Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Report from the Frankfurt conference on human rights

On the blog "", Franziska Dübgen summarizes the content of the main contributions at the recent conference in Frankfurt on "Human Rights Today":

"Zwischen Ambivalenz und Ordnung: Die Politik der Menschenrechte"

The speakers at the conference were Rainer Forst, Christoph Menke, Charles Beitz, John Tasioulas, Abdullahi Ahmes An-Na’im, Jürgen Habermas, Susanne Baer, Hans Joas, Seyla Benhabib, Étienne Balibar, and Costas Douzinas.

See my previous posts here and here.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Amartya Sen & David Held discuss "The Idea of Justice"

At London School of Economics on July 8, 2010:

Amartya Sen and David Held will discuss Sen's new book, The Idea of Justice (Harvard University Press, 2009).

The event is free but a ticket is required. More information here.

David Held is Professor of Political Science at LSE.

Amartya Sen is Lamont University Professor at Harvard University and an honorary fellow of LSE. He won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998.

Friday, June 25, 2010

New book on Rawls and Habermas

Rawls and Habermas
Reason, Pluralism, and the Claims of Political Philosophy

by Todd Hedrick

(Stanford University Press, 2010)

256 pages


This book offers a comprehensive evaluation of the two preeminent post-WWII political philosophers, John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas. Both men question how we can be free and autonomous under coercive law and how we might collectively use our reason to justify exercises of political power. In pluralistic modern democracies, citizens cannot be expected to agree about social norms on the basis of common allegiance to comprehensive metaphysical or religious doctrines concerning persons or society, and both philosophers thus engage fundamental questions about how a normatively binding framework for the public use of reason might be possible and justifiable. Hedrick explores the notion of reasonableness underwriting Rawls's political liberalism and the theory of communicative rationality that sustains Habermas's procedural conception of the democratic constitutional state. His book challenges the Rawlsianism prevalent in the Anglo-American world today while defending Habermas's often poorly understood theory as a superior alternative.



1. Freestanding Political Theory and the Descriptivist Critique of Rawls
2. The Rawlsian Apparatus of Justification
3. Rawls between Metaphysics and Proceduralism
4. Procedure and Substance, Construction and Reconstruction
5. Discourse Theory and the Constitutional Democratic State
6. Proceduralism and Functionalism in Habermas's Theory of Law and Democracy
7. Rawls and the Critique of Constitutional Contractarianism
8. Habermasian Constitutional Theory
9. Conclusion: Idealizations and Power

See a preview of the chapters here.

Todd Hedrick is Assistant Professor of philosophy at Michigan State University.

Monday, June 21, 2010

New book on Europeanization of Identities and Public Spheres

A Community of Europeans?
Transnational Identities and Public Spheres

by Thomas Risse

(Cornell University Press, July 2010)

304 pages


In A Community of Europeans? a thoughtful observer of the ongoing project of European integration evaluates the state of the art about European identity and European public spheres. Thomas Risse argues that integration has had profound and long-term effects on the citizens of EU countries, most of whom now have at least a secondary "European identity" to complement their national identities. Risse also claims that we can see the gradual emergence of transnational European communities of communication. Exploring the outlines of this European identity and of the communicative spaces, Risse sheds light on some pressing questions: What do "Europe" and "the EU" mean in the various public debates? How do European identities and transnational public spheres affect policymaking in the EU? And how do they matter in discussions about enlargement, particularly Turkish accession to the EU? What will be the consequences of the growing contestation and politicization of European affairs for European democracy?


Introduction [preview]

Part 1: An Emerging European Identity?

1. Collective Identities: Conceptual and Methodological Questions
2. Multiple Europes: The Europeanization of Citizens' Identities
3. Modern Europe and Its Discontents
4. Europeanization of National Identities: Explanations

Part 2: An Emerging European Public Sphere?

5. Transnational Public Spheres: Conceptual Questions
6. The Gradual Europeanization of Public Spheres
7. A European Community of Communication?

Part 3: Consequences

8. "Deepening": European Institution-Building
9. "Widening": EU Enlargement and Contested Identities
10. European Democracy and Politization

Conclusions: Depending Modern Europe [preview]

Thomas Risse is Professor of International Politics, Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin.

See also this working paper (pdf) by Thomas Risse:
"European Identity Formation in the Public Sphere and in Foreign Policy" (2008)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Habermas' lecture in Frankfurt on human rights

In "Frankfurter Rundschau", June 19, 2010:

Christian Schlüter reports from Jürgen Habermas' lecture on human rights at Goethe University, Frankfurt, June 17, 2010, entitled "Menschenwürde als Quelle des moralischen Mehrwerts der Menschenrechte"

"Jürgen Habermas in Frankfurt - Missbrauch und Mehrwert"

See my previous post on the international conference on human rights in Frankfurt, June 17-18, here.

Jürgen Habermas' article "On the Concept of Human Dignity and the Realist Utopia of Human Rights" will come out in Metaphilosophy later this year.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bloomsday June 16, 2010

Bloomsday, synonymous with James Joyce is the most important honours day at University College Dublin, the alma mater of the great 20th century author. Among this year's recipients were from left, John Bowman, Matt Dempsey, Jürgen Habermas, Tom Arnold and Colm Tóibín (From the Irish Times; photograph by Brenda Fitzsimons)

"For me, Joyce, the itinerant European author, combines things in Ulysses that are otherwise seldom encountered together. He combines the artifice of a highly self-reflective, aesthetically uncompromising modern novel whose allusions are almost indecipherable with an unmistakable, though by no means uncritical, attachment to the all-pervasive ethos of his Irish native country. The novel is a declaration of love to the streets and pubs of Dublin and to the rich tradition and spirit of the country. It could be that this mixture is gaining a new resonance in times of “glocalisation”, that is especially in places where the local is entering into strange combinations with the global." (Jürgen Habermas).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Interview with Habermas in Irish Times

In "The Irish Times", June 12, 2010, an interview with Jürgen Habermas:

"Merkel has depleted her capital of trust within EU".

Habermas receives the UCD Ulysses Medal at a special ceremony on June 16, 2010, at the University College Dublin. See my post here.

On June 15, Habermas will give a lecture at the UCD Clinton Institute for American Studies/Global Ireland Institute in Dublin. The title is: "‘The Political’: The Rational Meaning of a Questionable Inheritance of Political Theology".

Jay Bernstein reviews Axel Honneth

From "Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews" (June 7, 2010):

J. M. Bernstein reviews

"The Pathologies of Individual Freedom: Hegel's Social Theory" by Axel Honneth
(Princeton University Press, 2010)

J. M. Bernstein is Professor of Philosophy at The New School for Social Research, New York. His lectures on Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit" can be downloaded here.

See my post on Axel Honneth's book here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New book: "The Pragmatic Turn" by Richard Bernstein

The Pragmatic Turn

by Richard J. Bernstein

(Polity Press, 2010)

263 pages


In this major new work, Richard J. Bernstein argues that many of the most important themes in philosophy during the past one hundred and fifty years are variations and developments of ideas that were prominent in the classical American pragmatists: Charles S. Peirce, William James, John Dewey and George H Mead.

Bernstein develops an alternative reading of contemporary philosophy that brings out the persistence and continuity of pragmatic themes. He critically examines the work of leading contemporary philosophers who have been deeply influenced by pragmatism, including Hilary Putnam, Jürgen Habermas, Richard Rorty, and Robert Brandom, and he explains why the discussion of pragmatism is so alive, varied and widespread.


Prologue [preview]
1. Charles S. Peirce's Critique of Cartesianism
2. The Ethical Consequences of William James's Pragmatic Pluralism
3. John Dewey's Vision of Radical Democracy
4. Hegel and Pragmatism
5. Pragmatism, Objectivity, and Truth
6. Experience and the Linguistic Turn
7. Hilary Putnam: The Entanglement of Fact and Value
8. Jürgen Habermas's Kantian Pragmatism
9. Richard Rorty's Deep Humanism

Excerpts from Bernstein's preface and prologue:

"This book is not intended to be a history or survey of pragmatism. I have lived with the pragmatists for more than 50 years, and I want to share what I have learned from them. I believe that my original intuitions about the importance of pragmatism and the sea change it initiated have been fully vindicated. Today, all vigorous creative discussion of pragmatic themes by thinkers all over the world is more widespread than it has ever been in the past".

"When I teach courses dealing with pragmatism (old and new), I tell my students that it is best to think of the discourse about pragmatism as an open-ended conversation with many loose ends and targents. I don't mean an "idealized" conversation or dialogue, so frequently described and praised by philosophers. Rather, it is a conversation more like the type that occurs at New York dinner parties where there are misunderstandings, speaking at cross-purposes, conflicts, and contradictions, with personalized voices stressing different points of view (and sometimes talking at the same time). It can seem chaotic, yet somehow the entire conversation is more vital and illuminating than any of the individual voices demanding to be heard. This is what the conversation of pragmatism has been like."

Richard J. Bernstein is Vera List Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, New York.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Papers on Dworkin's "Justice for Hedgehogs"

From "Boston University Law Review" vol. 90 no. 2 (April 2010):

Papers from the symposium on Ronald Dworkin's forthcoming book "Justice for Hedgehogs", September 25-26, 2009, at Boston University School of Law.

The book is coming out on Harvard University Press in October 2010.

Justice for Hedgehogs [pdf]
Ronald Dworkin

The Possibility of Metaethics [pdf]
Russ Shafer-Landau

Moral Skepticism for Foxes
Daniel Star

Dworkin on External Skepticism [pdf]
Michael Smith

Moral Limits of Dworkin's Theory of Law and Legal Interpretation
David Lyons

Varieties of Responsibility [pdf]
T.M. Scanlon

Dworkin on Ethics and Freewill [pdf]
Amartya Sen

Dignity and Global Duty [pdf]
Kwame Anthony Appiah

What Ethical Responsibility Cannot Justify [pdf]
F.M. Kamm

In Hedgehog Solidarity [pdf]
C. Edwin Baker

Taking Responsibilities as Well as Rights Seriously [pdf]
James E. Fleming

Dworkin's "One-System" Conception of Law and Morality [pdf]
Hugh Baxter

In Favor of Foxes: Pluralism as Fact and Aid to the Pursuit of Justice [pdf]
Martha Minow & Joseph William Singer

Equality of Resources, Market Luck, and the Justification of Adjusted Market Distributions [pdf]
Samuel Freeman

Foxy Freedom? [pdf]
Frank I. Michelman

Human Rights for Hedgehogs? [pdf]
Robert D. Sloane

Procedure, Participation, Rights [pdf]
Robert G. Bone

Against Majoritarianism: Democratic Values and Institutional Design

Stephen Macedo

A Majority in the Lifeboat [pdf]
Jeremy Waldron

Response [pdf]
Ronald Dworkin

Videos from the symposium can be found here!

For excerpts from Ronald Dworkin's forthcoming book, see my previous post.

Monday, June 07, 2010

TV interview with Martha Nussbaum

Watch a video with professor Martha Nussbaum from "Book on C-Span2":

In Depth: Martha Nussbaum (3 hours)

Martha Nussbaum is Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Jeremy Waldron on hate-speech laws

Professor Jeremy Waldron delivered the three-part Holmes Lecture series, the most prestigious talks at Harvard Law School, on October 5 through 7, 2009.

The lectures are now published in the May issue of Harvard Law Review:

"Dignity and Defamation: The Visibility of Hate" (pdf)

See videos of Waldron's lectures here.

Jeremy Waldron is University Professor at New York University School of Law.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Will John Rawls still be read in a century?

On "Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog", Brian Leiter has done a poll asking which of 12 modern philosophers is likely to be read in a century. Here is the ranking based on nearly 900 votes:

1. John Rawls
2. W.V.O. Quine
3. Saul Kripke
4. Donald Davidson
5. Derek Parfit
6. Peter Singer
7. Robert Nozick
8. Bernard Williams
9. Thomas Nagel
10. Jerry Fodor
11. John McDowell
12. Richard Rorty

Friday, June 04, 2010

Habermas and political discourses on the Internet

Deliberative Demokratie und die Wirklichkeit politischer Diskurse im Internet

von Steffen Albrecht

(Transcript Verlag, Juni 2010)

372 S.


Jürgen Habermas' Modell der deliberativen Demokratie gilt als zentrales Paradigma der politischen Theorie. Die kommunikations-theoretischen Annahmen über Diskurse werden allerdings durch die zunehmend alltägliche Onlinekommunikation in Frage gestellt. Welche Strukturen der Partizipation entstehen in politischen Diskursen im Internet? Und welche Dynamik prägt die Diskussion? Diesen Fragen geht der Autor in einem empirischen Vergleich von neun Onlinediskursen nach. Die Ergebnisse der explorativen Studie führen zu einer Neubestimmung des Zusammenhangs von diskursiver Kommunikation und ihren Wirkungen, der als »Reflexionsspiel« gefasst und ausgearbeitet wird.

Inhalt (pdf)

Einleitung (pdf)

1. Habermas’ theoretisches Modell deliberativer Kommunikation

2. Untersuchungsstrategie und angewandte Methoden

3. Ergebnisse der empirischen Analyse politischer Diskurse im Internet

4. Diskussion

5. Bewertung und Ausblick

Steffen Albrecht ist wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Medienzentrum der TU Dresden und Projektleiter für politische Kommunikation und Onlineforschung bei Zebralog (Berlin).

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Jerry Cohen memorial events

Two upcoming events in memory of G.A. Cohen (1941-2009):

Thursday June 17
A reception in memory of G. A. Cohen at the Philosophy Department, University College London.

Saturday June 19
A memorial service at All Souls College, Oxford University.
Myles Burnyeat, John Roemer, T. M. Scanlon, and Philippe Van Parijs will be speaking.

(Thanks to Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber for the information.)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Martha Nussbaum in Tübingen June 22-25

Professor Martha Nussbaum (Chicago) will hold this year's Unseld lecture at the University of Tübingen, Germany:


June 22, Unseld lecture
Martha C. Nussbaum: "Liberty of Conscience"

June 24, Public discussion
"Religious Liberty: Sources and Constraints".
Participants: Martha C. Nussbaum, Ute Sacksofsky (Frankfurt) and Heiner Bielefeldt (Erlangen)

June 21-25, Master class
"The Capability Approach on Social Order"

Further information here [pdf].

Martha Nussbaum is Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. On May 26, 2010, Martha Nussbaum was honored with Harvard's Centennial Medal.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

74 essays on Jürgen Habermas - "Habermas II"

Habermas II
Sage Masters of Modern Social Thought

ed. by David M. Rasmussen & James Swindal

(Sage, 2010)

4 volumes, 1568 pages


A new four-volume set with secondary literature on Jürgen Habermas, written since 2000. The set is a supplement to "Habermas I" edited by David M. Rasmussen and James Swindal(Sage, 2002; 1664 pages). All articles and chapters have been reproduced exactly as they were first published. They have been selected on the basis not only of their clarity of presentation and argument, but also for the way they characterize a significant dimension of current Habermas scholarship.



Editors' Introduction
David M. Rasmussen and James Swindal

The Engagement with Postmodernity and Phenomenology

Adorno and Habermas on the Human Condition (2002)
Deborah Cook

A Moment of Unconditional Validity? Schutz and the Habermas/Rorty Debate (2004)
Michael Barber

Remarks on Derrida and Habermas (2000)
Simon Critchley

Performative Powerlessness: A Response to Simon Critchley (2000)
Jacques Derrida

Disenchantment and the Persistence of Evil: Habermas, Jonas, Badiou (2005) [preview]
Peter Dews

Foucault and Enlightenment: A Critical Reappraisal (2003)
Amy Allen

Foucault Contra Habermas: Enlightenment, Power, and Critique (2005)
Day Wong

How can Anyone be Called Guilty? Speech, Responsibility, and the Social Relation in Habermas and Levinas (2000)
Asher Horowitz

Apologies: Levinas and Dialogue (2006)
Bob Plant

Speech and Sensibility: Levinas and Habermas on the Constitution of the Moral Point of View (2004)
Steven Hendley

Levinas, Habermas, and Modernity (2008)
Nicholas Smith

Hermeneutics and Epistemology

Gadamerian Platitudes' and Rational Interpretations (2007)
Kenneth Baynes

Habermas and Validity Claims (2005)
Jan I. Niemi

Lifeworld, Discourse, and Realism: On Jürgen Habermas's Theory of Truth (2004)
Axel Seeman

McDowell and Habermas in a Post-Traditional World (2005)
Myra Bookman

The Role of Rules (2001)
Michael Rosen

Difficulties with the Reduction of Subjectivity (2002)
Manfred Frank

The Return to Subjectivity as a Challenge to Critical Theory (2002)
Dieter Freundlieb

Justification: Reflexive or Discursive? (2006)
Petra Hedberg

Habermas and Dummett: Beyond Dogmatism and Scepticism (2001)
Matar Anat


Habermas on Compatibilism and Ontological Monism: Some Problems (2007)
Michael Quante

Neuroscience, Intentionality and Free Will: Reply to Habermas (2007)
John Searle

Habermas between Metaphysical and Natural Realism (2006)
Steven Hendley

Centrality as a Challenge to Ousia in Jürgen Habermas (2000)
John McCumber

From Habermas to Horkheimer's Early Work: Directions for a Materialist Reconstruction of Communicative Critical Theory (2005)
Konstantinos Kavoulakos


Normativity and Reason

Communication and Rational Justification (2001)
Pol Vandevelde

Universalist Grandeur, Romantic Depth, Pragmatist Cunning (2004)
Richard Rorty

Liberalization, Modernization, Westernization (2004)
Joseph Heath

The Transcendental Turn: Habermas's 'Kantian Pragmatism' (2004) [preview]
Kenneth Baynes

Inferentialism and Communicative Action: Robust Conceptions of Intersubjectivity (2002)
Barbara Fultner

Freedom and Recognition in Hegel and Habermas (2002)
Kenneth Baynes

Intersubjectivity - Interactionist or Discursive? Reflections on Habermas's Critique of Brandom (2006)
Piet Strydom

Communication and Content: Circumstances and Consequences of the Habermas-Brandom Debate (2003) [pdf]
Kevin Scharp

Facts, Norms, and Normative Facts: A Reply to Habermas (2000)
Robert Brandom

Discourse Ethics

Why there is No Issue between Rawls and Habermas (2002)
Christopher McMahon

Modernity and Morality in Habermas's Discourse Ethics (2000)
James Gordon Finlayson

Debate: What Are "Universalizable Interests"? (2000) [pdf]
James Gordon Finlayson

Habermas's Moral Cognitivism and the Frege-Geach Challenge (2005) [rtf]
James Gordon Finlayson

Discoursing about Discourse (2000)
Logi Gunnarsson

A Substantivist Construal of Discourse Ethics (2005)
Pablo Gilabert

Should Discourse Ethics Do without a Principle of Universalization? (2005)
Pablo Gilabert

Procedural Justice? Implications of the Rawls-Habermas Debate for Discourse Ethics (2003)
Cristina Lafont

Moral Objectivity and Reasonable Agreement: Can Realism Be Reconciled with Kantian Constructivism? (2004) [pdf]
Cristina Lafont

Discourse Ethics and the Problem of Begründung (2005)
Tom Rockmore

Suffering Injustice: Misrecognition as Moral Injury in Critical Theory (2005)
J.M. Bernstein

Immanuel Kant, Jürgen Habermas, and the Categorical Imperative (2005)
Anders Bordum


Law, Democracy, and the Public Sphere

From Demos to Demoi: Democracy Across Borders (2005)
James Bohman

Between Deliberative and Participatory Democracy: A Contribution on Habermas (2006)
Denise Vitale

For an Agonistic Model of Democracy (2000) [preview]
Chantal Mouffe

Constitutional Rights, Balancing, and Rationality (2003)
Robert Alexy

Morality, Identity, and 'Constitutional Patriotism' (2001)
Frank I. Michelman

Democracy and the Individual: Deliberative and Existential Negotiations (2003)
Martin Leet

Consensus and Power in Deliberative Democracy (2006)
Tim Heysse

Two Notions of Humanity and the Judgment Argument for Human Rights (2003)
Alessandro Ferrara

Deliberative Democracy and Constitutional Review (2002)
Christopher Zurn

Do Rights Have a Formal Basis? Habermas' Legal Theory and the Normative Foundations of the Law (2003)
Kevin Olson

Cosmopolitanism and the Nation State

Between Political Liberalism and Postnational Cosmopolitanism: Toward an Alternative Theory of Human Rights (2003)
David Ingram

On Reconciling Cosmopolitan Unity and National Diversity (2002) [paper]
Thomas McCarthy


Habermas and Psychology

Jacques Lacan and Jürgen Habermas: From Subjectivity to Intersubjective Speech (1997)
Roger Frie

Habermas and Bioethics

Rethinking 'Liberal Eugenics': Reflections and Questions on Habermas on Bioethics (2005) [online]
Bernard G. Prusak

Habermas on Human Cloning: The Debate on the Future of the Species (2004)
Eduardo Mendieta

Remarks on Habermas's Presentation of "L'avenir de la Nature Humaine" (2003)
Cristina Lafont

Liberal Eugenics and Human Nature: Against Habermas (2006)
Elizabeth Fenton

Habermas and Feminism

Feminism and Democratic Deliberation (2000)
Georgia Warnke

Feminism and Habermas' Discourse Ethics (2000)
Johanna Meehan


Imaginative Disclosure: Adorno, Habermas, and Artistic Truth (2004)
Lambert Zuidervaart

Habermas and Religion

Habermas in Dialogue with Theologians (2006) [preview]
Nicholas Adams

Reason, Faith, and Secularization: Jürgen Habermas meets Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (2006)
Gerhold Becker

Reason, Society, and Religion: Reflections on 11 September from a Habermasian Perspective (2003)
Andy Wallace

Rights, Reason, and Religious Conflict: Habermas and Scanlon on the Role of Religion in Public Debate (2005)
Glen Pettigrove

Salvaging and Secularizing the Semantic Contents of Religion: The Limitations of Habermas's Postmetaphysical Proposal (2006)
Maeve Cooke

Religion in the Public Sphere: Remarks on Habermas's Conception of Public Deliberation in Postsecular Societies (2007)
Cristina Lafont

Rawls and Habermas On Religion in the Public Sphere (2007)
Melissa Yates

Habermas and Science

Habermas, Argumentation Theory, and Science Studies: Towards Interdisciplinary Cooperation (2003) [pdf]
William Rehg