Beyond the apparatus: Karl Jaspers as political theorist




Pierce, Phillip H.

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Karl Jaspers is considered a founder of existentialism and while this may be true such a characterization misses some of the fundamental aspects of his philosophy. Existentialism begins with a concept of the absurd. Jaspers' Existenz-philosophy begins with a concept of reason grounded in an experience of transcendence, similar to the teachings of a classical, philosophic tradition with roots in the works of Plato and Aristotle. The philosophy of Karl Jaspers, while modern, also continues in the classical tradition; Jaspers diagnoses the conditions of the modern world as a product of what he calls an Apparatus. Although written in 1930 to describe the political situation in the heart of Europe at the beginning of the National Socialist movement in Germany, the concept of an Apparatus exists in political conditions in nations around the world today, including within the United States. This thesis presents a conceptual analysis of "Existenz-philosphy" in selected works of Karl Jaspers and how his work contributes to an understanding of global political dynamics in today's world.



Philosophy, religion, and theology, Social sciences, Political science, Existentialism, Transcendence, Apparatus, National socialist