Monday, September 11, 2023

Harvard Colloquium: Critical Theory at 100

Harvard Colloquium for Intellectual History:

"Flaschenpost: Critical Theory at 100 – The European and American Reception, 1923-2023"

October 6-7, 2023, at Harvard University.

Day 1: October 6

* Introduction – Peter E. Gordon & Maxim Pensky

* At Time of Contestation ­– Axel Honneth

* Adorno's Ways of Criticism – James Gordon Finlayson

* The Standpoint of Emancipation – Rahel Jaeggi

* Disastrous Times: Reactualizing Horkheimer's Vision of Critical Theory – Maeve Cooke

* The Living I and the Good Animal: Adorno and Hegel – Karen Ng

* The Greening of Critical Theory – Espen Hammer

* Normality proper to this time is sickness – Fabian Freyenhagen

* Patriarchal Capitalism: Critical Theory from Adorno to Ecofeminism – Jay Bernstein

* History, Ontology, Nature – Martin Saar

Day 2: October 7

* The History of the Frankfurt School in Expanded Fields – Martin Jay

* We’re not Special. Congratulations! – Christopher Zurn

* The Return of Ideology Critique – Cristina Lafont

* The Rational Critique of Social Unreason: On Critical Theory in the Frankfurt Tradition – Rainer Forst

* Radical Tradition: A Contradiction in Terms? – Susan Buck-Morss

* Critical Theory and Intersectionality: Rethinking the Critique of Power with Black Feminism – Amy Allen

* Critical Theory and Anti: Racist Struggles: A Missed Encounter – Robin Celikates

* Critical Theory and/or/as Marxism? – Nancy Fraser

* Concluding Roundtable Discussion

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Out now in English: Habermas' "Also a History of Philosophy", volume 1

Also a History of Philosophy 

Volume 1: The Project of a Genealogy of Postmetaphysical Thinking

by Jürgen Habermas

(Polity, 2023)

448 pages

This is the first of the three volumes of Jürgen Habermas' book on the history of philosophy - "Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie" (Suhrkamp, 2019). Translated by Ciaran Cronin.

Preface [preview]

Part I. On the Question of a Genealogy of Postmetaphysical Thinking

1. Crisis Scenarios and Narratives of Decline in Major Twentieth-Century Philosophical Theories

2. Religion as a "Contemporary" Formation of Objective Mind?

3. The Occidental Path of Development and the Claim to Universality of Postmetaphysical Thinking

4. Basic Assumptions of the Theory of Society and Programmatic Outlook

Part II. The Sacred Roots of the Axial Age Traditions

1. Cognitive Breakthrough and Preservation of the Sacred Core

2. Myth and Ritual Practices

3. The Meaning of the Sacred

4. The Path to the Axial Age Transformation of Religious Consciousness

Part III. A Provisional Comparison of the Axial Age World Views

1. The Moralization of the Sacred and the Break with Mythical Thought

2. The Repudiation of "Paganism" by Jewish Monotheism

3. The Buddha’s Teaching and Practice

4. Confucianism and Taoism

5. From the Greek "Natural Philosophers" to Socrates

6. Plato’s Theory of Ideas – in Comparison

First Intermediate Reflection: The Conceptual Trajectories of the Axial Age

See my bibliography on Jürgen Habermas' book (Reviews, articles, book chapters and books in German, English, French, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish).

The table of contents of volume 2 og 3 here

Saturday, August 12, 2023

New book: Zur Diagnose demokratischer Regression

Zur Diagnose demokratischer Regression

Ed. by Peter Niesen

[Leviathan Sonderband 40]

(Nomos, August 2023)

338 pages


Western democracies are increasingly being challenged by authoritarian populism. The assumption that democratic learning experiences are irreversible has become questionable. Can we identify a stable trend towards "democratic regression" (Schäfer/Zürn)? What are the criteria on which such a diagnosis can be based, and what are the possible causes of such developments? What does the concept of regression add to the ubiquitous talk of the decline of democracy? 

This special issue provides the first comprehensive discussion of the empirical diagnoses, analytical determinations and normative uses of the phenomenon and concept of democratic regression


* Einleitung

1. Zur Diagnose demokratischer Regression. Annahmen, Merkmale, Herausforderungen [adjusted excerpt] - Peter Niesen

* Symptome und Merkmale demokratischer Regression

2. Republikanismus, Repräsentation und Regression - Armin Schäfer

3. Die regulative Idee der Wahrheit und demokratische Regression - Michael Zürn

4. Eine Beobachtung der Demokratiebeobachtung. Zur Diagnose demokratischer Regression - Philip Manow

5. Demokratie im Zeichen des Notstands - Jonathan White

* Politische Theorie der Regression

6. Eine demokratische Theorie demokratischer Regressionen [paper] - Fabio Wolkenstein

7. Regression und Erneuerung der Demokratie: eine psychoanalytische Perspektive - Claudia Landwehr

8. Exit-Politik als Regression. Wider den souveränen Voluntarismus [paper] - Svenja Ahlhaus & Markus Patberg

* Nicht-Regression und Fortschritt

9. Die Herrschaft der Unvernunft. Zum Begriff der (anti-)demokratischen Regression [paper] - Rainer Forst

10. Der Imperativ der Nicht-Regression. Adorno, Habermas und die Pfadabhängigkeit von Sperrklinkeneffekten - Peter Niesen

11. Kritik der Regression - Jakob Huber

* Konstitutionelle Demokratie und die Pluralisierung des Demokratieverständnisses

12. Zum Verhältnis von demokratischer und konstitutioneller Regression unter populistischen Regierungen. Eine empirische Analyse [paper] - Jasmin Sarah König & Tilko Swalve

13. Nichtmajoritäre Institutionen – eine Gefahr für die konstitutionelle Demokratie? - Stefan Voigt

14. Das Demokratieverständnis der Bevölkerung und die Regression der Demokratie - Norma Osterberg-Kaufmann

Saturday, August 05, 2023

New book: Rawls’s "A Theory of Justice" at 50

Rawls’s A Theory of Justice at 50

Ed. by Paul Weithman

(Cambridge University Press, 2023)

377 pages


In 1971 John Rawls's A Theory of Justice transformed twentieth-century political philosophy, and it ranks among the most influential works in the history of the subject. This volume of new essays marks the 50th anniversary of its publication with a multi-faceted exploration of Rawls's most important book. A team of distinguished contributors reflects on Rawls's achievement in essays on his relationship to modern political philosophy and 20th-century economic theory, on his Kantianism, on his transition to political liberalism, on his account of public reason and contemporary challenges to it, on his theory's implications for problems of racial justice, on democracy and its fragility, and on Rawls's enduring legacy. 


Introduction [preview] - Paul Weithman 

Part I: Rawls and History

1. Taillight Illumination: How Rawlsian Concepts May Improve Understanding of Hobbes’s Political Philosophy - S. A. Lloyd

2. The Theory Rawls, the 1844 Marx, and the Market - Daniel Brudney

3. Rawls, Lerner, and the Tax-and-Spend Booby Trap: What Happened to Monetary Policy? [paper] - Aaron James

4. Rawls’s Principles of Justice as a Transcendence of Class Warfare - Elizabeth Anderson

5. The Significance of Injustice - Peter de Marneffe

Part II: Developments between A Theory of Justice and Political Liberalism

6. On Being a “Self-Originating Source of Valid Claims” - Stephen Darwall

7. Moral Independence Revisited: A Note on the Development of Rawls’s Thought from 1977–1980 and Beyond - Samuel Scheffler

8. The Method of Insulation: On the Development of Rawls’s Thought after A Theory of Justice - Rainer Forst

9. The Stability or Fragility of Justice [paper] - Japa Pallikkathayil

Part III: Rawls, Ideal Theory, and the Persistence of Injustice

10. The Circumstances of Justice [paper] - Erin I. Kelly

11. Why Rawls’s Ideal Theory Leaves the Well-Ordered Society Vulnerable to Structural Oppression - Henry S. Richardson

12. Race, Reparations, and Justice as Fairness - Tommie Shelby

13. On the Role of the Original Position in Rawls’s Theory: Reassessing the “Idealization” and “Fact-sensitivity” Critiques - Laura Valentini

Part IV: Pluralism, Democracy, and the Future of Justice as Fairness

14. Public Reason at Fifty - Kevin Vallier

15. Reasonable Political Conceptions and the Well-Ordered Liberal Society - Samuel Freeman

16. Religious Pluralism and Social Unions - Paul Weithman

17. One Person, at Least One Vote? Rawls on Political Equality …within Limits - David Estlund

18. Reflections on Democracy’s Fragility [paper] - Joshua Cohen

19. A Society of Self-Respect [paper] - Leif Wenar

Monday, July 31, 2023

International conference in Frankfurt: Futuring Critical Theory

On the occasion of its 100th anniversary, "Institut für Sozialforschung" (IfS) is hosting an international conference "Futuring Critical Theory" at Goethe University Frankfurt on September 13–15, 2023.

* Section 1: Dissecting Critical Theory

* Section 2: Globalizing Critical Theory

* Section 3: Materializing Critical Theory

* Section 4: Recomposing Critical Theory

See the programme here.

Abstracts here.

Registration here.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Public sphere theory in digital societies

Special issue of "Communication Theory" (vol. 33, nos. 2-3, 2023) on the role and future of public sphere theory in digital societies: 

Reconceptualizing public sphere(s) in the digital age? (Open access)

Articles by Mark Eisenegger, Mike S Schäfer, Axel Bruns, Uwe Hasebrink, Thomas N. Friemel, Christoph Neuberger, Sarah J. Jackson, Daniel Kreiss, Hallvard Moe, Pascal Schneiders, Michael Brüggemann, Hendrik Meyer, Hans-Jörg Trenz, Lewis A Friedland, Risto Kunelius, Andreas Jungherr, and Ralph Schroeder.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Reviews of "Ein neuer Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit"

Two reviews of Jürgen Habermas's "Ein neuer Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit und die deliberative Politik" (Suhrkamp, 2022):

* Hubertus Buchstein in "Politische Vierteljahresschrift", forthcoming (Open access)

* Rainer Freudenthaler in "Publizistik", forthcoming (Open access)

See my list of reviews of Habermas's book here.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Discourse Ethical Perspectives on Education

In ”Educational Theory” (vol. 73, no. 2): Discourse Ethical Perspectives on Education in Polarized Political Cultures

* Christopher Martin – “Symposium Introduction: Discourse EthicalPerspectives on Education in Polarized Political Cultures” (open access)

Julian Culp – “Democratic Citizenship Education in Digitized Societies: A Habermasian Approach"

* Christopher Martin – “Educational Institutions and Indoctrination” (open access)

* Anniina Leiviskä – “Truth, Moral Rightness, and Justification: AHabermasian Perspective on Decolonizing the University” (open access)

* Krassimir Stojanov – “Inclusive Universalism as a Normative Principleof Education” (open access)

* Darron Kelly – “Conceptualizing a Practical Discourse Survey Instrument for Assessing Communicative Agency and Rational Trust in Educational Policymaking”

Gertrud Nunner-Winkler – “Discourse Ethics: A Pedagogical Policy for Promoting Democratic Virtues”

Sunday, June 25, 2023

10 most influential thinkers on the left

 In the Spanish newspaper "El pais" (25-06-2023): 

The ten most influential thinkers on the left (according to 37 experts): Karl Marx, Judith Butler, Antonio Gramsci, Thomas Pikkety, Michel Foucault, Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir, Jürgen Habermas, Karl Polanyi and Walter Benjamin.

"Los diez pensadores que más influyen en la izquierda" (pay wall).

Monday, June 19, 2023

The Critical Theory of Society

The new issue of "European Journal of Social Theory" (May 2023) features articles on "The Critical Theory of Society":

* Patrick O’Mahony - "Introduction to special issue: The critical theory of society" (PDF)

* Klaus Eder - "Pandora’s box: The two sides of the public sphere" (PDF)

* Piet Strydom - "The critical theory of society: From its Young-Hegelian core to its key concept of possibility" (Abstract)

* Johann P. Arnason - "Lessons from Castoriadis: Downsizing critical theory and defusing the concept of society" (Abstract)

* Hartmut Rosa & Peter Schulz - "Synthesis, Dynamis, Praxis: Critical Theory’s ongoing search for a concept of society" (Abstract)

* Regina Kreide - "Social critique and transformation: Revising Habermas’s colonisation thesis" (PDF)

* Tracey Skillington - "Thinking beyond the ecological present: Critical theory on the self-problematization of society and its transformation" (PDF)

* Patrick O’Mahony - "Critical theory, Peirce and the theory of society" (PDF)

* Daniel Chernilo - "On the relationships between critical theory and secularisation: The challenges of democratic fallibility and planetary survival" (Abstract)

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Book launch of "Rawls Handbuch"

Book Launch of "Rawls Handbuch" on July 6.-7. in Frankfurt am Main:

More information here.

Monday, June 12, 2023