Social and political dimensions of communities in the philosophy of Johannes Althusius

Main funder

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 126 700,00

Project timetable

Project start date: 01/01/2019

Project end date: 31/12/2022


The purpose of my Ph.D. research is to analyse the interconnections of the social and political dimensions of human communal life in the political philosophy of Johannes Althusius (1563–1638). The research will show that Althusius’ conception of social life (Lat. vita socialis) is crucial for understanding his federalist political theory. Especially the nature and role of associations come under scrutiny as they will expose the social and political ontology of Althusius’ theory and explain its constitutional character. The significance of the research is threefold. Firstly, the analysis clarifies the broader historical problematics of the concepts of ‘social’ and ‘political’ and their relationship. Essentially the question is to what extent social and political life are understood to be given by nature or God and to what extent the human will can influence them. Secondly, the research shows that Althusius’ main idea of a federal political order composed of hierarchically organised associations is based on an understanding of the relationship of social and political that creates continuum between natural human sociability and voluntary, political sociality. Lastly, the in-depth analysis on social and political dimensions of Althusius’ theory serve as a case study of much-demanded history of social ontological thinking.

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Last updated on 2021-17-03 at 12:05