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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versão On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versão impressa ISSN 0041-4751


RAATH, Andries. Can Althusius save the politocrats?. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2018, vol.58, n.1, pp.161-178. ISSN 2224-7912.

In a contribution to the debate on the fundamentals ofpolitocratic communitarianism, Danie Goosen in the December 2016-issue of this journal remarked that the idea of the Greek polis continued through Johannes Althusius' modern federal political theory of the seventeenth century. This article investigates the tenability of Goosen's views in the light of Althusius' application of and subscription to the Ramist logic and dialectical methodology. Ramus'logic was not rooted in the Aristotelian syllogism but in definitions and postulates, the material of which was found in the empirical sciences themselves. Althusius added a distinct Reformational flavour to the Ramist method, thereby developing an approach to thefield ofpolitical philosophy which could be described as a rudimentary form of transcendental-empirical methodology. In this article it is argued that the philosophical roots of politocratic communitarianism stand diametrically opposed to Althusius' theory. The upshot is that for politocrats to subscribe to and accommodate Althusius' political views demand departing from Aristotle's universalistic statism and his underlying idea of serving the interests (and needs) of the organismic state. Althusius' insight into the distinction between the structures of civil society and the state as a public legal institution demands bidding farewell to the core-ideas of politocratic communitarianism to the measure that it is a manifestation of abstract trans-individual life, it embraces a totalitarian (and absolutistic) form of political community, it vehemently opposes fundamental civil rights and it reflects an inner-dialectical and undifferentiated form of political association.

Palavras-chave : Althusius; Aristotle; federalism; Goosen; politocratic communitarianism.

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