Approaching Infinity: Dignity in Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon
Philosophy and Literature, October 2009
19 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2009 Last revised: 16 Mar 2010
Date Written: June 22, 2009
Human dignity underlies human rights and is a pillar of liberal politics. Yet what is dignity? And what is the place of dignity in politics? Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon is a searing inquiry into the conflict between dignity and reason as opposing grounds of politics. Koestler shows how a rationalist politics corrodes dignity. In response, he imagines dignity as a countermeasure to reason. Political action, he suggests, must be informed by a non-rational and non-religious appeal to the infinite that is the one guarantee of a human politics. There is no justice, Koestler argues, divorced from infinite justice.
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