Heidegger's Being and Time is often interpreted as an important contribution to the canon of Existentialist philosophy. This popular interpretation is due largely to the theme of "authenticity" that is carefully developed in Division II. Here, Heidegger explains how we, as human beings, can temporarily sever ourselves from our bondage to a "fallen" public world by owning up to the anxious awareness of our inevitable death. It is in resolutely facing death that we can become individuals for the first time and see through the illusions of stability and comfort that our roles in public life offer us. As "beings-towards-death" we can soberly come to grips with our finitude and bring this awareness back into our everyday lives, realizing and accepting that there is no security or permanence to our existence.
But this existentialist interpretation fails to acknowledge the fundamental role that historicity plays in Heidegger's conception of authenticity. The experience of anxiety that can motivate us to authenticity and resoluteness is only initially an individuating experience. Our historicity determines the structure of our existence in such a way that the authentic human being is never an isolated individual (like Kierkegaard's knight of faith or Nietzsche's overman). Human beings can never rebel against or overcome their own socio-cultural and historical world because they are always already interwoven to a specific historical situation. In this paper I will attempt to explain the relevance of historicist authenticity as a critical response to the common, existentialist interpretation. I will focus on the crucial role that one's historical background, in the sense of community and heritage, has on Heidegger's interpretation of authenticity.
There are at least two different ways of coping with struggles: one is to eliminate them—this is the way that Plato, Hegel, Marx and many others chose—and the other is to institutionalize them—this is Tocqueville's democratic way. I first outline the main elements of Hegel's approach, with a specific focus on the Phenomenology of Spirit. My aim is to emphasize that, for Hegel, the goal of political philosophy must be a reconciled polis, which can happen only if and when the history-long struggle between masters and slaves has ended. I then turn to Tocqueville's Of Democracy in America, which was published about thirty years after Hegel's Phenomenology. Tocqueville is also aware of struggles between masters and slaves, but he prefers embracing democracy as a means of domesticating, rather than eliminating once and for all, political strife.
In this project, I present a combination of philosophical and political perspectives on universal human rights and the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court in which to prosecute the most egregious violations of universal human rights. I then present William F. Jasper's reasons why the United States ought not ratify the permanent International Criminal Court. Contrary to the Jasper's pragmatic objections, I argue in favor of the International Criminal Court. I illustrate that the International Criminal Court will have protective measures designed to prevent the political abuses of justice that worry Jasper. When working properly, these protective measures will satisfy Jasper's pragmatic concerns. In addition, I offer principled reasons why the United States ought not abandon its longer history of supporting the establishment of an international criminal court. I conclude that Jasper's pragmatic concerns do not justify the rejection of the International Criminal Court by the United States.
In the Charmides, Socrates sets out to critique the Apollonian conception of self-knowledge, illustrated by Apollo's precept, know thyself, inscribed on the portals at Delphi (164d4-164e2). Socrates cannot jeopardize his piety through mounting an attack directly against Apollo. Thus, the Socratic elenchus begins with Charmides and his mentor Critias discussing the nature of temperance. The focus of this essay is to illustrate how Socrates is able to attack the Apollonian precept indirectly through syllogistic logic, associating Critias' reasoning with that of Apollo, then undercutting Critias' argument, thereby also undercutting Apollo's precept.