Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Essays on Habermas and Law

New Book: Habermas and Law 

Ed. by Hugh Baxter

(Routledge, 2017)

467 pages

Description

Habermas and Law makes accessible the most important essays in English that deal with the application to law of the work of major philosophers for whom law was not a main concern. It encompasses not only what these philosophers had to say about law but also brings together essays which consider those aspects of the work of major philosophers which bear on our interpretation and assessment of current law and legal theory.

Contents

Introduction - Hugh Baxter

Part 1. The Emergence and Development of Law as a Central Theme in Habermas’s Thought

1. Capitalism, Law, and Social Criticism [pre-view] - William Scheuerman 

Part 2. Grounding of Basic Rights

2. Basic Rights and Democracy in Jürgen Habermas’s Procedural Paradigm of the Law [abstract] - Robert Alexy 

3. Justification and Application: The Revival of the Rawls-Habermas Debate [pdf] - Jørgen Pedersen

Part 3. Democratic Deliberation

4. The Unforced Force of the Better Argument: Reason and Power in Habermas’ Political Theory [pre-view] - Amy Allen

5. No-Saying in Habermas [pdf] - Stephen K. White & Evan Robert Far

6. Norms, Motives, and Radical Democracy: Habermas and the Problem of Motivation [pre-view] - Daniel Munro

Part 4. Constitutions and Judicial Review

7. Morality, Identity, and Constitutional Patriotism [abstract] - Frank Michelman 

8. On the Possibility of a Democratic Constitutional Founding: Habermas and Michelman in Dialogue [pre-view] - Ciaran Cronin 

9. Coping with Constitutional Indeterminacy [pdf] - Todd Hedrick

10. Paradoxes of Constitutional Democracy [doc] - Kevin Olson 

11. Constitutional Rights, Balancing, and Rationality [pdf] - Robert Alexy 

Part 5. Religion and the Public Sphere

12. Religion in the Public Sphere: Remarks on Habermas' Conception of Public Deliberation in Post-secular Societies [pre-view] - Cristina Lafont

13. Habermas, Religion, and the Ethics of Citizenship - James W. Boettcher 

14. Habermas and the Aporia of Translating Religion in Democracy - Badredine Arfi 

Part 6. Globalization and Democracy Beyond the Nation-State

15. Does Europe Need Common Values? Habermas vs. Habermas - Justine Lacroix 

16. Why Europeans Will Not Embrace Constitutional Patriotism - Mattias Kumm

17. Transnationalizing the Public Sphere - Nancy Fraser 

18. Tasks of a Global Civil Society: Held, Habermas, and Democratic Legitimacy beyond the Nation-State [pdf] - Adam Lupel 

19. Globalizing Democracy, Reflections on Habermas’s Radicalism [pdf] - Pauline Johnson 

20. Towards a Discourse-Theoretical Account of Authority and Obligation in the Postnational Constellation - Jonathan Trejo-Mathys 


Hugh Baxter is Professor of Law and Philosophy at Boston University. He is the author of "Habermas: The Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy" (Stanford University Press, 2011). See a symposium discussion on Baxter's book here.

See also three papers by Hugh Baxter:

*  "Habermas's Sociological and Normative Theory of Law and Democracy: A Reply to Wirts, Flynn, and Zurn" (2014)

* "Habermas's Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy" (2002)

* "System and Lifeworld in Habermas's Theory of Law" (2002)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

New Book on Habermas and Social Research


Habermas and Social Research

Ed. by Mark Murphy

(Routledge, 2017)

214 pages





Description

One of the greatest contributors to the field of sociology, Jürgen Habermas has had a wide-ranging and significant impact on understandings of social change and social conflict. He has inspired researchers in a range of disciplines with his multidimensional social theory, however an overview of his theory in applied settings is long overdue.
This collection brings together in one convenient volume a set of researchers who place Jürgen Habermas’ key concepts such as colonisation, deliberation and communication at the centre of their research methodologies. 

Contents [pre-view

1. Introduction: Putting Habermas to work in social research - Mark Murphy 

Part 1: Research on Colonisation

2. Habermas in the context of social movements research: Colonisation as a living battle - Gemma Edwards 
3. Habermas’ critical theory as an alternative research paradigm: The case of Everglades environmental policy [paper] - Claire Connolly Knox 
4. Habermas and the self-regulation of complementary and alternative medicine - Peter Kennedy 

Part 2: The politics of deliberation 1: Research on the public sphere

5. Working with and thinking against Habermas - Judith Bessant 
6. Digitizing Habermas: Digital public spheres & networked publics - Bjarki Valtysson 

Part 3: The politics of deliberation 2: Research on inclusion

7. Parental involvement in school: Applying Habermas’ theoretical framework - Anne Dorthe Tveit 
8. Looking at participation through the lens of Habermas’ theory: opportunities to bridge the gap between lifeworld and system? - Susan Woelders & Tineke Abma 

Part 4: Communicative (inter)actions 1: School and migration studies

9. Transnationalism as communicative action: Putting Habermas to work in migration studies [paper] - Thomas Lacroix 
10. Young children’s educational practice in preschool in relation to Habermas’ philosophical perspective - Anette Emilson 

Part 5: Communicative (inter)actions 2: The planning process 

11. Bridging the theory and method nexus in planning: The potential and limits of Habermas for urban planning scholarship - Crystal Legacy and Alan Marc
12. Habermas and the role of linguistic interaction in environmental planning: An East European case study - Maie Kiisel

Mark Murphy is Reader in Education & Public Policy at the University of Glasgow. He is the editor of "Social Theory and Education Research: Understanding Foucault, Habermas, Bourdieu and Derrida" (Routledge, 2013). 

Friday, January 06, 2017

Habermas on citizen equality in the EU

A new article in English by Jürgen Habermas:

"Citizen and State Equality in a Supranational Political Community: Degressive Proportionality and the Pouvoir Constituant Mixte"
(Journal of Common Market Studies, forthcoming 2017)

Abstract

In the European Parliament seats are distributed according to a principle of degressive proportionality that privileges smaller member states. While serving the principle of state equality, this arrangement seems to violate the principle of citizen equality. In this article, I consider whether a deviation from the equal representation of citizens can be justified in the context of a supranational political community. The main thesis is that the conflict between citizen and state equality can be dissolved if we understand the European Union as based on a pouvoir constituant mixte. Today, each European finds herself in a dual role as an EU citizen and a state citizen. While the member state peoples strive for supranational democracy, they have an interest in preserving their domestic structures of self-government. Thus, the rules of representation in the EP can be reconstructed as an expression of the legitimate will of a dual constituent subject.

The text is a revised version of an article published in the German journal "Der Staat" in 2014: 
Zur Prinzipienkonkurrenz von Bürgergleichheit und Staatengleichheit im supranationalen Gemeinwesen. Eine Notiz aus Anlass der Frage nach der Legitimität der ungleichen Repräsentation der Bürger im Europäischen Parlament”, Der Staat vol. 53, no. 2 (2014), pp. 167-192.


See also Jürgen Habermas's papers on 

* "Democracy in Europe" (2014)

* "The Crisis of  the European Union in the Light of  a Constitutionalization of International Law" (2012)

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Forthcoming books on Jürgen Habermas


Habermas and Law
HUGH BAXTER (ed.)
(Routledge)

Habermas and Feminism
TAINE DUNCAN
(Palgrave MacMillan)

Postsäkulare Gesellschaft und Religion: Zum Spätwerk von Jürgen Habermas
TOBIAS RENNER
(Verlag Herder)

Habermas and Giddens on Modernity
CRAIG BROWNE
(Anthem Press)

Habermas und die Religion
FRANZ GRUBER & KLAUS VIERTBAUER (eds.)
(WBG)

Habermas Lexicon
AMY ALLEN & EDUARDO MENDIETA (eds.)
(Cambridge University Press)

Jürgen Habermas
HAUKE BRUNKHORST, REGINA KREIDE & CRISTINA LAFONT (eds.)
(Columbia University Press)


And an English translation of Habermas's latest book on philosophy:

Postmetaphysical Thinking II
JÜRGEN HABERMAS
(Polity Press)

Monday, January 02, 2017

Derek Parfit Dies at 74

Derek Parfit died on January 1, 2017. He was 74.

Links to obituaries and remembrances here.














See Larissa MacFarquhar's portrait of Derek Parfit in "The New Yorker" September 2011: "How to be Good".

The third volume of Derek Parfit's work "On What Matters" will come out on Oxford University Press in February.


At "Daily Nous", Professor Peter Singer quotes a text from Parfit's "On What Matters" Volume 3. Peter Singer writes:

"Derek’s On What Matters, Volume Three is in press and will be published by OUP in February. A large part of it consists of responses to the essays in the companion volume I have edited, Does Anything Really Matter: Essays on Parfit on Objectivity, which will be published at the same time.

Derek shared the final version of On What Matters Volume Three with me, and it seems fitting now to share the final paragraphs, which give a brief statement of what Derek considered matters most, as well as an indication of what we have lost by his inability to complete his larger project.

I regret that, in a book called On What Matters, I have said so little about what matters. I hope to say more in what would be my Volume Four. I shall end this volume with slight revisions of some of my earlier claims.
One thing that greatly matters is the failure of we rich people to prevent, as we so easily could, much of the suffering and many of the early deaths of the poorest people in the world. The money that we spend on an evening’s entertainment might instead save some poor person from death, blindness, or chronic and severe pain. If we believe that, in our treatment of these poorest people, we are not acting wrongly, we are like those who believed that they were justified in having slaves.
Some of us ask how much of our wealth we rich people ought to give to these poorest people. But that question wrongly assumes that our wealth is ours to give. This wealth is legally ours. But these poorest people have much stronger moral claims to some of this wealth. We ought to transfer to these people, in ways that I mention in a note, at least ten per cent of what we earn.
What now matters most is how we respond to various risks to the survival of humanity. We are creating some of these risks, and discovering how we could respond to these and other risks. If we reduce these risks, and humanity survives the next few centuries, our descendants or successors could end these risks by spreading through this galaxy.
Life can be wonderful as well as terrible, and we shall increasingly have the power to make life good. Since human history may be only just beginning, we can expect that future humans, or supra-humans, may achieve some great goods that we cannot now even imagine. In Nietzsche’s words, there has never been such a new dawn and clear horizon, and such an open sea.
If we are the only rational beings in the Universe, as some recent evidence suggests, it matters even more whether we shall have descendants or successors during the billions of years in which that would be possible. Some of our successors might live lives and create worlds that, though failing to justify past suffering, would give us all, including some of those who have suffered, reasons to be glad that the Universe exists.”"

Talk by Derek Parfit on ”Giving What We Can”, The Oxford Union, 2015.
.

Derek Parfit: "On What Matters" volume 3



On What Matters
Volume Three

by Derek Parfit

(Oxford University Press, 2017)

488 pages




Description

Derek Parfit presents the third volume of On What Matters, his landmark work of moral philosophy. Parfit develops further his influential treatment of reasons, normativity, the meaning of moral discourse, and the status of morality. He engages with his critics, and shows the way to resolution of their differences.
This volume is partly about what it is for things to matter, in the sense that we all have reasons to care about these things. Much of the book discusses three of the main kinds of meta-ethical theory: Normative Naturalism, Quasi-Realist Expressivism, and Non-Metaphysical Non-Naturalism, which Derek Parfit now calls Non-Realist Cognitivism. This third theory claims that, if we use the word 'reality' in an ontologically weighty sense, irreducibly normative truths have no mysterious or incredible ontological implications. If instead we use 'reality' in a wide sense, according to which all truths are truths about reality, this theory claims that some non-empirically discoverable truths-such as logical, mathematical, modal, and some normative truths-raise no difficult ontological questions.
Parfit discusses these theories partly by commenting on the views of some of the contributors to Peter Singer's collection Does Anything Really Matter? Parfit on Objectivity (Oxford University Press, 2017). 

Contents [pre-view]

Preface

Summary

Part Seven: Irreducibly Normative Truths
37. How Things Might Matter
38. Normative and Natural Truths
39. Gibbard's Offer to Non-Naturalists
40. Railton's Defence of Soft Naturalism
41. Railton's Resolution of our Disagreements
42. Jackson's Non-Empirical Normative Truths
43. Schroeder's Conservative Reductive Thesis

Part Eight: Expressivist Truths
44. Quasi-Realist Expressivism
45. Gibbard's Resolution of our Disagreements
46: Another Triple Theory

Part Nine: Normative and Psychological Reasons
47. Expressivist Reasons
48. Subjectivist Reasons
49. Street's Meta-Ethical Constructivism
50. Morality, Blame, and Internal Reasons
51: Nietzsche's Mountain
52. What Matters and Universal Reasons
53. Act Consequentialism, Reasons, and Morality

Derek Parfit died on January 1, 2017.

He was a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. He was the author of "Reasons and Persons" (Oxford University Press, 1984), and "On What Matters" Volume One and Volume Two (Oxford University Press, 2011).

See two recent papers by Derek Parfit:

* "Conflicting Reasons" (Etica & Politica, 2016)
* "Personal and Omnipersonal Duties" (The Harvard Review of Philosophy, 2016).

See also Larissa MacFarquhar's portrait of Derek Parfit in "The New Yorker" September 2011: "How to be Good".



Sunday, January 01, 2017

Essays on Derek Parfit on Metaethics



Does Anything Really Matter?

Essays on Parfit on Objectivity

Ed. by Peter Singer

(Oxford University Press, 2017)

320 pages



Description

In the first two volumes of On What Matters Derek Parfit argues that there are objective moral truths, and other normative truths about what we have reasons to believe, and to want, and to do. He thus challenges a view of the role of reason in action that can be traced back to David Hume, and is widely assumed to be correct, not only by philosophers but also by economists. In defending his view, Parfit argues that if there are no objective normative truths, nihilism follows, and nothing matters. He criticizes, often forcefully, many leading contemporary philosophers working on the nature of ethics, including Simon Blackburn, Stephen Darwall, Allen Gibbard, Frank Jackson, Peter Railton, Mark Schroeder, Michael Smith, and Sharon Street. Does Anything Really Matter? gives these philosophers an opportunity to respond to Parfit's criticisms, and includes essays on Parfit's views by Richard Chappell, Andrew Huddleston, Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer, Bruce Russell, and Larry Temkin. A third volume of On What Matters, in which Parfit engages with his critics and breaks new ground in finding significant agreement between his own views and theirs, is appearing as a separate companion volume.

Contents [pre-view]

Preface - Peter Singer

1. Has Parfit's Life Been Wasted? - Larry Temkin
2. Two Sides of the Meta-Ethical Mountain? [pdf] - Peter Railton
3. Parfit on Normative Properties and Disagreement - Allan Gibbard
4. All Souls Night - Simon Blackburn
5. Parfit's Mistaken Metaethics [pdf] - Michael Smith
6. Nothing 'Really' Matters, but That's Not What Matters [Draft] - Sharon Street
7: Knowing What Matters - Richard Chappell
8. Nietzsche and the Hope of Normative Convergence - Andrew Huddleston
9. In Defence Of Reductionism In Ethics [pdf] - Frank Jackson
10. What Matters about Metaethics? [pdf] - Mark Schroeder
11. A Defense of Moral Intuitionism - Bruce Russell
12. Morality, Blame, and Internal Reasons - Stephen Darwall
13. Parfit on Objectivity and 'The Profoundest Problem of Ethics' [Related paper] - Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek & Peter Singer

See some of my previous blog posts on Derek Parfit's work:

* Derek Parfit's On What Matters (OUP, 2011)
* Reviews of Derek Parfit's book 
* Critical essays on Derek Parfit (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Cicero's list of most influential intellectuals

The top 10 of Cicero’s list of the most influential intellectuals in the German-speaking world (2016):

1. Martin Walser
2. Peter Sloterdijk
3. Peter Handke
4. Hans-Werner Sinn
5. Thilo Sarrazin
6. Jürgen Habermas
7. Alice Schwarzer
8. Elfriede Jelinek
9. Stefan Aust
10. Hans Magnus Enzenberger

From the rest of the list:

15. Alexander Kluge
18. Daniel Kehlmann
20. Herta Müller
70. Hartmut Rosa
71. Julian Nida-Rümelin
135. Hans Joas
183. Axel Honneth
251. Wolfgang Streeck


Monday, December 19, 2016

New Book on Property-Owning Democracy



Republic of Equals
Predistribution and Property-Owning Democracy

by Alan Thomas

(Oxford University Press, 2016)

472 pages




Description

The first book length study of property-owning democracy, Republic of Equals argues that a society in which capital is universally accessible to all citizens is uniquely placed to meet the demands of justice. Arguing from a basis in liberal-republican principles, this expanded conception of the economic structure of society contextualizes the market to make its transactions fair. The author shows that a property-owning democracy structures economic incentives such that the domination of one agent by another in the market is structurally impossible. The result is a renovated form of capitalism in which the free market is no longer a threat to social democratic values, but is potentially convergent with them. It is argued that a property-owning democracy has advantages that give it priority over rival forms of social organization such as welfare state capitalism and market socialist institutions. The book also addresses the currently high levels of inequality in the societies of the developed West to suggest a range of policies that target the "New Inequality" of our times. 

Contents [preview]

Introduction

1. Rawls, Republicanism and Liberal-Republicanism
2. Justice, Pareto and Equality
3. G. A. Cohen's Neo-Marxist Critique of Rawls
4. Three Forms of Republican Egalitarianism
5. A Liberal-Republican Economic System
6. Rawls's Critique of Welfare State Capitalism
7. Property-Owning Democracy Versus Market Socialism
8. Towards a Pluralistic Commonwealth
9. Classical Liberalism and Property-Owning Democracy
10. A Realistic Utopianism?
11. Inequality and Globalization
Conclusion: Nothing is Obvious

Alan Thomas is Professor of Ethics at the University of York. He is the author of "Value and Context: The Nature Of Moral And Political Knowledge" (Oxford University Press, 2006), "Bernard Williams" (Cambridge University Press, 2007), and "Thomas Nagel" (Routledge, 2008).

See also some of Alan Thomas's papers: 

* "Liberalism, Republicanism and the Idea of an Egalitarian Ethos" [pdf]

* "Rawls, Piketty and the New Inequality"

* "Rawls and Political Realism: Realistic Utopianism or Judgement in Bad Faith?" [pdf]

* "What Does A Liberal Society Demand Of Its Citizens?"


Alan Thomas is running a blog "ethicssocialphilosophy".


My previous blog posts on property-owning democracy here and here.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Habermas on Communicative Reason (new interview)

The recent issue of ”Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie” (vol. 64 no. 5) contains an interview with Jürgen Habermas on his concept of communicative reason – ”kommunikative Vernunft”. 

The interview is conducted by Professor Christoph Demmerling (Jena) and Professor Hans-Peter Krüger (Potsdam).

Abstract in English:

Jürgen Habermas explicates the concept of communicative reason. He explains the key assumptions of the philosophy of language and social theory associated with this concept. Also discussed is the category of life-world and the role of the body-mind difference for the consciousness of exclusivity in our access to subjective experience. as well as the role of emotions and perceptions in the context of a theory of communicative action. The question of the redemption of the various validity claims as they are associated with the performance of speech acts is related to processes of social learning and to the role of negative experiences. Finally the interview deals with the relationship between religion and reason and the importance of religion in modern, post-secular societies. Questions about the philosophical culture of our present times are discussed at the end of the conversation.

Excerpts from the interview:

Demmerling: (……) Versucht man, sich Ihr philosophisches Werk als Ganzes vor Augen zu führen, wird schnell deutlich, dass Sie Theorieangebote aus beinahe allen Strömungen der Philosophie aufgegriffen haben, um auf den ersten Blick ganz unterschiedliche Fragen und Probleme im Rahmen einer Philosophie der kommunikativen Vernunft miteinander zu verbinden. Bei aller Heterogenität des von Ihnen verwendeten Materials: Gibt es so etwas wie eine ursprüngliche Einsicht, die alle anderen Einflüsse überstrahlt?

Habermas: Der heroische Gestus des einen tiefen Gedankens gehört zum fatalen deutsch-platonischen Erbe, mit dem meine Generation gebrochen hat. Man kann heute eine „Theorie aus einem Guss“ nicht mehr erwarten. (…….)

Wenn man nach einem Angelpunkt sucht, bildet natürlich der pragmatische Begriff der kommunikativen Vernunft den Kern alles Weiteren. Die Vernunft differenziert sich nach den deskriptiven, normativen und expressiven Modi der Verwendung von Aussagen. Die Einheit dieser differenzierten Vernunft stellt sich nur über die Verständigungsabsicht operativ, also im Vollzug der Kommunikation her. Ich sage Verständigungsabsicht, weil ohne die Orientierung am Ziel des Einverständnisses die Produktivkraft der Negation ihre Arbeit nicht tun könnte. Die einigende Kraft des Diskurses bewährt sich über Negationen von Negationen. Denn was wir „Vernunft“ nennen, besteht im Gebrauch der Vernunft. Dabei bilden Gründe die Münzen, in denen sich die Vernunft gewissermaßen auszahlt. Bei aller gebotenen Differenzierung zwischen den je nach Geltungsanspruch spezifischen Begründungsmustern sorgt der diskursive Austausch von Gründen für ein Kontinuum, das sogar die Verbindung zwischen theoretischer und praktischer Vernunft nicht ganz abbrechen lässt – obwohl beide nicht mehr in den metaphysischen und theologischen Grundbegriffen wie „Sein“, „Logos“ oder „Gott“ miteinander verklammert werden können. Mir fällt auf, dass die „kommunikative“ oft mit der „praktischen“ Vernunft verwechselt wird. Ich habe jedoch die „kommunikative Rationalität“ über die genannten Modi und Geltungsansprüche sprachtheoretisch als den umfassenderen Begriff eingeführt. Von diesem Begriff ausgehend, dienen mir sodann die Kommunikationsmodi als Leitfaden, um die ontologischen, sozialontologischen und subjekttheoretischen Voraussetzungen für Referenzen, also für die Bezugnahmen auf etwas in der objektiven, sozialen und subjektiven Welt, aufzuklären. Auf der anderen Seite führt die Analyse der Geltungsansprüche und der diskurstypischen Begründungsmuster zu den klassischen Fragen der Wahrheits- und der Erkenntnistheorie, der Moral- und Rechtstheorie sowie der Theorie der Gefühle, der ästhetischen Ausdrucksformen usw.

Demmerling: Was mich noch interessieren würde, ist Ihre Einschätzung der aktuellen Lage der Philosophie. Was sind die aus Ihrer Sicht maßgeblichen philosophischen Entwicklungen der letzten Jahre? (……)

Habermas: Das philosophische Klima hat sich geändert, nicht die Qualität der Arbeiten. Ich sehe viele produktive Untersuchungen – bei Ihren eigenen angefangen. Aber mit den Veröffentlichungen der jüngeren Kollegen, die ich auch in dieser Zeitschrift mit Interesse verfolge, bin ich doch nicht mehr ausreichend vertraut. Ein verallgemeinerndes Urteil traue ich mir nicht zu. Obwohl ich selbst kein Vorbild für lupenreine Professionalisierung bin, habe ich ja die Kleinteiligkeit der Analyse nicht gescheut; denn nichts kann die Philosophie mehr in Verruf bringen als rhetorisch ansteckende, aber argumentationsarme und assoziationsreiche Stichwortsynthesen. Das Gegenmittel ist weder die Patentierung des Berufsnamens noch eine Art der Verwissenschaftlichung, die die Disziplin in den begriffsanalytischen Hilfsdiensten für die Kognitionswissenschaften aufgehen lässt. Die wissenschaftliche Denkungsart macht aus der Philosophie keine Wissenschaft unter anderen. Jedenfalls solange nicht, wie sie sich ihrer eigentlichen Aufgabe, mit einem langen Gedächtnis zur Welt- und Selbstverständigung der Gegenwart beizutragen, bewusst bleibt. Dafür ist es hilfreich, sich daran zu erinnern, dass wir als Philosophen Zeitgenossen der Junghegelianer geblieben sind – und nicht des 17. Jahrhunderts.

Ich kann niemandem einen Rat geben, aber als (zu?) alt gewordener Kollege eine Erfahrung mitteilen. Angelsächsische Kollegen aus meiner Generation wie Donald Davidson, Ronny Dworkin, Dick Bernstein, Tom McCarthy, Tom Nagel, Hilary Putnam, John Rawls, Dick Rorty, John Searle, Chuck Taylor oder Bernard Williams haben uns in Frankfurt nicht deshalb besucht, und sie haben sich auch nicht deshalb für die Arbeiten von Karl-Otto Apel, Dieter Henrich, Friedrich Kambartel, Robert Spaemann, Michael Theunissen, Ernst Tugendhat und anderer Kollegen interessiert, weil wir, die die deutsche Philosophie erst für die angelsächsische geöffnet haben, nur noch über den Kanal oder den Atlantik geschaut hätten. Man muss voneinander lernen können. Ich vertraue auf meine Reputation, für Nationalismus unanfällig zu sein, wenn ich an die Selbstverständlichkeit erinnere, dass der sogenannte deutsche Idealismus, der von Kant bis Marx reicht, immer noch unausgeschöpfte Anregungspotentiale enthält. Freilich sollten wir ebenso wenig vergessen, dass der amerikanische Pragmatismus der einzige demokratische Zweig des Junghegelianismus gewesen ist.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Habermas: "For a Democratic Polarisation"

An English translation of a recent interview with Jürgen Habermas:

"For A Democratic Polarisation: How To Pull The Ground From Under Right-wing Populism"
(Social Europe, November 17, 2016)

Originally published in German in "Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik" (November 2016). 

Excerpts

"The new global disorder, the helplessness of the USA and Europe with regard to growing international conflicts, is profoundly unsettling and the humanitarian catastrophes in Syria or South Sudan unnerve us as well as Islamist acts of terror. Nevertheless, I cannot recognise in the constellation you indicate a uniform tendency towards a new authoritarianism but, rather, a variety of structural causes and many coincidences. What binds them together is the keyboard of nationalism and that has begun to be played meanwhile in the West. Even before Putin and Erdogan, Russia and Turkey were no “unblemished democracies.” If the West had pursued a somewhat cleverer policy, one might have set the course of relations with both countries differently – and liberal forces in their populaces might have been strengthened. (.....)

The economic globalisation that Washington introduced in the 1970s with its neoliberal agenda has brought in its wake, measured globally against China and the other emergent BRIC countries, a relative decline of the West. Our societies must work through domestically the awareness of this global decline together with the technology-induced, explosive growth in the complexity of everyday living. Nationalistic reactions are gaining ground in those social milieus that have either never or inadequately benefited from the prosperity gains of the big economies because the ever-promised “trickle-down effect” failed to materialise over the decades. (......)

As a sensible alternative (......) I would suggest there is only a supranational form of co-operation that pursues the goal of shaping a socially acceptable political reconfiguration of economic globalisation. International treaty regimes are insufficient here; for, putting aside completely their dubious democratic legitimacy, political decisions over questions of redistribution can only be carried out within a strict institutional framework. That leaves only the stony path to an institutional deepening and embedding of democratically legitimised co-operation across national borders. The European Union was once such a project – and a Political Union of the Eurozone could still be one. But the hurdles within the domestic decision-making process are rather high for that.
Since Clinton, Blair and Schröder social democrats have swung over to the prevailing neoliberal line in economic policies because that was or seemed to be promising in the political sense: in the “battle for the middle ground” these political parties thought they could win majorities only by adopting the neoliberal course of action. This meant taking on board toleration of long-standing and growing social inequalities. Meantime, this price – the economic and socio-cultural “hanging out to dry” of ever-greater parts of the populace – has clearly risen so high that the reaction to it has gone over to the right. And where else? If there is no credible and pro-active perspective, then protest simply retreats into expressivist, irrational forms. (.....)

In my estimate, domestic politicians mishandled right-wing populism from the start. The mistake of the established parties lies in acknowledging the battlefront that right-wing populism is defining: “We” up against the system. Here it matters hardly a jot whether this mistake takes the form of an assimilation to or a confrontation with “right-wing”. (.....)

One would therefore have to make contrasting political programmes recognisable again, including the contrast between the – in a political and cultural sense – “liberal” open-mindedness of the left, and the nativist fug of right-wing critiques of an unfettered economic globalization. In a word: political polarisation should be re-crystallised between the established parties on substantive conflicts. Parties that grant right-wing populists attention rather than contempt should not expect civil society to disdain right-wing phrases and violence."  

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Pierre Rosanvallon - "Die gute Regierung"



Die gute Regierung

von Pierre Rosanvallon

(Hamburger edition, 2016)

374 S.





Kurzbeschreibung

Die meisten politischen Systeme der westlichen Welt gelten als demokratisch – legitimiert durch freie Wahlen und einen Rechtsstaat, der sich zu den individuellen Freiheitsrechten bekennt und sie schützt. Laut Rosanvallon führen diese Legitimationsprinzipien zu einer Vorherrschaft der Exekutive: »Unsere politischen Systeme können als demokratisch bezeichnet werden, doch demokratisch regiert werden wir nicht.«
Die demokratische Teilhabe der Bürgerinnen und Bürger reduziert sich auf die Wahl von Repräsentanten und Regierenden, das heißt auf ein simples Verfahren zur Beglaubigung von Mächtigen und zur Bestätigung allgemeiner politischer Zielsetzungen. Wenn Demokratien zu reinen Genehmigungsdemokratien werden, sind soziale Verwerfungen die Folge. Im Extremfall können Genehmigungsdemokratien sogar diktatorische Züge aufweisen.
Auf der Grundlage seiner Analyse demokratischer Gegebenheiten entwirft Rosanvallon das Modell einer »Betätigungsdemokratie« als Garant einer guten Regierung. Eine Betätigungsdemokratie verkörpert die positive Seite des demokratischen Universalismus und ist der Schlüssel zum demokratischen Fortschritt. Voraussetzung ist, dass nicht nur die Exekutive, sondern auch Behörden, verschiedene Ebenen der Justiz und der gesamte öffentliche Dienst Umwandlungsprozesse vollziehen.
Rosanvallon fordert nicht weniger als eine demokratische Revolution, die über eine Neudefinition der Beziehungen zwischen Regierenden und Regierten führt – erst dann wird die Realisierung einer Gesellschaft der Gleichen denkbar. 

Inhalt 

Von einer Demokratie zur nächsten (Einleitung)  [pdf]  

I. Die exekutive Gewalt: Eine problematische Geschichte    

Die Inthronisierung des Gesetzes und die Degradierung der Exekutive
Der Kult der Unpersönlichkeit und seine Metamorphosen 
Das Zeitalter der Rehabilitierung
Die beiden Versuchungen  

II. Die Präsidialisierung der Demokratien

Wegweisende Experimente: 1848 und Weimar
Von der gaullistischen Ausnahme zur allgemeinen Präsidialisierung
Unumgänglich und problematisch
Die Regulierung des Illiberalismus

III. Die Aneignungsdemokratie 

Das Verhältnis von Regierenden und Regierten
Lesbarkeit
Verantwortung
Reaktivität

IV. Die Vertrauensdemokratie

Die Figuren des guten Regierenden
Wahrsprechen 
Integrität 

Die zweite demokratische Revolution (Schluss)

Pierre Rosanvallon ist Professor für Neuere und Neueste politische Geschichte am Collège de France und directeur de recherche an der École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS).

Rezensionen hier und hier.