chapter  1
19 Pages

Dutch Republicanism and the Dialectical Tradition

The tradition examined in this study is dialectical in a sense which owes more to Socrates than to Hegel and Marx. It is concerned with keeping open discursive space for the movement and collision of ideas and arguments, rather than locating them within a larger historical process, or examining the movement of that process. It looks back to an ancient past, rather than foretelling the future. On the face of it, the existence of such a tradition in the modern world is an anomaly, in need of explanation. It is in confl ict with our conception of dialectic, which is primarily associated with the legacy of Hegel, and above all of Marxism. It is in confl ict with our conception of politics, which has at its core power and persuasion rather than virtue or self-knowledge.