Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Conceptualizing the Future of Democracy

A video of a panel discussion today in Frankfurt am Main on 

"Conceptualizing the Future of Democracy: Combining Representation and Participatory Innovations" (1 hour, 49 minutes)


Statements by the participants:

* Mark Warren (University of British Columbia, Vancouver) [starts 10:50]

* Rainer Forst (Goethe University Frankfurt) [starts 22:30]

* Anne Phillips (London School of Economics and Political Science) 
   [starts 32:00]

* Jane Mansbridge (Harvard University) [starts 43:00]

Panel discussion. Moderater: Brigitte Geiẞel (Goethe University Frankfurt) [starts 54:30]

Open discussion [starts 1.14:00]


Further information on the conference here.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Habermas in Bad Homburg

Jürgen Habermas participated in a two-days conference in Bad Homburg on "Neue Perspektiven für Europa".

See this report in FAZ:

Thomas Thiel - "Habermas wirft sich für Europa in die Bresche" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, September 24, 2018)



Excerpts from the report by Andrea Pollmeier in "Frankfurter Rundschau" (September 24):

"Mit tiefer Skepsis blickt der Soziologe und Philosoph Jürgen Habermas auf die gegenwärtige Lage Europas und wendet sich gegen einen Ton der "Dedramatisierung". Zwar drohe trotz Brexit wegen der mächtigen wirtschaftlichen Interessen kein Auseinanderfallen der Eurozone, doch sei dies keine gute, sondern eher eine schlechte Nachricht, erklärte Habermas am Wochenende in Bad Homburg. Ein Weiterführen des Status quo habe schließlich zur Folge, dass die innerpolitischen Polarisierungen in unseren Ländern fortschreiten werden. [....]
Das Erstarken europafeindlicher, rechtsextremer Parteien sei, so Habermas, nicht primär Folge der Migrationspolitik, sondern habe wirtschaftliche Ursachen. Die Währungsunion stelle nicht mehr für alle Mitgliedstaaten eine „Win-win-Situation“ dar. Im ökonomisch boomenden Deutschland werde eigentliche Grund für die fehlende Kooperationsbereitschaft derjenigen verdrängt, die sich heute als Verlierer sehen und sich ungerecht behandelt fühlen. Der Euro sei, so der Soziologe, noch vor der Ost-Erweiterung mit dem politischen Versprechen eingeführt worden, dass sich die Lebensverhältnisse der Menschen in allen Mitgliedstaaten einander angleichen würden. Das Gegenteil dieser Prognose sei jedoch eingetreten. Diese andauernde Diskrepanz der ökonomischen Leistungsbilanzen könne keine Währungsgemeinschaft auf Dauer aushalten. "Ich staune offen gestanden jeden Tag von neuem über die Chuzpe der jetzigen Bundesregierung, die glaubt, die Partner zu Gemeinsamkeit in Fragen der für uns wichtigen Flüchtlings-, Verteidigungs-, Außen- und Außenhandelspolitik gewinnen zu können, während sie gleichzeitig in der zentralen Frage des politischen Ausbaus der Eurozone mauert.""


Photos from the event here.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Albrecht Wellmer dies at 85

The German philosopher Albrecht Wellmer died on September 13, 2018. He was 85.

Obituaries:

Martin Seel - "Dialogisches Denken der besten Art" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

Stefan Müller-Doohm - "Kritik, Musik und Sprache" (Süddeutsche Zeitung)


Albrecht Wellmer was an assistant to Jürgen Habermas at the University of Frankfurt from 1966 to 1970 and later professor of philosophy at the University of Konstanz, the New York School for Social Research, and the The Free University of Berlin.

He was the author of:
* "Methodologie als Erkenntnistheorie. Zur Wissenschaftslehre Karl R. Poppers" (1967). 
* "Kritische Gesellschaftstheorie und Positivismus" (Suhrkamp, 1969)
* "Praktische Philosophie und Theorie der Gesellschaft. Zum Problem der normativen Grundlagen einer kritischen Sozialwissenschaft" (Universitätsverlag Konstanz, 1979)
* "Ethik und Dialog. Elemente des moralischen Urteils bei Kant und in der Diskursethik" (Suhrkamp, 1986)
"Endspiele. Die unversöhnliche Moderne. Essays und Vorträge" (Suhrkamp, 1993)
"Revolution und Interpretation. Demokratie ohne Letztbegründung" (Van Grocum, 1998)
* "Sprachphilosophie" (Suhrkamp, 2004)
* "Versuch über Musik und Sprache" (Hanser, 2009)

In English:
* "Critical Theory of Society" (Herder, 1971)
* "The Persistence of Modernity" (Polity Press, 1991)
* "Endgames" (MIT Press, 1998)

For a fine tribute to Wellmer see Axel Honneth's "Artist of Dissonance: Albrecht Wellmer and Critical Theory" (Constellations, vol. 14 no. 3 (2007), pp. 305-314.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

New book: "Dialogues avec Jürgen Habermas"


Dialogues avec Jürgen Habermas

Ed. by Isabelle Aubert & Jean-François Kervégan

(CNRS Editions, 2018)

498 pages 




The book contains the papers from an international colloquium held in Paris in October 2014: "Les perspectives de la démocratie face aux transformations du capitalisme. Un dialogue avec Jürgen Habermas". 

Contents

Présentation - Isabelle Aubert & Jean-François Kervégan

I. Questions sur l’Europe

"La transformation de l’Union européenne en démocratie transnationale. Pourquoi est-elle nécessaire et comment est-elle possible?" [English] - Jürgen Habermas

"L’Europe est-elle démocratisable?" - Catherine Colliot-Thélène

"L’inclusion des autres Européens. Voyager avec Habermas à travers l’Europe et au-delà" - Daniel Innerarity

II. Habermas et la tradition critique de l’Ecole de Francfort

"De la Théorie critique" - Albrecht Wellmer [abstract in English]

"Critique de la domination et théorie de la démocratie" - Katia Genel

"Travail et interaction. Origines et implications d’une distinction" - Emmanuel Renault

"La théorie de l’apprentissage et la place de la critique chez Habermas" - Jean-Marc Durand-Gasselin

III. Espace public, industrie culturelle et démocratie

"Habermas et les médias" - Olivier Voirol

"L’espace public et la démocratie réelle" - Clotilde Nouët

"Habermas et les institutions de l’espace public. Un bilan dans le contexte néo-libéral" - Gérard Raulet

IV. Pouvoir et liberté

"La nature nouménale du pouvoir" - Rainer Forst

"Autorité et autonomie" - Maeve Cooke

"Habermas et le »politique«" -  Geminello Preterossi

"»Sommes-nous habitués à la liberté politique«? Participation politique dans le capitalisme tardif" - Francesca Raimondi

Habermas et la solidarité face aux mutations africaines de la démocratie -Edmond-Yao Kouassi

V. Droit et transformations sociales

"L’»autre forme« de la domination. Droit et société" - Christoph Menke

"Citoyenneté et langage des droits" - Isabelle Aubert

"Souveraineté partagée, nation et communauté juridique" - Klaus Günther

"Le droit international délibératif : cosmopolitisation ou constitutionnalisation du droit international?" - Valéry Pratt

"Le droit subjectif à la politique et le problème de l’accélération sociale" - Esther L. Neuhann

VI. Crises et capitalisme

"Crise de légitimation? Des contradictions politiques du capitalisme financiarisé" [Lecture] -  Nancy Fraser

"Crise, capitalisme, réflexivité. Pour une réactualisation de l’idée adornienne d’impuissance" - Estelle Ferrarese

"Economie, travail et démocratie dans la Théorie critique" - Pınar Karaoğlu

VII. Les contours de la modernité

"Peut-on traduire des énoncés religieux en énoncés séculiers?" - Alexandre Dupeyrix

"La problématique de la modernité chez Habermas: retour sur un ancien débat" - Khaldoun Alnabwani

"Parviendrons-nous à penser de manière postmétaphysique?" - Jean-François Kervégan [summary in German]

VIII. Réplique de Jürgen Habermas

"Réplique" [pp. 459-490] - Jürgen Habermas 
[The reply deals with five topics: (1) Democracy and globalization, (2) The European Union as an example of transnationalisation, (3) The conceptualization of the economy in the critical theory of society, (4) Criticism of domination and the concept of "the political", and (5) The theoretical tradition of Frankfurt. 
It was written by Jürgen Habermas a few months after the colloquium, after he had read most of the papers. He resumed and systematized the long interventions he made during the conference.]

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Tribute to Charles Taylor

The current issue of "Philosophy & Social Criticism" (vol. 44 issue 7) contains 24 "short reflections" in honor of Charles Taylor's 85th birthday in November 2016.

All the contributions were published in the German journal "Transit. Europäische Revue" 49/2016.

Contents [pdf]

Introduction: Mapping Charles Taylor - Ulf Bohmann, Gesche Keding, Hartmut Rosa 

Abstract: The extensive, profound and influential oeuvre of Charles Taylor has inspired generations of thinkers. But how can we explore such a body of work? As we try to show in this Special Issue: by understanding him literally and making use of his notion of moral maps – or, differently put, by ‘mapping’ Charles Taylor. As he is far too modest a person to reveal to us his own moral atlas, we have decided to seize the occasion of his 85th birthday to ask several of his renowned colleagues, students and interlocutors to contribute to the reconstruction of such a map. This introduction develops three ‘mountain ridges’ in this cartography – a philosophical anthropology in spatial terms, the indispensable motif of dialogue, and the role of political life –, around which the following 24 illuminating appraisals are grouped.

1. A strong evaluator - Jocelyn Maclure

2. A capacious mind [preview] - Steven Lukes

3. Charles Taylor, today, yesterday, and tomorrow - William E. Connolly

4. The creature of language: Three postcards to Chuck [preview] - Eduardo Mendieta

5. The art of holding opposites together [preview] - Alessandro Ferrara

6. Seeing differently, or: How I discovered the Sources of the Self [preview] - Michael Kühnlein

7. Ordinary life [preview] - Nicholas H. Smith

8. Dialogical animals - James Tully

9. Charles Taylor as polemicist [preview] - Hans Joas

10. For Charles Taylor. An appreciation - Nancy Fraser

11. Charles Taylor and dramatic narrative. Argument and genre [preview] - Alasdair MacIntyre

12. Philosophy and self-expression [preview] [German text] - Arto Laitinen

13. Higher goods and common goods. Strong evaluation in social life [preview] - Maeve Cooke

14. Thinking better of ourselves - Craig Calhoun

15. Taylor’s Hegel - Axel Honneth

16. Encounters with and impulses from Charles Taylor [preview] - Ludwig Nagl

17. Enlarging the dialogue - Richard J. Bernstein

18. Resonance – A key concept in the philosophy of Charles Taylor [preview] - Jürgen Goldstein

19. Cultures of democracy [preview] [German text] - Darío Montero

20. Essays in retrieval. Charles Taylor as a theorist of historical change [preview] - Paolo Costa

21. Freedom – A silent but significant thread across Taylor’s oeuvre [preview] - Ruth Abbey

22. The power of recognition. When Charles Taylor parsed personal identity [preview] - Amy Gutmann

23. Charles Taylor at the front line in Canadian politics [preview] - Guy Laforest

24. A letter to an old friend and colleague on his birthday - Jürgen Habermas

Excerpt: "There is a simple explanation for my undying interest in your continuously evolving philosophical work: in my view, we still pursue the same project, although perhaps from opposing vantage points by now. At any rate, we continue to be linked by the same topics, beginning with the “politics of recognition” in our multicultural immigrant societies up to the more profound historical and philosophical debate on religion as one of the still-living spiritual manifestations of the present age. Your third major book, A Secular Age, has once again shown that you remain far ahead of my own thinking. Moreover, since 1996 I have not only understood the theoretical impact of your Catholic background much more clearly, but also the reason for our opposing perspectives: what from my point of view separates a secular from a religious self-understanding, namely the unreserved openness to fallibility and rational discourse across the board, appears to mean from your point of view a nongeneralizable element of just one among the many context-bound and incessantly competing worldviews. If, however, as you believe, this pluralism of worldviews (which we can reasonably expect to remain unresolved) is precisely what characterizes the unabatedly particularistic self-understanding of modernity, then I imagine you can live with our amicable disagreements quite well. For the future, I wish you more of the same energy and clear mind you have shown as a philosophical wanderer thus far."


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Samuel Freeman on Rawls, justice and liberalism


Liberalism and Distributive Justice

by Samuel Freeman

(Oxford University Press, 2018)

368 pages




Description

Samuel Freeman is a leading political philosopher and one of the foremost authorities on the works of John Rawls. Liberalism and Distributive Justice offers a series of Freeman's essays in contemporary political philosophy on three different forms of liberalism-classical liberalism, libertarianism, and the high liberal tradition-and their relation to capitalism, the welfare state, and economic justice. Freeman organizes his chapters into a narrative arc: from liberalism as the dominant political and economic system, to the laws governing interpersonal transactions in a liberal society, to the broad social and political structures that determine distributive justice. Freeman analyzes the primary differences between the classical and high liberal traditions and shows why libertarianism is not a liberal view. He then shows how Rawls's liberal principles of justice and the difference principle are to be applied in both ideal and non-ideal circumstances, and also to questions of private law, and then demonstrates why Rawls's difference principle supports a property-owning democracy rather than welfare-state capitalism, effectively responding to criticisms by Amartya Sen, G.A. Cohen, and others. Finally, he argues for the social rather than global bases of distributive justice and explains why principles of distributive justice should apply primarily to structure basic social and economic institutions.

Contents

Introduction [abstract]

Part I. Liberalism, Libertarianism, and Economic Justice

1. Capitalism in the Classical and High Liberal Traditions [pdf]
2. Illiberal Libertarians: Why Libertarianism is not a Liberal View [abstract]

Part II. Distributive Justice and the Difference Principle

3. Rawls on Distributive Justice and the Difference Principle [abstract]
4. Property-Owning Democracy and the Difference Principle [pdf]
5. Private Law and Rawls's Principles of Justice [abstract]

Part III. Liberal Institutions and Distributive Justice

6. The Social and Institutional Bases of Distributive Justice [abstract]
7. The Basic Structure of Society as the Primary Subject of Justice [abstract]
8. Ideal Theory and the Justice of Institutions [abstract]
9. Constructivism, Facts, and Moral Justification [pdf]

Samuel Freeman is Professor of Philosophy and of Law at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of "Justice and the Social Contract" (Oxford University Press, 2007) and of "Rawls" (Routledge, 2007). He is the editor of "The Collected Papers of John Rawls" (Harvard University Press, 1999), "The Cambridge Companion to Rawls" (Cambridge University Press, 2002), and John Rawls's "Essays in the History of Political Philosophy" (Harvard University Press, 2007).

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Jürgen Habermas and Gershom Scholem

Interview with Thomas Sparr on Jürgen Habermas and the Jewish philosopher Gershom Scholem:

Thomas Sparr im Gespräch (video, 18 minutes)


See also Habermas's four texts on Scholem:

* "Die verkleidete Tora. Rede zum 80. Geburtstag von Gershom Scholem" (preview), Merkur no. 356 (1978), pp 96-104. Reprinted in Habermas - Philosophisch-politische Profile (Suhrkamp 1981). English translation in Habermas - Philosophical-political Profiles (MIT Press, 1083).

* „Tod in Jerusalem. Am Grabe von Gershom Scholem - am Ende einer Ära“, Merkur no. 406 (1982), pp, 438-439.

"In der Geschichte das Andere der Geschichte aufspüren. Zu Gershom Scholems "Sabbatai Zwi"", Babylon. Beiträge zur jüdische Gegenwart, Heft 10-11 (1992), pp. 139-145. Reprinted in Habermas - Vom sinnlichen Eindruck zum symbolischen Ausdruck (Suhrkamp 1997). English translation in Habermas - The Liberating Power of Symbols (Polity Press, 2001) and in Habermas - Religion and Rationality (Polity Press, 2002).

* ”Begegnungen mit Gershom Scholem”, Münchner Beiträge zur Jüdischen Geschichte und Kultur no. 2 (2007), pp. 9-18.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Call for Papers: "Habermas on Religion"

"European Journal for Philosophy of Religion" is announcing a special issue on "Habermas on Religion". The guest editors are Klaus Viertbauer and Maureen Junker-Kenny. 

See the Call for Papers here [pdf].

Deadline for submission is December 15, 2018.



Klaus Viertbauer is co-editor (with Franz Gruber) of "Habermas und die Religion" (Wissenschaftlichen Buchgesellschaft WBG, 2017). 

Maureen Junker-Kenny is the author of "Habermas and Theology" (Continuum, 2011) and "Religion and Public Reason. A Comparison of the Positions of John Rawls, Jürgen Habermas and Paul Ricoeur" (De Gruyter, 2014).

Friday, July 13, 2018

Workshop with Habermas: The Future of Deliberative Democracy

Jürgen Habermas participated in a workshop on "The Future of Deliberative Democracy" at the University of Stuttgart, July 2, 2018.

See a report on the workshop here.

Excerpts from the report:
"A unique and fascinating workshop at the University of Stuttgart brought Jürgen Habermas in dialogue with leading deliberative democrats and framing scholars, including Jane Mansbridge, John Dryzek, Simone Chambers, Hélène Landemore, Maija Setälä and Rune Slothuus. Organized by André Bächtiger in collaboration with the IZKT (Internationales Zentrum für Kultur- und Technikforschung der Universität Stuttgart), the workshop aimed at clarifying longstanding conceptual issues while at the same time sketching future avenues for deliberative practice and research. The workshop was organized in connection with the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy (eds. André Bächtiger, John Dryzek, Jane Mansbridge and Mark Warren).

Conceptual issues
A first part of the workshop was dedicated to conceptual issues. Habermas partly contested a minimal (and pluralistic) conception of deliberative democracy, defining deliberation as “mutual communication that involves weighing and reflecting on preferences, values and interests regarding matters of common concern.” (Introduction to the Handbook). According to Habermas, such a minimal definition may be “too liberal” and “individualistic”, underestimating the importance of an inclusive and intersubjectively-shared argumentative process, where participants develop consensual and binding norms together. Such an inclusive and intersubjectively-shared process, so Habermas, is essential to produce legitimacy and social integration in modern societies where a commonly shared religious or moral frame is absent.

Epistemic dimensions of deliberative democracy
A second part of the workshop focused on the epistemic dimensions of deliberative democracy. In a fascinating exchange between Jürgen Habermas and Hélène Landemore, two visions of epistemic deliberation emerged: a fully proceduralist vision of epistemic advancement, on the one hand, where participants develop epistemically better answers in the deliberative process in a “co-creative” process (Habermas); and a more procedure-independent vision of epistemic advancement, on the other hand, where “truth” is given externally and is “discovered” by the participants in the deliberative process (Landemore).
(.......)

The workshop ended with an emotional appeal by Jürgen Habermas to understand “the force of the better argument” as a key element to make democracies viable in the 21st century."

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Five Philosophical Introductions by Habermas


Philosophical Introductions
Five Approaches to Communicative Reason

by Jürgen Habermas

(Polity Press, 2018)

212 pages



Description

On the occasion of Habermas’s 80th birthday in 2009, the German publisher Suhrkamp brought out five volumes of Habermas’s work that spanned the full range his philosophical work - "Philosophische Texte" (Suhrkamp Verlag). For each of these volumes, Habermas wrote an introduction that crystallized, in a remarkably clear and succinct way, his thinking on the key philosophical issues that have preoccupied him throughout his long career. This new book brings together these five introductions.

Translated by Ciaran Cronin. 

Contents [Preview]

Preface (2016)

Introduction: The Work of Jürgen Habermas - Jean-Marc Durand-Gasselin (pp. 1-59)

1. Foundations of Sociology in the Theory of Language

2. Theory of Rationality and Theory of Meaning
2.1 Formal Pragmatics
2.2 Communicative Rationality
2.3. Discourse Theory of Truth
2.4 On Epistemology

3. Discourse Ethics
3.1 Moral Theory
3.2 On the System of Practical Discourses

4. Political Theory
4.1 Democracy
4.2 The Constitutional State
4.3 Nation, Culture and Religion
4.4 Constitutionalization of International Law?

5. Critique of Reason
5.1 Metaphilosophical Reflections
5.2 Postmetaphysical Thinking
5.3 The Challenge of Naturalism
5.4 The Challenge of Religion

Excerpt from Habermas's preface to the English translation:

"In no other place have I attempted to provide an "overview" of my philosophy, if I may speak in such terms, as a whole. For several decades I have had the vexing experience that, as our discipline becomes inexorably more specialized, my publications are no longer read as attempts to develop a philosophical conception as a whole. Rather than being read as a generalist's contributions to certain aspects of the theory of rationality or the theory of action, political theory or the theory of law, moral theory, language pragmatics or, specifically, social theory, they are interpreted in "fragmented" form. This is why the synoptic view provided by these "introductions" is close to my heart...."

Monday, July 09, 2018

Axel Honneth on Habermas and Europe

Simone Miller interviews professor Axel Honneth on Habermas's commitment to a democratic Europe and on the political problems in the European countries:

"Wir erleben die Folgen eines geistigen Umbruchs" (audio, 32 minutes)
(Deutschlandsfunk Kultur, July 8, 2018)

Axel Honneth has just published a new book entitled "Anerkennung. Eine europäische Ideengeschichte" (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2018). 

Sunday, July 08, 2018

New book on Rawls's Egalitarianism



Rawls's Egalitarianism

by Alexander Kaufman

(Cambridge University Press, 2018)

288 pages




Description

This is a new interpretation and analysis of John Rawls's leading theory of distributive justice, which also considers the responding egalitarian theories of scholars such as Richard Arneson, G. A. Cohen, Ronald Dworkin, Martha Nussbaum, John Roemer, and Amartya Sen. Rawls's theory, Kaufman argues, sets out a normative ideal of justice that incorporates an account of the structure and character of relations that are appropriate for members of society viewed as free and equal moral beings. Forging an approach distinct amongst contemporary theories of equality, Rawls offers an alternative to egalitarian justice methodologies that aim primarily to compensate victims for undeserved bad luck. For Rawls, the values that ground the most plausible account of egalitarianism are real equality of economic opportunity combined with the guarantee of a fair distribution of social goods.

Contents [preview]

Introduction [pdf]

Part 1. Justification

1. Rawls's Practical Conception of Justice [preview]
2. Stability, Fit, and Consensus
3. Rawls and Ethical Constructivism
4. A Satisfactory Minimum Conception of Justice

Part 2. Democratic Equality

5. The Difference Principle: Cohen's Ambiguities
6. Justice as Fairness and Fair Equality of Opportunity
7. Democratic Equality
8. Ideal Theory and Practical Judgment
9. Poverty, Inequality, and Justice

Alexander Kaufman is Associate Professor of political science at the University of Georgia. He is the author of "Welfare in the Kantian State" (Oxford University Press, 1999). And he is the editor of "Capabilities Equality: Basic Issues and Problems" (Routledge, 2005) and of "Distributive Justice and Access to Advantage. G. A. Cohen's Egalitarianism" (Cambridge University Press, 2014).