Friday, March 24, 2023

New book on "Democratic Respect"

Democratic Respect

Populism, Resentment, and the Struggle for Recognition

by Christian F. Rostbøll

(Cambridge University Press, 2023)

234 pages


"Democratic Respect" is about how democracy should recognize the people. The debate over the meaning and value of populism is essentially a debate over this question. Populism promises to provide the people the recognition that they deserve. We should not understand populist resentment as blindly emotional but as a struggle for recognition based on moral experiences that can be explained by people’s beliefs. By adopting a participant attitude and associating populist resentment with alleged violations of democratic principles, we can discuss what citizens and governments owe one another in terms of recognition and respect. Not all struggles for recognition contribute to the deepening of democracy, and we must distinguish between different kinds of recognition in order to understand why populism is often a threat to what this book calls democratic respect. How democracy should recognize the people relates to debates over the meaning and value of democratic procedures, rights, majority rule, compromise, and public deliberation. The book disputes the widespread assumption that populism is essentially democratic and only against liberal constraints on majority rule. The shortcoming of populism is not that its understanding of democracy lacks substantive constraints, but that it fails to appreciate the procedural value of democracy.

The book includes discussions of Jürgen Habermas, Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, and John Rawls.

Contents [pdf] [Preview]

Introduction: Recognition of the People [Excerpt, pdf]

1. Recognition and the Politics of Resentment

2. Respect, Esteem, and Solidarity

3. Rights and the Populist Claim for Recognition

4. Procedures, Outcomes, or Identification? 

5. Respecting Disagreement

6. Publicity and Correcting Democracy

Christian F. Rostbøll is Professor of Political Theory at University of Copenhagen. He is author of "Deliberative Freedom. Deliberative Democracy as Critical Theory" (SUNY Press, 2008).

20% discount on this book: Enter the code DCR2023 at

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Rawls's critique of welfare state capitalism

Catherine Audard has written a new paper on John Rawls and the fight against structural injustices:

"Addressing the rise of inequalities: How relevant is Rawls's critique of welfare state capitalism?" (open access)

(forthcoming in "Journal of Social Philosophy")

From the Introduction:

In this article, I examine Rawls's "political" critique of WSC [welfare state capitalism] and of its inability to fight structural injustices together with his proposal for POD [property-owning democracy] as a realistic prospect and a credible alternative to WSC. Section 2 describes the rise of inequalities of wealth and power as a source of structural injustices, and Rawls's insight as to why WSC is unable to fight them. Section 3 presents Rawls's alternative proposal of POD with its two ambitions, to protect, but also to emancipate citizens and guarantee their full rights. Section 4 asks whether POD can fully articulate these two aims and answer Sen's criticism (Sen, 1999) that this is still a "resourcist" solution that fails to fully emancipate citizens. Section 5 tentatively suggests that the justification for POD must rest on a new paradigm that redefines the nature of the Self in developmental terms (Audard, 2019), both capable and vulnerable over time (Nussbaum, 2006). The fight against inequalities of wealth through POD can then be justified as it aims at increasing agency and social mobility for all, not simply consumption and utility maximization, and, most importantly, as a basis for democratic citizenship and the full value of political liberties (Thomas, 2017b; White, 2015; White, 2016).

Catherine Audard is a Visiting Fellow Fellow at the Department of Philosophy of the London School of Economics. She is the author of "John Rawls" (Acumen Press, 2007).

Sunday, March 19, 2023

What Good is Philosophy? Ukraine Benefit Conference

Ukraine Benefit Conference, March 17-19,  2023, organized by Aaron James Wendland:

A Benefit Conference for Ukraine aims to raise the funds required to establish a Centre for Civic Engagement at Kyiv Mohyla Academy.

Session 1 (video)

* A.J. Wendland – ‘Introduction: On War and Philosophy’

* Jennifer Nagel – ‘Philosophy, For Better, For Worse, and In Itself’

* Quassim Cassam – ‘Liberation Philosophy’

* Volodymyr Yermolenko – ‘Thinking in Dark Times’

Session 2 (video)

* Sally Haslanger – ‘Philosophy and Paradigm Shifts’

* Philip Pettit – ‘From Philosophy to Politics’

* Elizabeth Anderson – ‘Philosophy is for Everyone’

* Jeff McMahan – ‘What Good Is Moral Philosophy?’

Session 3 (video)

* Kieran Setiya – ‘Public Philosophy, Amelioration, and Existential Value’

* Agnes Callard – ‘The Paradise Paradox’

* Dominic Lopes – ‘Beauty at the Barricades’

* Margaret Atwood – ‘Crisis Literature

Session 4 (video)

* Timothy Snyder – ‘Thinking About Freedom in Wartime Ukraine’

* Jonathan Wolff – ‘Values and Public Policy’

* Jason Stanley ­– ‘Discourses of Genocide’

* Seyla Benhabib – ‘Philosopher’s Dreams of Perpetual Peace’

Session 5 (video)

* Kate Manne – ‘Philosophy and Gaslighting: It’s (Not) All in Your Mind’

* Barry Lam – ‘Discretion: A Philosophical Analysis of the Power of Bureaucrats’

* David Enoch – ‘What Good Is Political Philosophy in the Face of an Acute Political Crisis?’

* Peter Godfrey-Smith – ‘Philosophy and the Events of the Day’

Session 6 (video)

* Peter Adamson – ‘What Good Is a History of Philosophy ‘Without Any Gaps’?’

* Angie Hobbs – ‘Public Philosophy in an Age of Uncertainty’

* Melissa Lane – ‘Philosophizing Our Way Out of the Cave’

* Timothy Williamson – ‘Debating the Good’

Session 7 (video)

* Simon Critchley – ‘Question Everything’

* Tim Crane – ‘Philosophy as Freedom of Thought’

* Mychailo Wynnyckyj – ‘Grappling with Evil’

* Amb. Yulia Kovaliv – ‘Conclusion: Defending Democracy’

Saturday, March 18, 2023

New papers on "Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie"

The new issue of "Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie" (vol. 69, no. 2) features articles on Jürgen Habermas‘ "Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie" (Suhrkamp, 2019):

* Georg Kohler – "Vernunftinteresse, Religion und Philosophie. Zu Jürgen Habermas’ grossem Diskurs über Glauben und Wissen" [Abstract]

* Samuel Vollenweider – "Ein achsenzeitlicher Booster: Das frühe Christentum in der Sicht von Jürgen Habermas" [Abstract]

* Theo Kobusch – "Die “Hellenisierung des Christentums“ – ein Irrweg. Zur Begegnung von Christentum und Hellenismus in J. Habermas' Philosophiegeschichte" [Abstract]

* Peter Schulthess – "Eine Auseinandersetzung mit Habermas’ pragmatischer Sicht auf Augustin" [Abstract]

* Martin Bondeli – "Kant und Hegel in Habermas’ Genealogie nachmetaphysischen Denkens" [Abstract]

* Jean-Claude Wolf – "Habermas liest Kierkegaard" [Abstract]

Friday, March 17, 2023

Video: "Habermas - und das Begreifen der Gegenwart"

Professor Philipp Felsch (Berlin) and Professor Martin Saar (Frankfurt) talk about Jürgen Habermas's critical theory and his interventions in the public debates in Germany:

"Jürgen Habermas - und das Begreifen der Gegenwart" (video; 1 h 50 m)

(Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden, March 16, 2023)

See also discussions on Hegel, Marx, Adorno, Arendt & Luhmann.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Ernst Tugendhat has died aged 93

In Memoriam: Ernst Tugendhat (1930-2023):

Christoph Schulte - "The Non-Jewish Jewish Philosopher", Jüdische Allgemeine, online 17-03-2023

Thomas Assheuer - "Moralisch sein, trotz allem", Die Zeit, 16-03-2023

Doris Helmberger-Fleckl - "Nachdenken über Logik, Ethik und das Nichts", Die Furche, 16-03-2023

Alexander Grau - "Klarheit statt vorgetäuschten Tiefsinn", Cicero, online 15-03-2023

Alexander Grau - "Ernst Tugendhat (1930-2023)", Die Weltwoche, online 15-03-2023

Stefan Gosepath - "Memorial notice", Daily Nous (blog), online 15-03-2023

Thomas Ribi - "Staunen, bis zum Schluss", Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 15-03-2023

Micha Brumlik - "Sprachanalyse und Mystik", taz, 15-03-2023

Jürgen Kaube - "Seitliche Relativierung des eigenen Daseins", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 15-03-2023

Mara Delius - "Sagen, was ist", Die Welt, 15-03-2023

Stefan Gosepath im Gespräch, Deutschlandsfunk, 14-03-2023

Thomas Meyer - "Ein Wohnsitz in der Welt", Süddeutsche Zeitung, 14-03-2023

Karl Gaulhofer - "Er dachte so, wie ein Philosoph denken sollte", Die Presse, 14-03-2023

Ursula Wolf - "Denken über Sprache", Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 13-03-2023

G. H. Holländer - "Philosoph Ernst Tugendhat gestorben", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, online 13-03-2023

Michael Hesse - "Der Solitär", Frankfurter Rundschau, online 13-03-2023

Monday, February 20, 2023

Afterword to Scanlon's "Why Does Inequality Matter?"

Tim Scanlon has uploaded an afterword to his great book "Why Does Inequality Matter?" (Oxford University Press, 2018): 

"Afterword" (at

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Responses to Habermas's "A Plea for Negotiations" [updated]

Responses to Jürgen Habermas's "Ein Plädoyer für Verhandlungen" (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 15-02-2023):

Stefan Müller-Doohm - "Die Gewalt muss ein Ende haben", Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 16-03-2023.

Konrad Schuller - "Willst du Frieden, sprich vom Krieg", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 12-03-2023.

Oskar Lafontaine - "Wir brauchen eine neue Friedensbewegung", Die Weltwoche, 09-03-2023.

Thomas Ribi - "Der unvernünftige Hüter der Vernunft", Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 09-03-2023.

Stephan Hebel - "Keine simplen Gleichungen", Frankfurter Rundschau, 07-03-2023.

Helmut K. Anheier - "Germany’s Self-Centered War Debate", Project Syndicate, online 28-02-2023.

Robert Treichler - "Was gegen „Frieden“ spricht", Profil, 26-02-2023.

Michael Ignatieff - "Only brute determination on the battlefield will win the war", The Globe and Mail, 25-02-2023.

Bascha Mika - "Ukraine-Krieg und Pazifismus: Eine Zäsur, auch im Denken", Frankfurter Rundschau 24-02-2023.

Gerd Koenen - "Wer den Blick senkt, hat schon verloren", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 24-02-2023.

Heinrich August Winkler - "Es geht auch um unsere Freiheit" (interview), Handelsblatt, 24-02-2023.

Lennart Laberenz - "Ukraine-Krieg: Die Verblendung der deutschen Linken", Der Freitag online 23-02-2023.

Peter Neumann - "Seine Sorge", Die Zeit, 23-02-2023.

Thomas Zaugg - "Die Friedensbewegten – festgefahren im geschichtspolitischen Dilemma", Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 23-02-2023.

Armin Nassehi - "Der falsche Gegensatz", Die Zeit online, 21-02-2023.

Martin Schulze Wessel - "Imperium oder nichts", Die Zeit online 21-02-2023.

Andrea Gawrich & Anna Veronika Wendland - "Wo Habermas irrt", Salonkolumnisten (blog), 21-02-2023.

Stefan Müller-Doohm - "Er kann gar nicht anders, als sich zu äußern" (interview), Frankfurter Rundschau 21-02-2023.

Peter Strasser - "Der Krieg als Denkprobe", Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 20-02-2023.

Herfried Münkler - Das sind Schlachten wie 1915 bis 1919“ (interview), Die Welt, 20-02-2023.

Mathias Brodkorb - "Das Orakel vom Starnberger See", Cicero online, 19-02-2023

Robin Alexander - "Wen man nicht als rechts diffamieren kann, den macht man lächerlich", Die Welt online, 18-02-2023.

Reinhard Schulze - "Krieg und Gegenkrieg – auch eine Antwort auf Jürgen Habermas",, 18-02-2023.

Robin Alexander - "Respekt für Habermas", Die Welt, 18-02-2023.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit & Claus Leggewie - "Habermas unterschlägt die Risiken", taz - die Tageszeitung, 18-02-2023.

Kurt Kister - "Du hältst es nicht aus. Debatte um Jürgen Habermas und den Krieg", Süddeutsche Zeitung, 18-02-2023.

Wolfgang Ischinger - "Bei allem Respekt für Jürgen Habermas" (interview), Die Welt online, 17-02-2023.

Mladen Gladic - "Die Offensive der Verhandlungsfreunde", Die Welt, 17-02-2023.

Jan C. Behrends - "Lauter blinde Flecken", Die Zeit online, 16-02-2023.

Michael Jäger - "Jürgen Habermas plädiert für Verhandlungen: Genealogie des Weltfriedens", Der Freitag online 16-02-2023.

Christian Geyer - "Habermas", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 16-02-2023.

Ronald Pohl - "Habermas plädiert für "rechtzeitige Verhandlungen"“, Der Standard, 16-02-2023.

Gerrit Bartels - "Sorgen vor einem dritten Weltkrieg", Der Tagesspiegel, 16-02-2023.

Gregor Dotzauer - "Die Waffen der Vernunft", Der Tagesspiegel, 16-02-2023.

Michael Hesse - "Schlafwandeln am Rande des Abgrundes", Frankfurter Rundschau, 16-02-2023.

Corinna Hauswedell - "Habermas und der Krieg" (interview), Deutschlandsfunk, 15-02-2023.

Herfried Münkler - "Verhandlungen sind keine Alternative zum Kämpfen" (interview), Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 15-02-2023.

Tobias Rapp - "Der Abwehrzauber", Der Spiegel online, 15-02-2023.

Kurt Kister - "Was treibt diesen Mann?", Süddeutsche Zeitung, 15-02-2023.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

New essay by Habermas on the Russian invasion of Ukraine

A new essay by Jürgen Habermas on the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 15-02-2023): 

"Ein Plädoyer für Verhandlungen" [paywall] 

"A Plea for Negotiations" [paywall]


"Et innlegg for forhandlinger", Morgenposten, online 24-02-2023 [paywall]

"Plaidoyer pour des négociations en Ukraine", Le Monde, 22-02-2023 [paywall]

"Plaidoyer pour des négociations sur l'Ukraine", Le Temps, 21-02-2023 [paywall]

"Por qué este es el momento de negociar la paz", El País, 19-02-2023 [paywall]

"Europa tra guerra e pace", la Repubblica, 19-02-2023 [paywall]

"Et forsvar for forhandlinger", Information, 16-02-2023 [paywall]


"The West has good reasons for supplying weapons to Ukraine: But this entails shared responsibility for the further course of the war. 

(….) thoughtful voices are making themselves heard not only to defend the Chancellor’s stance but also to plead for public reflection on the difficult path to negotiations. If I add my voice to these, then it is precisely because the statement: “Ukraine must not lose the war!” is correct. My concern is with the preventive character of timely negotiations, negotiations that prevent a prolonged war from claiming even more lives and causing even more destruction, and from presenting us in the end with a hopeless choice: either to intervene actively in the war or to leave Ukraine to its fate in order not to trigger the first world war between nuclear-armed powers. 

The war is dragging on, the scale of the destruction is increasing and the casualties are mounting. (….) 

Sleepwalking on the edge of the abyss is becoming a real danger especially because the Western alliance is not only strengthening Ukraine’s hand, but is tirelessly reiterating that it will support the Ukrainian government for “as long as necessary” and that the Ukrainian government alone can decide the timing and goal of possible negotiations. This protestation is meant to discourage opponents, but it is inconsistent and obscures differences that are obvious. Above all, it can lead us to deceive ourselves about the need to take our own initiatives for negotiations.

On the one hand, it is a truism that only a party involved in the war can determine its war objective and, if necessary, the timing of negotiations. On the other hand, how long Ukraine can hold out at all also depends on Western support. (....)

The fact that the West itself cannot avoid making, and taking responsibility for, important decisions is also evident from the situation it fears most – namely, the aforementioned scenario in which Russian military superiority would confront it with the alternative of either caving in or becoming a party to the war. (....)

But the broad camp of emphatic supporters of Ukraine is also currently divided over the right moment for peace negotiations. One side identifies with the Ukrainian government’s demand for military support, increasing without limit, to defeat Russia and thus restore the country’s territorial integrity, including Crimea. The other side wants to push for attempts to bring about a cease-fire and negotiations that would at least avert a possible defeat by restoring the status quo ante of February 23, 2022. The pros and cons of these positions reflect historical experiences.

It is not a coincidence that this smouldering conflict is now pressing for clarification. The front has been frozen for months. (....)

It is in the light of this development that I understood the formulation that Ukraine “must not lose the war”. For I interpret the moment of restraint as a warning that the West, which is enabling Ukraine to continue the fight against a criminal aggressor, must neither forget the number of victims, nor the risk to which the possible victims are exposed, nor the extent of the actual and potential destruction that is accepted with a heavy heart for the sake of the legitimate objective. Even the most altruistic supporter is not relieved of the responsibility to weigh up this proportionality. (….)

These are not promising conditions, but neither are they hopeless.

For apart from the human lives that war claims with each passing day, there is an increasing cost in material resources that cannot be replaced to an arbitrary extent. And the clock is ticking for the Biden administration, too. This thought alone should prompt us to press for energetic attempts to start negotiations and search for a compromise solution that would not give the Russian side any territorial gain beyond the status quo before the beginning of the war and yet would allow it to save face. 

Apart from the fact that Western heads of government such as Scholz and Macron maintain telephone contact with Putin, the U.S. government, which is apparently divided on this question, cannot maintain the formal role of an uninvolved party. A tenable negotiated outcome cannot be embedded in the context of far-reaching agreements without the involvement of the United States. Both warring parties are interested in this. This applies to security guarantees that the West must provide for Ukraine. But it also applies to the principle that the overthrow of an authoritarian regime is credible and stable only to the extent that it is driven by its own population, and hence enjoys internal support. 

In general, the war has focused attention on an acute need for regulation in the entire Central and Eastern European region, which extends beyond the objects of contention of the warring parties. Eastern Europe expert and former director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, Hans-Henning Schröder, has pointed (in the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" of  January 24, 2023) to the agreements on disarmament and economic framework conditions without which there cannot be a stable agreement between the immediate parties. Putin could take credit for the very willingness of the United States to engage in such negotiations of geopolitical scope.

Precisely because the conflict affects a broader network of interests, it cannot be ruled out from the outset that a compromise that saves face for both sides could also be found for the present diametrically opposed demands."

Sunday, January 15, 2023

New book on Habermas' "Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere"

Reading Habermas

Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere

by Michael Hofmann

(Lanham: Lexington Books, January 2023)

306 pages


Reading Habermas: Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere dissolves Habermas’s monolithic stylization to precisely access his seminal distinction between the purely political "polis" of antiquity, which excludes the private economy from the "res publica", and the modern public sphere with its rational-critical discourse about commodity exchange and social labor in the political economy. Deconstructing the uniform mold of Structural Transformation’s narrative about a rise and fall of the bourgeois public sphere in modernity also allows to identify and understand the ideology-critical methodologies of Habermas’s theory reconstruction of Kant’s ideal of the liberal public in the context of the French Revolution.


Preface [Preview]

Introduction [Preview]

1. Structural Transformation’s Normative Theses about a Dissolution of Domination in the Bourgeois Public Sphere

2. Habermas’s Dialectical Use of Ideology Critique to Counterfactually Assert a Moment of Historical Credibility for the Bourgeois Ideal of the Public Sphere

3. Structural Transformation’s Cold War Origins: Habermas’s Defense of Kantian Rationality, Human Rights, and the Enlightenment

4. Participatory Democracy versus Political Manipulation: The Role of Habermas’s “Celebrated Coffee Houses” (Todd Gitlin) in the Modern Public Sphere

5. Understanding Habermas’s Public Sphere Concept by Dissolving its Monolithic Stylization: Structural Transformation’s Interpretation of a Sociological and Political Category with the Norms of Constitutional Theory and Intellectual History

6. Structural Transformation’s Tacit Model Case of the Bourgeois Public Sphere: The French Revolution, Kant’s “Unofficial” Philosophy of History, Condorcet Absolute Rationalism, and Schiller’s Expressive Subjectivism

7. The Achilles’ Heel of Schiller’s Moral Stage and Structural Transformation’s Moral Politics: A Dependency of Smith’s Political Economy and Kant’s Constitutional Law on Mandeville’s Moral Paradox of Bourgeois Society

8. Habermas’s Unexplained Methodology: A Complex “Ideology-Critical Procedure”

9. The Result of Structural Transformation’s Dialectical Use of Schmitt’s “Civil War Topos” and Koselleck’s “Process of Criticism:” A Tension between Developmental History and Ideology-Critical Procedure

Conclusion: Renewing the Human Rights Perspective in the Political Public Sphere

Michael Hofmann is Professor of Communication and Multimedia Studies at Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of "Habermas’s Public Sphere: A Critique" (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2017). See a preview here.

Friday, January 06, 2023

Call for Papers: "On the Work of Jürgen Habermas"

Res Philosophica invites papers on the work of Jürgen Habermas for the 2023 Res Philosophica Essay Prize. The author of the winning paper will receive a prize of $3,000 and publication in the special issue of the journal on the same topic. Submissions for the prize will be automatically considered for publication in the journal's special issue.

Accepted papers will be published alongside an invited paper by Jürgen Habermas.

Guest editor: William Rehg (Saint Louis University).

Deadline for submission: August 1, 2023.

More info here.

Thursday, January 05, 2023

The philosophical itinerary of Axel Honneth

Paper on Axel Honneth: 

"Glanz und Elend des Sozialen. Axel Honneths philosophischer Weg" [PDF]

by Barbara Carnevali (Paris)

(Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, December 2022)


This article retraces and discusses the philosophical itinerary of Axel Honneth, from the groundbreaking book "Struggle for Recognition" up to the recent essays "Freedom’s Right" and "The Idea of Socialism". In the first section, I examine Honneth’s programmatic concept of social pathology in relation to Ernst Cassirer’s idea of the secularisation of theodicy (i. e. the attribution of responsibility for human suffering to society) and to the enlightenment legacy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In the second section, after assessing Honneth’s position in the tradition of critical theory, I analyse his philosophical views. I identify two different theoretical frameworks in Honneth’s work: on the one hand, the theory of the struggle for recognition; on the other hand, the recent theory of social freedom. While the first is grounded in a formal and allegedly universal anthropology, the second draws on the Hegelian doctrine of the ethical life and develops a historicist and internalist model of reconstructive social criticism. Finally, in the third section, I critically address the “divinisation of the social” entailed in Honneth’s project of social pathologies’ critique, and argue that Honneth’s trust in the normative power of intersubjectivity might be excessive.