikeln aus den 1990er Jahren) ISBN 3-934877-07-9 (The Political in the 20th century – a compilation of 19 articles from the 1990s.). [Greek edition: Athens: Θεμέλιο, 1998]
- Machtfragen. Ausgewählte Beiträge zu Politik und Gesellschaft. Darmstadt: WBG 2006 (enth. Nachdruck von Macht und Entscheidung, von 6 thematisch zugehörigen Artikeln und dem Interview mit Marin Terpstra) ISBN 978-3-534-19863-4 (Questions of Power – Reprint of Power and Decision. Also includes six related articles and an interview with Marin Terpstra.)
- Machiavelli. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-05-004046-2. [Greek edition: Athens, 1971/72]
- Books and articles published only in Greek
- Η Ελλάδα, η Τουρκία και το Ανατολικό Ζήτημα. Athens: Γνώση, 1985 (Greece, Turkey and the Eastern Question).
- Ο Νεοελληνικός Διαφωτισμός. Οι φιλοσοφικές ιδέες. Athens: Θεμέλιο, 1988 (The modern Greek Enlightenment. The philosophical ideas.).
- To Αόρατο Χρονολόγιο της Σκέψης. Athens: Νεφέλη, 1998 (The Invisible Chronology of Thought. – three interviews with Panagiotis Kondylis.)
- Μελαγχολία και Πολεμική. Athens: Θεμέλιο, 2002 (Melancholy and Polemics. – a series of articles by Kondylis, published posthumously.)
- «Ταυτότητα, Ισχύς, Πολιτισμός», στο Ευ. Γκανάς (Επιμ.), Νέα Εστία, τ. 156ος, Αθήνα, Ιούλιος-Αύγουστος 2004, σσ. 6–19 ("Identity, Power, Civilisation" – 50 "notes" from the incomplete and unpublished third volume of The Political and Man).
- «ΔΙΑΦΟΡΑ ΤΗΣ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΙΤΕΙΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΕΠΙΚΟΥΡΕΙΑΣ ΦΥΣΙΚΗΣ ΦΙΛΟΣΟΦΙΑΣ, ΔΙΔΑΚΤΟΡΙΚΗ ΔΙΑΤΡΙΒΗ του Karl Marx, Εκδόσεις Γνώση, out of print, μετάφραση του: "Differenz der Epikureischen von der Demokritischen Naturphilosophie", Dissertation von Karl Marx, Jena 1841.
- English translations
- English translations of Macht und Entscheidung (Power and Decision) and Planetarische Politik nach dem kalten Krieg (Planetary Politics after the Cold War) and of excerpts from other writings by Kondylis have hitherto only been produced by C. F. (see link below "Panagiotis Kondylis website (English)").
Notes and references
- During his lifetime he refused to publish any of his photographs. When asked for a photograph for a German academic yearbook, he chose to write a small note instead: "I cannot understand the relationship between a writer's appearance and the value of his theoretical work." This photograph was released publicly by his family posthumously.
- Other thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Montaigne, Hobbes, Spinoza, Montesquieu, La Mettrie, Hume, Kant, de Sade, Clausewitz, Marx, Nietzsche, Pareto, Simmel, Durkheim, Cassirer, Schmitt and Aron were among the important points of reference in his thinking, notwithstanding the significant differences he had with some of these writers.
- Manfred Lauermann: Das Ausweichen vor Spinoza ... Zugleich: Hommage à Panajotis Kondylis. In: Fünfzehnte Etappe (Bonn, Oktober 2000), p. 72, which relates that during the Greek military junta (1967–1974) Kondylis had been a member of the Greek Communist Party. Cf. Κονδύλης, Π. Το Αόρατο Χρονολόγιο της Σκέψης (ΑΧΣ), Νεφέλη, 1998, pp. 45, 51. However, in Kondylis's first known article, which most likely dates from 1964, entitled «Οι επαναστατικές ιδεολογίες και ο μαρξισμός» ("Revolutionary Ideologies and Marxism") in Μελαγχολία και Πολεμική. Athens: Θεμέλιο, 2002 (Melancholy and Polemics) Kondylis writes about the ideologisation of Marxism (as occurs with all initially revolutionary movements such as Christianity), and its distortion and conversion into a party-political and bureaucratic means of control, suggesting he had already moved away from dogmatic "faith" in communist revolution by the age of 21.
- Letter to Bernd A. Laska of 16 June 1985, in Bernd A. Laska: Panajotis Kondylis – unfreiwilliger Pate des LSR-Projekts; Cf. Interview with Rudolf Burger in: Wiener Zeitung, 1. Juni 2007.
- Kondylis, P. "Wissenschaft, Macht und Entscheidung", in H. Stachowiak (Hg.), Pragmatik. Handbuch pragmatischen Denkens, b. V, Hamburg 1995, 81–101; Kondylis, P. Das Politische und der Mensch. Soziale Beziehung, Verstehen, Rationalität. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag 1999, pp. 573–575; Κονδύλης, Π. «Ταυτότητα, Ισχύς, Πολιτισμός», στο Ευ. Γκανάς (Επιμ.), Νέα Εστία, τ. 156ος, Αθήνα, Ιούλιος-Αύγουστος 2004, σσ.6–19.
- The term De-cisio is provided by the writer in his introduction as the latin translation of Entscheidung is preferred over Decision since the Kondylis is referring to philosophical decisionism, the abstraction and re-arrangement of the external world by the subject in such a way that it appears meaningful to her/him. See "Introduction" in Panajotis Kondylis, Macht und Entscheidung, Klett-Cotta, 1981
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 10–11, 17–18, 20–21.
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 21–24.
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 66–69.
- Kondylis, P. "Nachwort", in: K. Vorländer, Geschichte der Philosophie, b. 3 (Neuzeit bis Kant), Hamburg 1990, pp. 328–345.
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 22–23, 41, 104–111.
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 26–27.
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 28–30, 44, 84–85.
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 31–33.
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 34–36.
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 45–48, 51, 90–93.
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 111–116.
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 58–63.
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 72–75, 89–90.
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 94–103.
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 116–121.
- ΑΧΣ, pp. 135–141.
- Buve, Jeroen Dominicus Josef: Macht und Sein. Metaphysik als Kritik – oder die Grenzen der Kondylischen Skepsis. Diss. Erasmus-Univ. Rotterdam. Leiden/NL 1988, 253 S. (Nachdruck Cuxhaven, Verlag Junghans, 1991.)
- Bolsinger, Eckard: Was ist Dezisionismus? Rekonstruktion eines autonomen Typs politischer Theorie. In: Politische Vierteljahresschrift 39, 1998, 471–502. (Ein Vergleich Carl Schmitt, Hermann Lübbe und Panajotis Kondylis)
- Harth, Dietrich: Von Heidelberg nach Athen und zurück. Die philosophischen Reisewege des Panajotis Kondylis. In: IABLIS. Jahrbuch für europäische Prozesse. Nr. 1 (2002).
- Horst, Falk (Hrsg.): Panajotis Kondylis – Aufklärer ohne Mission. Aufsätze und Essays. Akademie Verlag, Berlin: 2007. ISBN 978-3-05-004316-6
- Furth, Peter: Über Massendemokratie – Ihre Lage bei Panajotis Kondylis. In: Merkur.Deutsche Zeitschrift für europäisches Denken, 63.2, Nr. 717, (2009). ISBN 978-3-608-97110-1
- Bibliography: primary and secondary (German)
- "Offizielle Homepage von Panajotis Kondylis" (German)
- Greek poet Kostas Koutsourelis' article about Kondylis's work published in the newspaper Kathimerini (Greek)
- Panagiotis Kondylis website (English)
- The publication of the letters exchanged between Kondylis and his publisher Xatzopoulos, concerning valuable information in his work as an editor and translator as well as his intellectual biography (Greek)