Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Festschrift for John Broome

Weighing & Reasoning
Themes from the Philosophy of John Broome

Ed. by Iwao Hirose & Andrew Reisner

(Oxford University Press, March 2015)

272 pages


John Broome has made major contributions to, and radical innovations in, contemporary moral philosophy. His research combines the formal method of economics with philosophical analysis. Broome's works stretch over formal axiology, decision theory, philosophy of economics, population axiology, the value of life, the ethics of climate change, the nature of rationality, and practical and theoretical reasoning. 

Weighing and Reasoning brings together fifteen original essays from leading philosophers who have been influenced by the work and thought of John Broome. It aims to offer a comprehensive evaluation of Broome's wide-ranging and far-reaching philosophical works over the past thirty years. 

Contents [preview]

My Long Road to Philosophy - John Broome 

Part I: Weighing

1. Liberty, Preference Satisfaction, and the Case Against Categories - Geoffrey Brennan 
2. Challenges to the Principle of Personal Good - Doug MacLean 
3. Metasemantics out of Economics? - Anandi Hattiangadi
4. Separability - Iwao Hirose
5. The Social Disvalue of Premature Deaths [pdf] - Hilary Greaves 
6. Being and Well-Being - Krister Bykvist 
7. On the Social and Personal Value of Existence [pdf] - Marc Fleurbaey & Alex Voorhoeve
8. The Affirmative Answer to the Existential Question and the Person Affecting Restriction - Gustaf Arrhenius

Part II: Reasoning

9.   The Meaning of 'Darn It!' [pdf] - Luc Bovens & Wlodek Rabinowicz 
10. Keeping Things Simple - Roger Crisp
11. Moral Requirements - Michael J. Zimmerman
12. Reasons for Broome - Jonathan Dancy
13. Normative Conflicts and the Structure of Normativity - Andrew Reisner 
14. Reasons and Rationality: the Case of Group Agents - Lara Buchak & Philip Pettit
15. Weighing Explanations - Stephen Kearns & Daniel Star 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

New Book: "Reclaiming Democracy"

Reclaiming Democracy
Judgment, Responsibility and the Right to Politics

Ed. by Albena Azmanova & Mihaela Mihai

(Routledge, March 2015)

230 pages


Democracy is in shambles economically and politically. The recent economic meltdown in Europe and the U.S. has substituted democratic deliberation with technocratic decisions. In Athens, Madrid, Lisbon, New York, Pittsburgh or Istanbul, protesters have denounced the incapacity and unwillingness of elected officials to heed to their voices.

While the diagnosis of our political-economic illness has been established, remedies are hard to come. What can we do to restore our broken democracy? Which modes of political participation are likely to have an impact? And what are the loci of political innovation in the wake of the crisis? It is with these questions that Reclaiming Democracy engages. We argue that the managerial approach to solving the crisis violates ‘a right to politics’, that is, a right that our collective life be guided by meaningful politics: by discussion of and decision among genuinely alternative principles and policies. The contributors to this volume are united in their commitment to explore how and where this right can be affirmed in a way that resuscitates democracy in the wake of the crisis. Mixing theoretical reflection and empirical analysis the book offers fresh insights into democracy’s current conundrum and makes concrete proposals about how ‘the right to politics’ can be protected.

Contents [preview]

Introduction [preview] - Albena Azmanova & Mihaela Mihai 

Part 1: Loci of Democracy 

1. Agonism and the Crisis of Representative Democracy - Paulina Tambakaki 
2. Freedom, Democracy, and Working Life - Keith Breen 
3. Technology: The Promises of Communicative Capitalism - Jodi Dean 
4. Ungovernability - Claus Offe 

Part 2: Modes of Democratic Politics 

5. Democracy, Law and Global Finance - Tamara Lothian 
6. Democracy and the Absolute Power of Disembedded Financial Markets - Alessandro Ferrara 
7. Success and Failure in the Deliberative Economy - Arjun Appadurai 
8. The Promise of Global Transparency - Matthew Fluck 

Part 3: Democratic Critique 

9. Neoliberalism, the Street, and the Forum - Noëlle McAfee 
10. Founding Political Critique in a Post-Political World - Nikolas Kompridis 
11. From the Assembly to the Agora - David Chandler

Monday, March 23, 2015

Conference on "Religion and Liberal Political Philosophy"

An international conference on Religion and Liberal Political Philosophy will be held at the University College London, June 10-12, 2015.

The conference is arranged by the Religion and Political Theory Centre at UCL. The centre is led by Professor Cécile Laborde.

Conference themes include secularism, liberal neutrality, religious exemptions, the rights of conscience, and public reason and religious arguments.

Among the speakers are: 

Corey Brettschneider - Brown University 
Jean L. Cohen - Columbia University 
Maeve Cooke - University College Dublin 
Rainer Forst - Goethe University Frankfurt 
Peter Jones - Newcastle University 
Andrew Koppelman - Northwestern University 
Chandran Kukathas - London School of Economics
Cécile Laborde - University College London 
Cristina Lafont - Northwestern University 
Alan Patten - Princeton University 
Enzo Rossi - University of Amsterdam 
Kevin Vallier - Bowling Green State University 
Daniel Weinstock - McGill University 

More information on the conference here.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Rawls' "Politischer Liberalismus" (Klassiker Auslegen)

John Rawls: Politischer Liberalismus

Hrsg. von Otfried Höffe

(De Gruyter, 2015)

204 S.


John Rawls’ zweites Hauptwerk "Politischer Liberalismus" (1993) widmet sich der Frage, wie eine liberale Gesellschaft angesichts des gesellschaftlichen Pluralismus in Gerechtigkeitsfragen zu einem Konsens gelangen kann. In den Beiträgen des Klassiker Auslegen-Bandes wird das Werk von international renommierten Forschern systematisch interpretiert und zugleich Rawls’ Argumentation hinsichtlich ihrer Tragweite, aber auch ihrer Grenzen erörtert.


Vorwort - Otfried Höffe

1. Einführung - Otfried Höffe
2. Gerechtigkeit, Stabilität und Legitimität - Wilfried Hinsch
3. Grundlegende Ideen des Politischen Liberalismus - Peter Koller
4. Die Vermögen der Bürger und ihre Darstellung - Alessandro Pinzani & Denilson L. Werle
5. Politischer Konstruktivismus - Dirk Brantl
6. Die Idee eines übergreifenden Konsenses - Otfried Höffe
7. Der Vorrang des Rechten und die Ideen des Guten - Elif Özmen
8. Grundlagen und Grenzen der öffentlichen Vernunft - Charles Larmore
9. Die Grundstruktur als institutionelle Ausprägung von John Rawlsʼ Gerechtigkeit als Fairness - Lukas H. Meyer
10. Zur Rechtfertigung des Vorrangprinzips - Christoph Horn
11. Ausblick: Das Recht der Völker - Otfried Höffe

Friday, March 13, 2015

Jeremy Waldron on Human Equality

In January/February 2015 Professor Jeremy Waldron delivered six Gifford lectures on "One Another's Equals: The Basis of Human Equality" at the University of Edinburgh:

1. "More than merely equal consideration"

2. "Everyone to count for one" - the logic of basic equality

3. Looking for a range property: Hobbes, Kant, and Rawls

4.  A load-bearing idea: The work of human equality

5. Human dignity and our relation to God

6. Hard and heart-breaking cases: The profoundly disabled as our human equals.

See videos of Waldron's lectures here.

See also a short interview with Jeremy Waldron on his Gifford lectures here.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Public Reasoning in a Post-Secular Society

From the new issue of "Polity" (January 2015), an article by Mark Redhead on Habermas's view on public reasoning in a post-secular society:

"Reasoning between Athens and Jerusalem" [pdf]

"Jürgen Habermas, in his recent work on post-secular public reasoning, attempts to craft a model of democratic deliberation in which theistic and non-theistic selves can learn from each other and develop bonds of democratic solidarity. His proposed model raises questions about the abilities of democratically oriented individuals in the twenty-first century to reflect critically upon their own cherished beliefs, to comprehend the beliefs of others, and then to engage critically with the beliefs of others during deliberations about matters of common concern. I argue that these questions are best addressed by focusing on how individuals reason from within and through (rather than independently of) the cultural and ethical forces that make the subjects what they are. The work of many grassroots organizers today illustrates this lesson."

Mark Redhead is Associate Professor of Political Science at California State University. He is the author of "Charles Taylor: Thinking and Living Deep Diversity" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002) and "Reasoning with Who We are" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).

See also Jürgen Habermas's "Notes on Post-Secular Society" (pdf, 2008) and "A Post-Secular World Society?" (pdf, interview).

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tasioulas on the Foundations of Human Rights

Professor John Tasioulas has posted a new paper at SSRN:

"On the Foundations of Human Rights"

This paper provides an account of the grounds of human rights, considered as moral rights possessed by all human beings simply in virtue of their humanity. It identifies two such grounds: a plurality of universal human interests and the value of human dignity (the intrinsic and non-derivative value of being a human being). It also offers an extended account of the 'threshold' at which considerations of universal interests and human dignity generate duties in the case of all human beings. The paper concludes by showing that this pluralistic view of the grounding of human nights is superior to both a needs-based and a personhood-based approach.

John Tasioulas is Yeoh Professor of Politics, Philosophy and Law at King's College London. 

More papers by John Tasioulas at

See also Samuel Moyn's critique of John Tasioulas's inaugural lecture at UCL in 2012 and Tasioulas's response here

Sunday, February 08, 2015

David Reidy on John Rawls's Democratic Vision

Professor David A. Reidy has posted a new paper at SSRN:

"Framing Rawls's Democratic Vision"

In this essay I draw from Rawls's archived papers to set out several too often under-appreciated elements of Rawls's distinctively democratic vision.
Many readers of Rawls’s published works assume that what most distinguishes his work is his substantive conception of justice. To be sure, it is in certain respects distinctive. But even some of its most distinctive elements – e.g., the difference principle, the lexical ordering of principles of justice and the idea of the basic structure as the first subject of justice – had been anticipated. Some readers find most distinctive the larger (and allegedly shifting) argumentative context of Rawls’s work, whether the universalist and metaphysically ambitious Kantian contractualist framework alleged to frame his early work or the historicist and arguably relativist Hegelian hermeneutic framework alleged to frame his later work. For those exploring Rawls’s archived unpublished papers, lecture notes and letters, what emerges as most distinctive is a consistently maintained set of methodological and meta-philosophical commitments constituting and framing a democratic vision. In this short essay, I briefly sketch a few of these.

David A. Reidy is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tennessee. He is co-editor (with Martin Rex) of "Rawls's Law of Peoples: A Realistic Utopia?" (Blackwell, 2006), and co-editor (with Jon Mandle) of "A Companion to Rawls" (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013) and "The Cambridge Rawls Lexicon" (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

See also David A. Reidy's paper "From Philosophical Theology to Democratic Theory: Early Postcards from an Intellectual Journey".

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Habermas on "Democracy in Europe" - a new paper

Jürgen Habermas's lecture in Norway in September 2014 is now available as a working paper published by ARENA Centre for European Studies in Oslo:

"Democracy in Europe: Why the Development of the European Union into a Transnational Democracy is Necessary and How it is Possible


Can the process of European unification lead to a form of democracy that is at once supranational and situated above the organizational level of a state? The supranational federation should be constructed in such a way that the heterarchical relationship between the member states and the federation remains intact. The author finds the basis for such an order in the idea of the EU constituted by a “doubled” sovereign – the European citizens and the European peoples (the states). In order to sustain such an order reforms of the existing European treaties are needed. It is necessary to eliminate the legitimation deficits of the European Union in a future Euro-Union – that is, a more closely integrated core Europe. The European Parliament would have to gain the right to take legislative initiatives, and the so-called “ordinary legislative procedure,” which requires the approval of both chambers, would have to be extended to all policy fields.

A video of Jürgen Habermas's lecture is available here.

See my previous post on the event here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Book on Axel Honneth's Critical Theory

Axel Honneth

by Christopher Zurn

(Polity Press, 2015)

240 pages


With his insightful and wide-ranging theory of recognition, Axel Honneth has decisively reshaped the Frankfurt School tradition of critical social theory. Combining insights from philosophy, sociology, psychology, history, political economy, and cultural critique, Honneth’s work proposes nothing less than an account of the moral infrastructure of human sociality and its relation to the perils and promise of contemporary social life.

This book provides an accessible overview of Honneth’s main contributions across a variety of fields, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of his thought. Christopher Zurn clearly explains Honneth’s multi-faceted theory of recognition and its relation to diverse topics: individual identity, morality, activist movements, progress, social pathologies, capitalism, justice, freedom, and critique. In so doing, he places Honneth’s theory in a broad intellectual context, encompassing classic social theorists such as Kant, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Dewey, Adorno and Habermas, as well as contemporary trends in social theory and political philosophy. Treating the full range of Honneth’s corpus, including his major new work on social freedom and democratic ethical life, this book is the most up-to-date guide available.


1. Introduction
2. Individuals’ Struggle for Recognition
3. Social Struggles for Recognition
4. Diagnosing Social Pathologies
5. Recognition and Markets
6. Social Freedom and Recognition
7. Concluding Speculations

Christopher Zurn is Associate Professor of Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is the author of "Deliberative Democracy and the Institutions of Judicial Review" (Cambridge University Press, 2007).

See also three of Zurn's papers on Axel Honneth's critical theory:

* "Recognition, Redistribution, and Democracy: Dilemmas of Honneth’s Critical Social Theory" [pdf] (2005)

* "Social Pathologies as Second-Order Disorders" [pdf] (2005)

* "Anthropology and Normativity" (2000).

See my post on Axel Honneth's book "Freedom's Right" (2014). 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Book on Rawls and Religion

Rawls and Religion

Ed. by Tom Bailey & Valentina Gentile

(Columbia University Press, 2015)

312 pages


John Rawls's influential theory of justice and public reason has often been thought to exclude religion from politics, out of fear of its illiberal and destabilizing potentials. It has therefore been criticized by defenders of religion for marginalizing and alienating the wealth of religious sensibilities, voices, and demands now present in contemporary liberal societies.
In this anthology, established scholars of Rawls and the philosophy of religion reexamine and rearticulate the central tenets of Rawls's theory to show they in fact offer sophisticated resources for accommodating and responding to religions in liberal political life. The chapters reassert the subtlety, openness, and flexibility of his sense of liberal "respect" and "consensus," revealing their inclusive implications for religious citizens. They also explore the means he proposes for accommodating nonliberal religions in liberal politics, developing his conception of "public reason" into a novel account of the possibilities for rational engagement between liberal and religious ideas. And they reevaluate Rawls's liberalism from the "transcendent" perspectives of religions themselves, critically considering its normative and political value, as well as its own "religious" character. Rawls and Religion makes a unique and important contribution to contemporary debates over liberalism and its response to the proliferation of religions in contemporary political life.

Contents [preview]

Foreword - Sebastiano Maffettone

Introduction [preview] - Tom Bailey & Valentina Gentile

Part I. Reinterpreting Rawls on Religion

1. Respect and War [paper] - Christopher J. Eberle
2. Religion and Liberalism: Was Rawls Right After All? - Robert B. Talisse
3. Inclusivism, Stability, and Assurance - Paul Weithman
4. Rethinking the Public Use of Religious Reasons [paper] - Andrew F. March

Part II. Accommodating Religions with Rawls

5. The Liberal State and the Religious Citizen - Patrick Neal
6. Reasoning from Conjecture - Micah Schwartzman
7. The Religious Hermeneutics of Public Reasoning - Johannes A. van der Ven

Part III. Transcending Rawls

8. E Pluribus Unum: Justification and Redemption in Rawls, Cohen, and Habermas - James Gledhill
9. A Reasonable Faith? Pope Benedict's Response to Rawls [paper] - Peter Jonkers
10. Islamic Politics and the Neutral State: A Friendly Amendment to Rawls? - Abdullahi A. An-Na'im

Friday, January 16, 2015

Habermas - "The Lure of Technocracy"

The Lure of Technocracy 

by Jürgen Habermas 

(Polity Press; March 2014)

200 pages


Over the past 25 years, Jürgen Habermas has presented what is arguably the most coherent and wide–ranging defence of the project of European unification and of parallel developments towards a politically integrated world society. In developing his key concepts of the transnationalisation of democracy and the constitutionalisation of international law, Habermas offers the main players in the struggles over the fate of the European Union (the politicians, the political parties and the publics of the member states) a way out of the current economic and political crisis, should they choose to follow it. In the title essay Habermas addresses the challenges and threats posed by the current banking and public debt crisis in the Eurozone for European unification. He is harshly critical of the incrementalist, technocratic policies advocated by the German government in particular, which are being imposed at the expense of the populations of the economically weaker, crisis–stricken countries and are undermining solidarity between the member states. He argues that only if the technocratic approach is replaced by a deeper democratization of the European institutions can the European Union fulfil its promise as a model for how rampant market capitalism can once again be brought under political control at the supranational level. 

English translation of "Im Sog der Technokratie" (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2013). Five short essays are not included in the English edition.


I. The Lure of Technocracy 

1. The Lure of Technocracy: A Plea for European Solidarity [abridged version
2. European Citizens and European Peoples 
3. Keywords on a Discourse Theory of Law and of the Democratic Constitutional State 

II. European Conditions. Continued Interventions 

4. The Next Step: An Interview [text in German]
5. The Dilemma Facing the Political Parties [text in German]
6. Three Reasons for ’More Europe’ 
7. Democracy or Capitalism? 

III. German Jews, Germans and Jews 

8. Jewish Philosophers and Sociologists as Returnees in the Early Federal Republic of Germany [abridged version]
9. Martin Buber - A Philosophy of Dialogue in its Historical Context 
10. Our Contemporary Heine: ‘There are No Longer Nations in Europe’