'The most natural state': Herder and nationalism

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33 Scopus citations


Herder is often considered a cultural nationalist rather than a political nationalist. Although there is a measure of truth in this assessment, it overlooks the important passages in Herder's writings where he did make political claims about the nation. The article explores the basis of these claims, and tries to articulate what is theoretically interesting and plausible in Herder's account. Herder defended the nationally bounded state (as opposed to the nation-state) with an argument that rests on an individuality principle and a nationality principle. Together these principles inform a variant of nationalism that is liberal and democratic in orientation and that remains relevant for contemporary normative theorists working on a range of problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-689
Number of pages33
JournalHistory of Political Thought
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy


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