Emergence of Public Philosophy in the East-Central European Urban(e) Cultures: a Hungarian Case

  • Béla Mester
Keywords: János Hetényi, nation building, nation–city relationship, public philosophy, urbanity


This article offers an analysis of the nation–city, country–capital relationship in the 19th-century East-Central European nation building in a framework of a case study on the question of the Hungarian Scholarly Society (now: Hungarian Academy of Sciences) about the role and function of the cities and towns of Hungary in the development of the Hungarian national culture. The work of the winner, János Hetényi, published in 1841, has found the equilibrium between the topics of the city and nation as ideal wholes, within a framework of a historical analysis of the urbanity of the public philosophy. This model of the urban(e) nation, organized by the cities as cultural centres was worked out in the optimistic decades of the Hungarian Reform Era (1825–1848), only; on its margins has appeared the known elements of the cultural criticism of the next epochs, such as the topics of a sinful and (ethnically) alien city.
Ethics and Political Philosophy