Friday, August 12, 2022

New book by Habermas on deliberative democracy

Ein neuer Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit und die deliberative Politik

by Jürgen Habermas

(Suhrkamp Verlag, September 2022)

108 pages

Table of Contents [Preview]

1. Vorwort

2. Überlegungen und Hypothesen zu einem erneuten Strukturwandel der politischen Öffentlichkeit

A revised version of an essay originally published in Martin Seeliger & Sebastian Sevignani (eds.), Ein neuer Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit? (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2021), pp. 470-500.

3. Deliberative Demokratie. Ein Interview

An abridged version of "Interview with Jürgen Habermas", in: André Bächtiger, John S. Dryzek, Jane Mansbridge & Mark E. Warren (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018) pp. 871-882.

4. Was heißt "deliberative Demokratie"? Einwände und Missverständnisse

A revised version of "Foreword", in: Emilie Prattico (ed.), Habermas and the Crisis of Democracy. Interviews with Leading Thinkers (London: Routledge, 2022), pp. xiii-xix.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Rawls and the Social Bases of Political Theory

The new issue of "Analyse & Kritik" (vol. 44. no. 1, 2022) features articles on the social bases of political theory:

* Katrina ForresterLiberalism and Social Theory after John Rawls [PDF]

* Joel Isaac - Durkheimian Thoughts on "In the Shadow of Justice" [Abstract]

* Steven Lukes - Capitalism, Justice, and the Boundaries of Liberalism [Abstract]

* William Clare Roberts - Whose Realism? Which Legitimacy? Ideologies of Domination and Post-Rawlsian Political Theory [Abstract]

* Brad Baranowski - How to Do Things with Justice: Professor Rawls, 1962–1971 [Abstract]

* Bruce Kuklick - John Rawls and R. M. Hare: A Study of Canonization [Abstract]

Thanks to David A. Reidy for the pointer!

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Vittorio Hösle on Habermas's "Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie" (video)

From a session at the Catholic Academy in Berlin in June 2022: A lecture by Professor Vittorio Hösle on Jürgen Habermas's "Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie" (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2019):

* Lecture by Professor Vittorio Hösle (Notre Dame University): "Postmetaphysisch, Postsäkular? Jürgen Habermas über Glauben und Wissen[36 minutes]

[See also Hösle's extensive review of Habermas's book in "Philosophische Rundschau"]

* Comments by Professor Thomas M. Schmidt (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main) [12 minutes]

* Comments by Professor Gesine Schwan (Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform, Berlin) [16 minutes]

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Tocqueville Review: Rawls's "A Theory of Justice" at Fifty

The latest issue of "The Tocqueville Review" (vol. 43, no. 1) features articles on John Rawls's "A Theory of Justice":

* Catherine Audard & Michel Forsé - "Rawls's A Theory of Justice at Fifty: Introduction"

* Michael J. Sandel - "Remembering Rawls" [2002]

* James T. Kloppenberg - "John Rawls and "Our Tradition" of Democracy"


The notion of a clear distinction between Rawls's liberalism and social democracy rests on a caricatured conception of the liberal tradition and Rawls's place in it. From Rousseau, John Adams, and Madison through Tocqueville to Dewey, notable political theorists have sought to balance the two principles at the core of Rawls's A Theory of Justice. In this essay I sketch the ways in which American thinkers and activists escaped the cages in which commentators have tried to confine them, not only the false binary between liberalism and democratic socialism but also that between secularism and religious belief. As Rawls himself tried to make clear in his later writing, his ideal of justice drew from earlier theorists who understood the constitutive role of social interaction and inherited traditions, and he envisioned a society with room for people animated by comprehensive philosophical and religious ideas not shared by everyone else. Rawls's political liberalism, historicist as well as pluralist, was attuned as much to the threat inequality poses to freedom as to the endangered status of freedom in mass society. Rawls's ideas, especially as articulated in his book Justice as Fairness, remain a vital resource for social democrats who prize social and economic equality as well as individual liberty.

* Céline Spector - "De Rousseau à Rawls. La théorie de la justice comme «utopie réaliste»?"

* David A. Reidy - "Rawls and Racial Justice in The United States"

Abstract: It has become increasingly common for students and scholars to criticize Rawls's work as irrelevant, or worse, when it comes to issues of race and justice. Though he clearly judges both structural and systemic racial hierarchy and interpersonal racial disrespect to be non-controversially unjust, Rawls does not much explore, either in his ideal theory or in his non-ideal theory, issues at the intersection of race and justice. In this essay, drawing from both his texts and biography, I highlight some of Rawls's thoughts on, and the seriousness with which he approached, these matters. Though I do not attempt to answer all the criticisms that have been raised regarding Rawls's approach to issues of race and justice, I answer a few and to point the way toward resources that might prove fruitful in answering others. With respect to issues of race and justice, there are good reasons, better than critics typically acknowledge, to continue exploring the extent to which working from within a Rawlsian framework we can successfully think through our aspirational ideals and eliminate existing injustices.

* Philippe Van Parijs - "Qu'est-ce qu'une Europe juste ? Dialogue avec John Rawls" [2019]

* Claude Gamel - "Cheminement d'un économiste dans l'œuvre de John Rawls"

* Thomas Ferretti - "Justice Between Individuals: John Rawls and the Demands of Political Liberalism"

Abstract: John Rawls proposed "A Theory of Justice" (1971) aiming at building consensus in democratic societies. In the middle of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights movement, while Americans were strongly divided, Rawls' political liberalism offered a method to build political agreement between people with different and conflicting values and interests, to preserve peace and other benefits of stable social cooperation. Fifty years on, while authors like Katrina Forrester (2019 a, b) suggest moving on from the ideal of political consensus, other voices such as Catherine Audard (2019) remind us of the relevance of public reason in a world full of divisions. This paper builds a dialogue between these two influential authors to assess the legacy and relevance of Rawls' political philosophy today.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Habermas receives the order "Pour le Mérite"

Jürgen Habermas has received the order "Pour le Mérite" for sciences and arts, Germany’s highest Order of Merit

The list of recipients of the order includes: Jan Assmann (2020), Onora O'Neill (2014), Ralf Dahrendorf (2003), Umberto Eco (1998), Gershom Scholem (1981), Karl Popper (1980), and Hans-Georg Gadamer (1971).

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

A new "Afterword" to "Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie"

A paperback edition of Jürgen Habermas's "Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie" is now available. It features a new "Afterword" by Habermas - "Nachwort zur Taschenbuchausgabe", vol. 2, pp. 811-833. 

The "Afterword" has the following sections:

1. Warum Glauben und Wissen?

2. Die Bedeutung der Alternative zwischen Hume und Kant

3. Warum "auch" eine Geschichte der Philosophie?

4. Desozialisierung der Weltbilder

5. Detranszendentalisierte Vernunft und Emanzipation zur Freiheit

6. Die Motivationsschwäche der Vernunftmoral

7. Vernunft in der Geschichte - was bleibt davon?

Section 2, 5, and 7 reuse text from Jürgen Habermas, "Rückblick eines Autors", Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, vol. 69, no. 2 (2021), pp. 231-240. English: "An Author's Retrospective View", Constellations, vol. 28, no. 1 (2021), pp. 5-10. But the entire text has been rewritten.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

New book on Karl-Otto Apel

Karl-Otto Apel. Auf der Suche nach dem letzten Grund

Ed. by Reinhard Hesse

(Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2022)

236 pages

Table of contents [Preview]

"Einige einleitende und weierführende Gedanken" - Reinhard Hesse

1. Mein Bildungsgang - Karl-Otto Apel

2. Autobiographische Retrospektive - Karl-Otto Apel

3. Zur Retrospektive von Karl-Otto Apel - Jürgen Habermas (New essay!)

4. Karl-Otto Apel und die Zerstörung des moralischen Selbstbewusstseins - Vittorio Hösle

5. Sisyphos Karl-Otto Apel - Peter Naumann

6. In Erinnerung an meinen Vater - Dorothea Apel

7. My intellectual Biography in the Context of Contemporary Philosophy - Karl-Otto Apel

8. Kommentar zum Kapitel "Taking Issue with Habermas and others ..." Ein Missverständnis - Reinhard Hesse

9. Rekonstruktion der Vernunft durch Transformation der Transzendental-philosophie (Interview) - Karl-Otto Apel 

10. Gespräch mit Hauke Brunkhorst und Micha Brumlik (Interview) - Karl-Otto Apel

11. Apel und die Deutschen, das besondere Volk - Reinhard Hesse

12. Kondolenzschreiben von Bundespräsident Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Gewidmet Frau Judith Apel aus Anlass des 100. Geburtstages ihres Mannes.

See also my blog posts: 

* "New essays in honor of Karl-Otto Apel" (March 2020)

* "Habermas on Karl-Otto Apel (1922-2017)"

* "Karl-Otto Apel Dies at 95"  

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Timothy Snyder on Habermas

Timothy Snyder's response to Habermas's "Krieg und Empörung" / "War and Indignation" (Süddeutsche Zeitung, April 29, 2022):

"Deutschlands Verantwortung"

(Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, June 26, 2022)

English version:

"Jürgen Habermas and Ukraine: Germans have been involved in the war, chiefly on the wrong side" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, online June 27, 2022).

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

New book: Habermas and the Crisis of Democracy

Habermas and the Crisis of Democracy

Interviews with Leading Thinkers

Ed. by Emilie Prattico

(London: Routledge, June 2022)

220 pages

Table of contents 

Foreword [Preview], by Jürgen Habermas

Introduction, by Emilie Prattico 

1. Can some basic rights and liberties be given up to safeguard democracy? (With an interview with Hauke Brunkhorst)

2. How does actual deliberation confer legitimacy to democratic decisions? (With an interview with Cristina Lafont)

3. Why is "fake news" a crisis of democracy? (With an interview with Michael Lynch)

4. How can we build a public sphere together and share it in a world characterized by divisiveness and tribalism? (With an interview with Barbara Fultner)

5. Can democracy survive without the voice of experts? (With an interview with Kenneth Baynes)

6. How dangerous are the current forms of authoritarianism we are seeing take hold all over the world? (With an interview with Maria Pia Lara)

7. What does the public sphere look like with new technologies? (With an interview with Gertrud Koch)

8. What duties do we owe descendants of slaves and how do we reckon with our antidemocratic and oppressive past? (With an interview with Lorenzo Simpson).

From Jürgen Habermas's foreword:

"Emilie Prattico has used the lens of a discourse-theoretic conception of deliberative democracy to engage eight prominent colleagues in stimulating interviews. They critically illuminate the various ways that a sound democratic regime depends upon the deliberative milieu of an inclusive public sphere. The deliberative conception of democracy directs our attention to recent trends that point to another structural transformation of the public sphere in the digital age. Given the demands that democratic opinion- and will-formation place upon a more or less well-functioning public sphere, the emergence of “new media” has been a mixed blessing. Indeed, certain aspects of social media communication signal a worrisome backslide toward a special kind of political regression." 

Emilie Prattico is Director of Strategy at BCG BrightHouse, Paris. She studied philosophy at the University of Oxford, and at Northwestern University, where she studied with Habermas. Since completing her doctoral work "Is Democracy Egalitarian or Epistemic? A Habermasian Perspective on Deliberative Democracy(2013), she has focused her work on pushing for more ambitious climate action on the part of governments and companies. She co-author (with Edward Cameron) of the book "The New Corporate Climate Leadership" (Routledge, 2021).

Friday, May 13, 2022

Adam Tooze on Habermas

Adam Tooze on Habermas's essay on the war in Ukraine:

"After the Zeitenwende: Jürgen Habermas and Germany’s new identity crisis"

(The New Statesman, online 12-05-2022)

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Responses to Habermas's "Krieg und Empörung" [updated]

Responses to Jürgen Habermas's "Krieg und Empörung" / "War and Indignation" (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 29-04-2022):

"Selbst der Philosoph Jürgen Habermas muss sich für seine kluge und differenzierende Betrachtung der deutschen Waffenexport-Diskussion als “Putinversteher” verunglimpfen lassen. Daran merkt man, wie verrückt manche Debatte geworden ist." (Sigmar Gabriel, FOCUS 19/2022, May 7, 2022)

"Es ist wohl eher eine Frage des persönlichen Temperaments, ob man die Chance wahrnimmt und vor allem die Mühe auf sich nimmt, als Intellektueller öffentlich zu polarisierenden Fragen Stellung zu nehmen. Man muss mit Feindseligkeiten leben lernen. Und manchmal setzt man sich jahrzehntelanger Häme aus. Im Laufe der Zeit habe ich mich andererseits auch an eine Menge Lobreden gewöhnen dürfen." (Jürgen Habermas, Kölnische Rundschau 17-06-2004)

Johannes Schneider - "Im Land der Strohmänner", Die Zeit online 29-04-2022

Nora Bossong - "Er sieht uns ein bisschen naiver, als wir sind", Deutschlandsfunk Kultur online 29-04-2022

Thomas Schmid - "Wo Jürgen Habermas irrt – und wo er richtig liegt", Die Welt online 29-04-2022

Thomas Schmid - "Der Philosoph und der Krieg. Eine Antwort auf Jürgen Habermas", [blog] 29-04-2022; Die Welt 02-05-2022

Kurt Kister - "Gefühle am Anschlag", Süddeutsche Zeitung 30-04-2022

Thomas Ribi - "Die Ukraine darf nicht verlieren", Neue Zürcher Zeitung 30-04-2022

Simon Strauss - "Hart verteidigte Illusionen", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 30-04-2022

Gregor Dotzauer - "Aufrüstung und Entrüstung", Der Tagesspiegel 30-04-2022

Andreas Fanizadeh - "Gepard, Marder, Leopard und Co", taz - die Tageszeitung 30-04-2022

Karlheinz Weißmann - "Politikfremdheit als Methode", Junge Freiheit online 01-05-2022

Christian Rath - "Zurückhaltung ist gefährlich", taz - die Tageszeitung online 02-05-2022

Bernd Stegeman - "Churchill oder Habermas?", Cicero online 02-05-2022

Georg Diez - "Der deutsche Weg", Die Zeit online 02-05-2022

Marcel Fratzscher - "Die Hysterie der Ukraine-Debatte hilft Putin", Die Zeit online 03-05-2022

Thomas Risse - "Argumente und/oder Emotionen – Zum Beitrag von Jürgen Habermas in der Süddeutschen Zeitung", SCRIPTS (blog), 04-05-2022

Armin Thurnher - "Der Kriegskritiker Jürgen Habermas und seine Kritiker", Falter 04-05-2022

Cord Schmelzle - "Faktizität und Vergeltung", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 04-05-2022

Nora Bossong - "Habermas übersieht, dass auch die jüngere Generation von Krieg geprägt ist", taz - die Tageszeitung 04-05-2022

Marcus Thielking - "Krieg der Worte", Sächsische Zeitung 04-05-2022

Robert Habeck - "Wir treffen höchst bedrückende Entscheidungen" (Interview), Die Zeit 05-05-2022

Thomas Ribi - "“Kein Risiko eingehen” oder “keine Zeit verlieren”?", Neue Zürcher Zeitung 05-05-2022

Matthew Karnitschnig - "12 Germans who got played by Putin", Politico online 05-05-2022

Olaf Scholz - "Die Lage ist dramatisch" (interview), Stern 19/2022, 05-05-2022

Konrad Schuller - "Frieden mit dem Todfeind", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 08-05-2022

Robin Alexander - "Alte Argumente, neuer Frontverlauf", Welt am Sonntag, 08-05-2022

Herfried Münkler - "Ratgeber ohne Sachverstand", Die Zeit online 08-05-2022

Dieter Schnaas - "Erniedrigte und Beleidigte", WirtschaftsWoche online 08-05-2022

Andreas Kluth - "Germans Are Waging a War of Open Letters Over Ukraine and Russia", Washington Post online 11-05-2022

Slavoj Žižek - "Heroes of the Apocalypse", Project Syndicate 11-05-2022. German: "Angst vor einem Krieg ohne Ende", Der Standard online 20-05-2022. 

Peter Strasser - "Offener Brief: Die Intellektuellen und der Krieg", Die Furche 12-05-2022

Adam Tooze - "After the Zeitenwende: Jürgen Habermas and Germany’s new identity crisis", The New Statesman online 12-05-2022

Paul Mason - "Resistance is the road to freedom. A reply to Jürgen Habermas", Paul Mason News (blog), 14-05-2022. German: "Wenn wir keine Untoten werden wollen", Frankfurter Rundschau 21-05-2022

Gerald Heidegger - "Längerer Krieg, breitere Debatten", Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) online 14-05-2022

Jacques Schuster - "Wetzstein der Demokratie", Die Welt 19-05-2022

Wilfried Hinsch - "Nicht nur wir müssen eine Eskalation fürchten, auch Putin hat Grund zur Sorge" (interview), Die Welt online 19-05-2022

Anatoliy Yermolenko - "Widerstand statt Verhandlung", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 20-05-2022

Paul Mason - "Wacht auf!" (interview), taz - die Tageszeitung 21-05-2022

Veronika Grimm & Albrecht Ritschl - "Vernachlässigung mit Folgen", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 22-05-2022

Alexander Riebel - "Habermas wünscht einen Aufbruch ohne Wertekonsens", Die Tagespost online 24-05-2022

Daniel Johnson - "Germany’s crisis of conscience", The Critic June 2022

Anton Tarasyuk – "Der Vernunft der Alten ist naiv", Die Zeit, 15-06-2022

Timothy Snyder – "Deutschlands Verantwortung", Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, 26-06-2022. English: "Jürgen Habermas and Ukraine: Germans have been involved in the war, chiefly on the wrong side", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, online 27-06-2022

Marlene Streeruwitz – "Der grösste Rechtsbruch des Krieges besteht darin, dass es keine Rückkehr gibt" (Interview), Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 19-07-2022

Georg Diez – "Die neue Verrohung", Die Zeit online, 22-07-2022

Bruno Maçães – "Intellectual snobbery is hobbling support for Ukraine", The New Statesman, 30-07-2022. [see also: “"Dummheit gegen Verstand": Schwächen Intellektuelle die Ukraine?”, BR24, 28-07-2022] 

Ukraine's Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk on Twitter.

Listen to Patrick Breitenbach's podcast – "Reflektion zum Habermas Artikel “Krieg und Empörung”"

Friday, April 29, 2022

Habermas on the war in Ukraine – English translation

An English translation of Jürgen Habermas's article on the war in Ukraine (Süddeutsche Zeitung, April 29, 2022):

War and Indignation [paywall]

A shrill tone and moral blackmail: In the battle of opinions between former pacifists, a shocked public and a cautious chancellor following the invasion of Ukraine.

Update: Full text available on Reset: Dialogues on Civilizations


The medial presence of this war is holding sway over our daily lives in an unprecedented manner. (....) The result is a growing disquiet among onlookers in the West with each death, a growing shock with each murder, a growing indignation with each war crime – and the urgent desire to do something about it. The rational background against which these emotions are swelling up around the country is the obvious partisanship against Putin and a Russian government that has launched a massive war of aggression in violation of international law and which is pursuing a systematically barbaric manner of warfare in violation of humanitarian international law. (....) 

The dilemma that has forced the West to choose among alternatives in the range between two evils – a defeat of Ukraine or the escalation of a limited conflict into a third world war – is clear. On the one hand, we have learned from the Cold War that a war against a nuclear power can no longer be “won” in any reasonable sense, at least not with the means of military force within the limited timeline of a hot conflict. The nuclear threat means that the threatened side, whether it possesses nuclear weapons or not, cannot end the unbearable destruction caused by military force with victory, but at best only with a compromise that allows both sides to save face. Neither side is forced to accept a defeat or leave the battlefield as a “loser.” The cease-fire negotiations now taking place concurrently with the fighting are an expression of this insight; they enable for the time being the reciprocal view of the enemy as a possible negotiating partner. The Russian threat potential, to be sure, depends on the West believing that Putin is capable of deploying weapons of mass destruction. But the CIA has, in fact, warned in recent weeks of the danger that “tactical” nuclear weapons could be used (weapons that were apparently only developed to enable nuclear powers to wage war against each other). That gives the Russian side an asymmetrical advantage over Nato, which, because of the apocalyptic scale of a potential world war – with the participation of four nuclear powers – does not want to become party to this conflict.

It is now Putin who decides when the West crosses the threshold defined by international law – beyond which he views, formally as well, the West’s military support for Ukraine as participation in the war.

Given the risk of a global conflagration, which must be avoided at all costs, the indeterminacy of this decision allows no room whatsoever for risky speculation. Even if the West were cynical enough to allow for the risk implicit in the “warning” that such a “tactical” nuclear weapon may be deployed – i.e., to accept such a deployment in a worst-case scenario – who could guarantee that such an escalation could be stopped? What remains is a latitude for arguments that must be carefully weighed in light of the necessary expert knowledge and all the requisite information, not all of which is publicly available, to make well-founded decisions. The West, which, with the drastic sanctions it imposed early on, has already left no doubt about its de facto participation in this conflict, must therefore carefully weigh each additional degree of military support to determine whether it might cross the indeterminate boundary of formal entry into the war – indeterminate because it depends on Putin’s own definition.

On the other hand, the West – as Russia well knows – cannot allow itself to be continually blackmailed. Were the allies to simply leave Ukraine to its fate, it wouldn’t just be a scandal from a political-moral perspective, it would also be counter to the West’s interests. Because then, it would have to be prepared to play the same game of Russian roulette in Georgia or Moldova – and who might be next on the list? To be sure, the asymmetry that could drive the West into a dead end in the long term only endures for as long as it continues to shy away – for good reason – from the risk of a nuclear war. Consequently, the argument which holds that Putin should not be driven into a corner because he is capable of anything is countered by the contention that precisely this “policy of fear” gives the opponent a free hand to continue escalating the conflict step by step, as Ralf Fücks recently pointed out in this newspaper. This argument, too, of course, merely confirms the nature of a situation that is essentially unpredictable. Because as long as we are determined for good reason to avoid becoming a party to this war to protect Ukraine, the type and extent of military support we offer must also be qualified in view of such considerations. Those who object to pursuing a “policy of fear” in a rationally justifiable manner already find themselves within the scope of argumentation of the kind that Chancellor Olaf Scholz correctly insists on – namely that of careful consideration in a politically responsible and factually comprehensive fashion. (....)

The decision to avoid participation does not mean that the West simply leaves Ukraine to its fate in its fight with a superior opponent up to the point of immediate involvement. Arms deliveries can clearly have a positive impact on the course of the war, which Ukraine is determined to pursue even at the cost of serious sacrifice. But is it not a form of pious self-deception to bank on a Ukrainian victory against Russia’s murderous form of warfare without taking up arms yourself? The bellicose rhetoric is inconsistent with the bleachers from which it is delivered. Because it doesn’t minimize the unpredictability of an opponent who could bet it all on a single card. (....)

It is, after all, no coincidence that the authors of the “watershed” are those leftists and liberals who –faced with a drastically altered international constellation and in the shadow of trans-Atlantic uncertainties – want to take serious action in response to an overdue insight: namely that a European Union unwilling to see its social and political way of life destabilized from the outside or undermined from within will only gain the necessary political agency if it can also stand on its own two feet militarily. The re-election of Emmanuel Macron in France provides a reprieve. But we first must find a way out of our dilemma. This hope is reflected in the cautious formulation of the goal that Ukraine "must not lose" this war.

* * *

See: Responses to Habermas's "War and Indignation" here.