A Discourse on Disenchantment

Reflections on Politics and Technology

By Gilbert G. Germain

Subjects: Political Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Political Theory: Contemporary Issues
Paperback : 9780791413203, 187 pages, February 1993
Hardcover : 9780791413197, 187 pages, February 1993

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Table of contents



Part One. The Outward Journey

I The Setting

The Turn Toward Epistemology

Positivism and Anti-Positivism

The Nietzschean Critique

Summary and Conclusion

II The Disenchantment Thesis

The Weberian Synthesis

The Disenchantment of Nature

The Disenchantment of the World

Lukács and Instrumental Rationality

Systems Theory

Summary and Conclusion

Part Two. The Journey Home

III Modernity Vindicated

Blumenberg and the Legitimacy of Modernity

Habermas: Early Works

Habermas: The Theory of Communicative Action

Summary and Conclusion

IV Modernity Reconsidered

Habermas Appraised

Adorno Revisited

Merleau-Ponty: From Perception to Ontology

Summary and Conclusion

V Embodied Politics

The Problem with 'Politics'

Embodied Politics





This book is the first full-length study of the ongoing debate over the status of our "disenchanted" world—a world stripped of mysterious and supernatural forces by the demythologizing power of reason and modern science. It draws together for the first time the writings of various theorists on this theme, such as Georg Lukacs, Theodor Adorno, and Jürgen Habermas, providing a coherent overview of an evolving dialogue, as well as Germain's own evaluation of the disenchantment problematic.

Gilbert G. Germain is Assistant Professor of Political Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island.


"In the worldwide ecological crisis facing us today, hardly an issue demands our attention more urgently than the relation between modern civilization and nature. Germain boldly tackles this issue in its broad political and philosophical ramifications. Focusing on the Weberian notion of 'disenchantment,' his book offers a detailed genealogy of the steadily deepening rift between mind and matter, between modern technology and mastery over nature. An elegantly written study addressed to and deserving a wide audience." — Fred Dallmayr, University of Notre Dame

"The philosophical critique is excellent, of the highest order." — Philip Green, Smith College