Julien Benda's Anti-Passionate Europe

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Abstract

In the early 1930s, Julien Benda provided one of the most uncompromising visions for a united Europe. In line with his rationalist universalism, Benda sought a that was cleansed of passion and particularism, and called on European intellectuals to act as a rationalist vanguard in constructing such a Europe. However, Benda fatefully wavered between polity-building strategies of reshaping and redirection. For the most part, Benda seemed to demand nothing less than a comprehensive reshaping of the moral and political psychology of European citizens. However, his universalism faltered frequently, and he conceived of Europe rather as a large nation, in which the 'passion for reason' would come to dominate other passions. Such ambiguities - and failures to draw a clear line between normative ideals and the pragmatics of polity-building - persist in many present debates on European unification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-137
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Theory
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

Keywords

  • European integration
  • Intellectuals
  • Julien Benda
  • Nation-building
  • Universalism

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