Studi Jaspersiani XII - 2024


Lessons on politics.

From Karl Jaspers onwards


eds. Elena Alessiato and Paola Ricci Sindoni


Karl Jaspers’ intellectual way spanned the twentieth century. 

Born in the Wilhelminian Reich as a son of the educated German upper middle class (Kulturbürgertum), Jaspers (1883 - 1969) died outside Germany as an exile by choice. In the meanwhile, he had lived through two World Wars, the Nazi dictatorship, the transformation into a mass society, the oppression of totalitarianism, the Holocaust, and again, the German transition to the Republic, the division into the two Germanies, the atomic danger.

His approach to politics was gradual but profound, marked by the growing awareness of its urgency and enriched by the understanding that his training as a physician, a psychopathologist, a psychologist, and a philosopher of existence brought to him.

The outcome is a layered and multi-perspective mode of addressing both the historical issues and the questions that have always given substance to philosophical thought on politics. 

The present issue of SJ aims to investigate both that mode of thinking and reasoning and the ethical value-based proposals that follow from it with the twofold purpose of probing its historical limits and giving insight into its design and normative potential updated to the 21st-century scenario.

Alongside a rigorous historiographical investigation of the traits of specificity and originality of Jaspers' political thought, the issue aims to scrutinize the concepts, categories, paradigms, and the lexicon of the Jaspersian political lesson to test, a century later, its normative bearing and the connected capacity of orienting, or not orienting, the critical diagnosis of the present and the formulation of ideas and perspectives open to the changes of today and the scenarios of tomorrow.

This seems to us the best way to put Jaspers' thought to good use: by questioning it from today's perspective to try to go beyond its letter and grasp its spirit and pivotal message.

Therefore, the issue invites scholars − of Jaspers' thought but not only − from different sensibilities and disciplinary approaches − from the history of philosophy to political philosophy, from moral philosophy to political theory, from sociology to theoretical philosophy to political history − to reflect on various questions and matters, including:

- Totalitarianism and totalitarian regimes: old and new specters;

- Strength, fragility, and the crisis of democracy: one, many, which democracy?

- The danger of nuclear power for the world order and the survival of the planet;

- Responsibility, reason, and trust as the categories of political action;

- Freedom, truth, and communication at the test of the mass society and the mass communication technologies;

- Guilt, awareness, rights, and new citizenships;

- Europe both as a symbol of heritage and values and as a political subject of the new world order;

- The global policy between cosmopolitanism, national feelings and the solidarity among the States;

- Germany's role in the European and Western community of States: between history, reassessment, great ambitions, limitations, and new challenges;

- Jaspers' teachers and Jaspers as a teacher: lessons in politics;

- Comparative perspectives: Max Weber, Günter Anders, György Lukács, Hannah Arendt… and Jaspers.

- Realism, utopia, and critique as the guidelines for today’s political discourse;

- The role of education for the new generations in the time of a globalized society; 

- History, the future and the supra-political as normative categories of the political community building: propaganda, myth, or project?


Abstract submission deadline: June 15th, 2023

Notification of interest: by July 15th, 2023

Paper delivery deadline: January 31st, 2024

Final delivery: May 31st, 2024


Abstract of 500 words max.