A reappraisal of the role of historical understanding, political commitment, ideology, and revolutionary consciousness in modernity.
F.M. Barnard goes beyond the seventeenth-century understanding of the social contract by making national self-enactment contingent on public reasons for individual liberty within civic mutuality. He examines the possibilities and limits for a self-enacting, principled politics, acknowledging reason and self-enactment as central concepts of historical and political thinking. He argues, however, that reason must be seen as practical reason, which only indirectly acts as a cause, while self-enactment must be understood as operating in relation to reciprocity with the other.
Reason and Self-Enactment in History and Politics also offers a reappraisal of basic political principles and constructs. Barnard argues for bridging differences among a plurality of truths and forming practical judgments through cultivation of a sense of situational appropriateness.