Thursday, July 06, 2017

Habermas on Religion and Democracy

The recent issue of the journal "The European Legacy" (vol. 25 issue 5) features articles on Habermas's view on religion and democracy:

Introduction: Habermas on Religion and Democracy - Critical Perspectives
by Camil Ungureanu & Paolo Monti

Habermas’s Theological Turn and European Integration (Abstract)
by Peter J. Verovšek

Habermas and Taylor on Religious Reasoning in a Liberal Democracy (Abstract)
by Andrew Tsz Wan Hung

Religion in Habermas’s Two-Track Political Theory (Abstract)
by Adil Usturali

Found in Translation: Habermas and Anthropotechnics (Abstract)
by Matteo Bortolini


From the introduction:

"The prospects of a fully-fledged postsecular society appear to be utopian in view of the current rise of populism and religious majoritarianism: social conflicts, stark inequalities, fundamentalist estrangement and resentment—all these endanger and marginalize the potentially fruitful communication between believers and non-believers. We argue, however, that precisely because of these trends, Habermas’s cosmopolitan vision of democracy and religion, notwithstanding its philosophical and sociological difficulties, stands out as an exemplary lifelong defense of inclusive communicative interactions and forms of resistance. The inner tensions of Habermas’s theoretical outlook—rationalism vs historicity, universalism vs particular world-views, state neutrality vs religion’s indirect impact, and sociological vs normative analysis—are inherent to democratic theory and practice and thus remain instructive for understanding the multilayered interrelationships of religion and democracy from comparative and global perspectives."

Thursday, June 08, 2017

New Book: "Postmetaphysical Thinking II"



Postmetaphysical Thinking II

by Jürgen Habermas

(Polity Press, 2017)

276 pages





Description

"There is no alternative to postmetaphysical thinking".

Postmetaphysical thinking is, in the first place, the historical answer to the crisis of metaphysics following Hegel, when the central metaphysical figures of thought began to totter under the pressure exerted by social developments and by developments within science. As a result, philosophy’s epistemological privilege was shaken to its core, its basic concepts were de-transcendentalized, and the primacy of theory over practice was opened to question. For good reasons, philosophy "lost its extraordinary status", but as a result it also courted new problems. In Postmetaphysical Thinking II , the sequel to the 1988 volume that bears the same title [English translation 1992], Habermas addresses some of these problems.

The first section of the book deals with the shift in perspective from metaphysical worldviews to the lifeworld, the unarticulated meanings and assumptions that accompany everyday thought and action in the mode of "background knowledge". Habermas analyses the lifeworld as a "space of reasons" – even where language is not (yet) involved, such as, for example, in gestural communication and rituals. In the second section, the uneasy relationship between religion and postmetaphysical thinking takes centre stage. Habermas picks up where he left off in 1988, when he made the far-sighted observation that "philosophy, even in its postmetaphysical form, will be able neither to replace nor to repress religion", and explores philosophy’s new-found interest in religion, among other topics. The final section includes essays on the role of religion in the political context of a post-secular, liberal society.

Translation of "Nachmetaphysisches Denken II" (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2012). See my blog post on the German edition here.

Contents

Linguistification of the Sacred. In Place of a Preface

I. The Lifeworld as a Space of Reasons

1. From Worldviews to the Lifeworld
2. The Lifeworld as a Space of Symbolically Embodied Reasons
3. A Hypothesis concerning the Evolutionary Meaning of Rites [video]

II. Postmetaphysical Thinking

4. The New Philosophical Interest in Religion [paper]
5. Religion and Postmetaphysical Thinking: A Reply
6. A Symposium on Faith and Knowledge

III. Politics and Religion

7. "The Political": The Rational Meaning of a Questionable Inheritance of Political Theology [audio]
8. The "Good Life" - a "Detestable Phrase": The Significance of the Young Rawls’s Religious Ethics for His Political Theory
9. Rawls’s Political Liberalism
10. Religion in the Public Sphere of "Post-Secular" Society


Some of the essays are already available in English:

Essay 5: In Craig Calhoun, Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen (eds.) - "Habermas and Religion" (Polity Press, 2012) pp. 347-390.

Essay 7: In Eduardo Mendieta & Jonathan VanAntwerpen (eds.) - "The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere" (Columbia University Press, 2011) pp. 15-33. 

Essay 8: In "European Journal of Philosophy" vol. 18 no. 3 (2010) pp. 443-453. 

Essay 9: In James Gordon Finlayson & Fabian Freyenhagen (eds.) - "Habermas and Rawls: Disputing the Political" (Routledge, 2011), pp. 283-304.

Essay 10: In Jürgen Habermas - "Europe: The Faltering Project" (Polity Press, 2009), pp. 59-77.


Excerpts from the "preface":

"The collection of essays published in 1988 under the same title as the present collection dealt with the self-confirmation of philosophical thinking. This remains the theme of the present collection."

"Hume and Kant mark the end of metaphysics. Philosophy no longer insists on its Platonic route to salvation through contemplation of an all-encompassing cosmic unity, so that it no longer competes in this regard with religious worldviews. The nominalist revolution paves the way for liberating philosophy from the embrace of religion; it now claims to ground morality and law, and the normative content of modernity in general, in reason alone. On the other hand, the critique of a false scientistic self-understanding of philosophy can highlight the fact that it cannot be reduced to science. In contrast to the objectifying sciences, philosophy still shares with religious and metaphysical "worldviews"" the self-reflexive attitude in which it processes mundane knowledge. It is not directly involved in increasing our knowledge of the world but asks instead what the growing body of empirical knowledge, the knowledge we acquire through interactions with the world, means for us. Instead of being reduced to the role of an auxiliary of cognitive science, for example, philosophy should continue to pursue its task of articulating a justified understanding of ourselves and the world in the light of the best available scientific evidence.

There is no reason to question the secular character of postmetaphysical thinking. (....) For philosophy, "linguistification" [of the sacred] can only mean discovering the still vital semantic potentials in religious traditions and translating them into a general language that is accessible beyond the boundaries of particular religious communities - and thereby introducing them into the discursive play of public reasons."


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Karl-Otto Apel Dies at 95

The German philosopher Karl-Otto Apel died on May 15, 2017. He was 95.

Obituaries:

Detlef Horster - "Bestreiten heißt anerkennen" (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

Uwe Justus Wenzel - "Die Vernunft arbeitet in der Sprache" (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

Jochen Hörisch - "Äußerste Ernsthaftigkeit, das war sein Programm" (Deutsclandsfunk)

Markus Schwering - "Der Letztbegründer" (Frankfurter Rundschau)

Christian Geyer - "Ein liebenswürdiger Argumentierer" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

Thomas Assheuer - "Leidenschaft der Sprache" (Die Zeit)

Rainer Forst - "Goethe-Universität trauert um Karl-Otto Apel" (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier offers his condolences to the widow of Karl-Otto Apel

Alexander Riebel - "Zu universal" (Die Tagespost)

Edmund Arens - "Karl-Otto Apel. Ein Nachruf" (Feinschwarz.net)


Sunday, May 07, 2017

Habermas' Deliberative Multiculturalism

An interesting PhD Thesis by Jonas Jakobsen (The Arctic University of Norway):

"The Claims of Freedom: Habermas' Deliberative Multiculturalism and the Right to Free Speech" (2017)

Abstract

"The thesis analyzes and discusses Jürgen Habermas’ political philosophy, focusing on his theories of multiculturalism and deliberative democracy. This implies an assesment of strengths and weaknesses in Habermas' theory, and an attempt to overcome the weaknesses through some revisions and reinterpretations. More specifically, I apply Habermas' framework to a particular question to which he himself has not paid systematic attention, namely how we should justify and use free speech in culturally diverse democracies. The first part of this question (how to justify free speech) pertains to how we should justify constitutional free speech as political philosophers. Here, I advocate robust free speech guarantees, based on a reading of Habermas' normative theory of (reflexive, political, and private) freedom. I argue that legal regulations of hate speech (i.e. racist speech) may be legitimate, but not regulations of blasphemy and religious offense. The second part (how to use free speech) pertains to the citizens’ use of free speech in culturally diverse contexts, and thus transcends the focus on mere legality. Here, I argue that the same concern with freedom that justifies free speech as a constitutional right also limits free speech - in a pragmatic and moral sense. The pragmatic sense refers to how hate speech and misrecognition harm the social preconditions for freedom, in particular the freedom of members of weak or marginalized groups. The moral sense in which freedom limits freedom refers to norms of equal recognition that guide (or should guide) public deliberation between persons who respect each other as free and equal. Even though the imperative of equal recognition does not require us to recognize others' cultural identities or respect their religious feelings as such, it does require us to take their cultural attachments into account when interacting - and deliberating - with them."


Saturday, May 06, 2017

New book by Habermas: "Philosophical Introductions"




Forthcoming book in English by Jürgen Habermas:

"Philosophical Introductions: Five Approaches to Communicative Reason"
(Polity Press, September 2017; 200 pages)







Description:

On the occasion of Habermas’s 80th birthday, the German publisher Suhrkamp brought out five volumes of Habermas’s work - "Philosophische Texte" - that spanned the full range his philosophical work, from the theory of rationality to the critique of metaphysics. For each of these volumes, Habermas wrote an introduction that crystallized, in a remarkably clear and succinct way, his thinking on the key philosophical issues that have preoccupied him throughout his long career. 

In the five chapters that make up this volume, Habermas discusses the concept of communicative action and the grounding of the social sciences in the theory of language; the relationship between rationality and the theory of language; discourse ethics; political theory and problems of democracy and legitimacy; the critique of reason and the challenge posed by religion in a secular age. 

The book will also be publlshed in a French translation by Gallimard.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Habermas on the French election

In "Die Zeit" (April 20, 2017), an interview with Jürgen Habermas on the presidential election in France:

"Eine Umgruppierung der Kräfte ist überfällig"

Excerpt:

ZEIT: Gibt es Hoffnungsschimmer aus der Kultur und der geistigen Tradition dieser großen Nation?

JH: Aus dem schwülen und zerflatternden Defätismus von Michel Houllebecqs Roman Unterwerfung kann man wohl kaum Trost schöpfen. Ebenso wenig aus dem makabren Schauspiel von Intellektuellen, die auf ihrer Wanderung von links nach rechts den Kompass verloren haben. Frankreich hat dem modernen Europa mit den Meistern der Aufklärung, den philosophes von Voltaire bis Rousseau, nicht nur großartige intellektuelle Gestalten beschert. Ihre Texte haben eine unabhängige und selbstkritische Denkungsart hervorgebracht, die damals auch Kant, unseren bedeutendsten und politisch unbeirrbarsten Philosophen, von Grund auf geprägt hat. Dieser leidenschaftliche, intransigente, für Moden unanfällige Geist hat sich gerade in Frankreich bis in meine Generation erhalten – und zwar, wenn ich an Pierre Bourdieu, Jacques Derrida oder Michel Foucault denke, gerade bei denen, die die Dialektik der Aufklärung durchdacht haben, ohne deren Geist zu verraten. Diese öffentlichen Stimmen fehlen heute. Aber ich bin sicher, dass die inspirierten Jüngeren dabei sind, ihre Chance zu ergreifen.

Also published in "Le Monde" (April, 20, 2017), entitled "Une rupture dans l’histoire de la République".

See also Jürgen Habermas's talk on "Which Future for Europe?" (Berlin, March 16, 2017):
* Transcript
* Video

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Scheuerman on Habermas and the Fate of Democracy

In "Boston Review" (April 12, 2017), Professor William E. Scheuerman reviews Stefan Müller-Doohm's biography of Jürgen Habermas (Polity Press, 2016):

Habermas and the Fate of Democracy

Excerpts

"During the last thirty years or so, as Habermas has moved from being a Marxist and left-socialist to a social democrat, he has constructively engaged with the ideas of left-liberal American thinkers such as Ronald Dworkin and John Rawls. He now speaks of the need to tame or civilize capitalism but no longer toys with the prospect of a basically different economic order. The shift has been widely noted by more radical critics. Once fashionable on the left, Habermas’s name is now sometimes met with skepticism by a younger generation for whom the recent global economic crisis underscores the need for a fundamental attack on capitalism."

"Habermas’s life-long interest in the nexus between democracy and capitalism, however, remains. [......] Against those on both left and right who seek what he views as a retrograde rolling back of globalization, Habermas wants political decision-making to be scaled up to our globalizing economy. Democracy and the welfare state not only need to catch up to globalization if they are to survive, but can only do so when reconstituted in new and more inclusionary ways beyond the nation state. He considers it a mistake to try to shore up the nation state with outdated ideas of political identity based on common ethnicity or far-reaching cultural or linguistic sameness, and he attacks nationalists and populists for doing so." (.....)

"He chides his friends on the social democratic left for pursuing economic policies barely distinguishable from those of the political right. The anti-EU backlash can be attributed precisely to that failure to recalibrate political and economic processes that has so vexed him since the 1990s, a failure exacerbated by mainstream politicians who allow populists to pose disingenuously as best able to provide economic security to voters suffering globalization’s worst consequences. In an interview with a political journal last November, Habermas reiterated his longstanding call for left-leaning parties in Europe to join arms and “go on the offensive against social inequality by embarking upon a coordinated and cross-border taming of unregulated markets.” Though sometimes vague on details, Habermas believes that only new transnational social and economic measures and regulations can extinguish populist political fires." (......)

"It [.....] seems ironic that our most impressive contemporary theorist of democracy spends so much time attacking elected leaders and other political elites for failing to take on unpopular political tasks. What about grassroots political and social movements, or a European public sphere? Why do we still see so few genuinely cross-border popular or citizen-based initiatives to reform or strengthen the EU? Habermas stylizes himself as a “radical democrat,” and has always emphasized that democracy remains principally a grassroots affair between and among active citizens who argue and debate about competing views. However, he has had relatively little to say about that part of the story." (.....)

Since the 1950s Jürgen Habermas has used his enormous intellectual and political energies to deepen democracy. Müller-Doohm occasionally seems overwhelmed by his subject. He neglects, for instance, the fascinating story of Habermas’s massive global dispersion—how his ideas have been taken up and creatively reworked by admirers and disciples. Müller-Doohm’s broad sympathies for Habermas also make him more cautious about expressing criticism. Still, he does a service in methodically outlining Habermas’s theoretical trajectory, highlighting its strengths as well as ambiguities and dead-ends. And he recounts Habermas’s activities as an outspoken public contrarian, in which Habermas has regularly confronted revanchist voices in Germany reluctant to confront the Nazi past and cramped views of national identity. While it seems unlikely that Habermas will win his battle to extend democracy beyond the nation state anytime soon, he has defined a path of intellectual and political engagement that others with similar commitments will—we can only hope—carry forward."

William E. Scheuerman is Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the Indiana University. Among his books are "Frankfurt School Perspectives on Globalization, Democracy and the Law" (Routledge, 2008) and "The Realist Case for Global Reform" (Polity Press, 2011). 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bernstein and Habermas on Pragmatism

Professor Richard J. Bernstein (The New School for Social Research, New York) held a masteclass in pragmatism at the Catholic Academy in Bavaria, Munich, March 20-22, 2017.

Jürgen Habermas participated in the discussion on March 21, 2017, on the topic "The Resurgence of Pragmatism".

See Alexander Riebel's report in "Die Tagespost" (March 24, 2017):

Wir leben in einer dunklen Zeit"


Richard Bernstein, Mara-Daria Cojocaru, and Jürgen Habermas

Monday, March 20, 2017

Habermas on "Which future for Europe?"

An English translation of Jürgen Habermas's introduction to a discussion with Emmanuel Macron and Sigmar Gabriel on the future of Europe, Berlin, March 16, 2017:

"Why The Necessary Cooperation Does Not Happen"
(Social Europe, March 20, 2017)

A German version here: "Europa neu denken" (Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik, April, 2017).

More information on the discussion here.

Excerpts

"European unification has remained an elite project to the present day because the political elites did not dare to involve the general public in an informed debate about alternative future scenarios. National populations will be able to recognize and decide what is in their own respective interest in the long run only when discussion of the momentous alternatives is no longer confined to academic journals – e.g. the alternatives of dismantling the euro or of returning to a currency system with restricted margins of fluctuation, or of opting for closer cooperation after all.

At any rate, other current problems that attract more public attention speak in favor of the need for Europeans to stand and act in common. It is the perception of a worsening international and global political situation that is slowly driving even the member governments of the European Council to their pain threshold and startling them out of their national narrow-mindedness. There is no secret about the crises that, at the very least, necessitate reflection on closer cooperation:
* Europe’s geopolitical situation had already been transformed by the Syrian civil war, the Ukraine crisis, and the gradual retreat of the United States from its role as a force for maintaining global order; but now that the superpower seems to be turning its back on the previously prevailing internationalist school of thought, things have become even more unpredictable for Europe. And these questions of external security have acquired even greater relevance as a result of Trump’s pressure on NATO members to step up their military contributions.
* Furthermore we will have to cope with the terrorist threat in the medium term; and Europe will have to struggle with the pressure of migration for an even longer time. Both developments clearly require Europeans to cooperate more closely.
* Finally, the change of government in the United States is leading to a split in the West not only over global trade and economic policies. Nationalist, racist, anti-Islamic, and anti-Semitic tendencies that have acquired political weight with the program and style of the new US administration are combining with authoritarian developments in Russia, Turkey, Egypt, and other countries to pose an unexpected challenge for the political and cultural self-understanding of the West. Suddenly Europe finds itself thrown back upon its own resources in the role of a defensive custodian of liberal principles (providing support to a majority of the American electorate that has been pushed to the margins).

These crisis tendencies are not the only thing impelling the EU countries to cooperate more closely. One can even understand the obstacles to closer cooperation as just as many reasons for accelerating a shift in European politics. It will become more difficult to effect such a shift the longer the unresolved crises foster right-wing populism and left-wing dissidence as regards Europe. Without an attractive and credible perspective for shaping Europe, authoritarian nationalism in member states such as Hungary and Poland will be strengthened. And unless we take a clear line, the offer of bilateral trade agreements with the US and – in the course of Brexit – with the UK will drive the European countries even farther apart." (......)

"The institutionalization of closer cooperation is what first makes it possible to exert democratic influence on the spontaneous proliferation of global networks in all directions, because politics is the only medium through which we can take deliberate measures to shape the foundations of our social life. Contrary to what the Brexit slogan suggests, we will not regain control over these foundations by retreating into national fortresses. On the contrary, politics must keep pace with the globalization that it set in motion. In view of the systemic constraints of unregulated markets and the increasing functional interdependence of a more and more integrated world society, but also in view of the spectacular options we have created – for example, of a still unmastered digital communication or of new procedures for optimizing the human organism – we must expand the spaces for possible democratic will-formation, for political action, and for legal regulation beyond national borders."

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Habermas-Macron-Gabriel on "Which future for Europe?" (video)

Discussion on "Which future for Europe?" at the The Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, on March 16, 2017.
* Professor Jürgen Habermas, Germany
* Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, France 
* Minister for Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel, Germany





See an English translation of Jürgen Habermas's introduction here.

The original German version: here.

Reports on the event:

Sebastian Fischer – ”Ein ängstlicher Europäer hat schon verloren
(Süddeutsche Zeitung)

Maria Exner - ”Vertraut mir einfach
(Die Zeit)

Derek Scally - "Habermas warns on EU integration without renewed German push"
(Irish Times)

Hubertus Volmer – ”Macron will Frankreich glaubwürdig machen
(n-tv)

Albrecht Meier – ”Gelingt dem Pro-Europäer Macron ein Erfolg wie Rutte?
(Der Tagesspiegel)

Marina Kormbaki - ”Gabriel trifft Macron: Gemeinsam mehr investieren
(Neue Presse)

Torsten Krauel - ”Zukunftsvision für Europa, in der Deutschland mehr zahlt
(Die Welt)



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Karl-Otto Apel turns 95 today

In "Frankfurter Rundschau" (March 15, 2017), Michael Hesse congratulates Karl-Otto Apel on his 95th birthday:

"Du existierst"

Excerpts

"Es ist ein schöner Frühlingstag und der Philosoph kommt ins Erzählen. Er gräbt tief in seinen Erinnerungen, schärft seine Begriffe und präsentiert manche Anekdote. Karl-Otto Apel ist einer der ganz großen deutschen Nachkriegsphilosophen. Viele meinen, er sei neben Jürgen Habermas der bedeutendste. Wer der wirklich Größte und Beste ist, ist auch unter Philosophen eine heikle Frage. Und einig ist man nur darin, dass hier völlige Uneinigkeit herrscht. Fraglos hingegen ist, dass Apel der deutschen Philosophie einen Hauch von Übersee verpasst hat. Denn er war einer der ersten, welche die Wahrheit nicht mehr nur in knöchernen Begriffssystemen suchte, sondern sie in der lebendigen Sprache zu finden meinte. Für deutsche Denker ein klassischer Umsturzversuch. Sprachphilosophische Wende nannte man den neuen Ansatz – oder linguistic turn, wie es wohl als einer der ersten der US-Philosoph Richard Rorty tat.

Daraus erwuchs bei Apel etwas, was unter „transzendentaler Sprachpragmatik“ Eingang in die Welt der Denker fand. „Transformation der Philosophie“ lautete der Titel seiner durchschlagenden Schrift, in der er sein Denken vorstellte. Um der Philosophie einen Sinn zu geben, musste sie erst überführt werden aus den klassischen Denksystemen in eine neue, offene Welt.

Aber auch in dieser, das war und blieb Apels feste Überzeugung, gibt es einen archimedischen Punkt. Ein Letztes, hinter das wir nicht gehen können, das uns aber die Sicherheit für die Welt des Wandels und die wechselnden Werte gibt. Wir finden es, wenn wir auf die Voraussetzungen unseres Denkens und Handelns blicken. Etwa wenn einer sagt: „Du existierst nicht“ oder „Ich plädiere für Streit als Ziel der Diskurse“ geraten sie in Selbstwidersprüche, da sie den „Nicht-Existierenden“ als Existierenden ansprechen und durch das Plädoyer ja Einigkeit erstreben. Wenn es aber solche unbestreibaren Gründe gibt, lassen sich auch Prinzipien formulieren, aus denen andere Wahrheiten folgen. Das war ein echter Clou von Apel. Dieses Letzte bewahrt uns davor, dass wir offenkundigen Unsinn reden."

(.....)

"1950 lernte er einen Mann aus Gummersbach kennen. „Damals habe ich promoviert und Jürgen Habermas kennengelernt.“ Sie wurden Freunde. Sie wollten die Welt verändern, sagt er. „Habermas und ich waren sehr nah beieinander in unserem politischen Denken. Wir wollten beide den Nationalismus überwinden und für Europa und eine weltbürgerliche Ordnung eintreten.“

Sie hatten ähnliche Ansätze und gingen dann doch eigene Wege: „Wir haben uns in der Tat voneinander entfernt“, erklärt Apel. Er war sich mit Habermas einig, dass das heutige Denken post-metaphysisch sein muss. Es gibt kein Zurück mehr in die Zeiten, in denen Hegel seine Systemphilosophie ausbreitete, geschweige denn in die Zeiten, in denen die Denker Gottesbeweise führten. Er entwickelte einen eigenen Ansatz. Seine Philosophie ist getragen von der Sorge um die ethische Grundlage des menschlichen Handelns. Es sollte nicht kulturellen Differenzen zum Opfer fallen, sondern universal gelten. Die ethischen Regeln werden im Diskurs festgelegt. Über Moral lässt sich reden. Menschenrechte taugen nicht zum Relativismus."

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Gabriel, Macron & Habermas on the future of Europe

On March 16, Germany's Minister for Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel, the French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and Jürgen Habermas will discuss the future of Europe at a meeting at the The Hertie School of Governance, Berlin.

More information here.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Rainer Forst in Copenhagen

On March 3, 2017, Professor Rainer Forst, Goethe University Frankfurt, talks at the University of Copenhagen.

The title of Rainer Forst's lecture is "Justice After Marx."

More information here.

See also two of my previous posts on Rainer Forst's work:

* His latest book in English (together with Wendy Brown): "The Power of Tolerance" (Columbia University Press, 2014).

* "The Right to Justification. Elements of a Constructivist Theory of Justice" (Columbia University Press, 2011).

Rainer Forst's latest book in German is a collection of essays, titled "Normativität und Macht - Zur Analyse sozialer Rechtfertigungsordnungen" (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2015). An excerpt here (pdf).

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Habermas on Fritz Stern

Jürgen Habermas spoke at a memorial colloquium for the German historian Fritz Stern (1926-2016) in Berlin, February 2, 2017. See my post on the event here.

Habermas's speech is published in "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" (February 8, 2017):

"Globalisierung der Diltheyschen Provinz"
[not yet available online]

Excerpts

"Als wir uns 1967 kennenlernten, war mir die Dissertation über den „Kulturpessimismus als Gefahr“ unbekannt; aber ich hatte „The Varieties of History“ gelesen – eine ungewöhnliche Sammlung von Texten, die Stern 1956 herausgegeben und mit einer substantiellen, im Hinblick auf seine ganze Existenz aufschlussreichen Einleitung versehen hatte. Die Auswahl versammelt Reflexionen bedeutender Historiker aus zwei Jahrhunderten, die über ihr akademisches Handwerk und den Sinn ihrer Disziplin nachdenken. Dieses philosophische Geschäft der Historik, also des Nachdenkens über die Ziele und Methoden von Geschichtsschreibung und historischer Forschung konnte zwar mit Johann Gustav Droysen und Wilhelm Dilthey zwei bedeutende Vertreter vorweisen, war aber damals in den Vereinigten Staaten ein eher idiosynkratisches, eben sehr deutsches Genre.

Interessant ist nicht nur die Tatsache, dass sich der dreißigjährige Fritz Stern auf unkonventionelle Weise mit diesem Thema befasst, sondern wie intensiv er sich in der langen Einleitung damit auseinandergesetzt hat. Diese liest sich rückblickend wie ein Programm zu dem, was aus Stern geworden ist: ein bedeutender Historiker mit einem in der persönlichen Lebensgeschichte verwurzelten Thema, das anklingt und von dem er zehrt, wenn er als Geschichtsschreiber politisch aufklärende Werke verfasst oder als amerikanischer Bürger und öffentlicher Intellektueller in dem Land, aus dem er vertrieben worden ist, eine politisch aufklärende Rolle spielt. Vielleicht ist das der Grund, warum Stern die „Varieties of History“ im Vorwort der zusammen mit Jürgen Osterhammel erweiterten Neuausgabe (München 2011) sein „Lieblingsbuch“ nennt.

Die philosophische Einleitung des jungen Historikers beginnt mit einem Blick auf die Ausdifferenzierung der Geschichte zu einer wissenschaftlichen Disziplin im Zeitalter der Aufklärung. Von Anbeginn zeichnen sich, wie Stern beobachtet, zwei widerstreitende Tendenzen ab: Einerseits etabliert sich die Geschichte als ein akademisches Fach; aber gleichzeitig entsteht das Bedürfnis einer zunehmend säkularen Gesellschaft, sich durch historische Selbstvergewisserung im Handeln zu orientieren. Kurzum, „als der Historiker sich gerade anschickte, ein akademischer Mönch zu werden, der sich mit seinen Quellen im Studierzimmer einschließt, wollte ihn seine Umwelt als Prediger haben“. Die Auswahl beginnt nicht zufällig mit Texten von Voltaire, denn Stern glaubte offensichtlich – es waren die fünfziger Jahre –, seine eigene liberale Gesinnung im Entstehungskontext des Faches selbst verankern zu können: „In ihrer betont modernen Form wuchs und blühte die Historie in einem Jahrhundert, das sich der Vernunft, der Wissenschaft und der Freiheit gewidmet hatte. Die Arbeit des Historikers stützte diese Ideen und wurde umgekehrt von ihnen gestärkt.“

Stern greift sogar hinter das achtzehnte Jahrhundert auf anthropologische Wurzeln zurück. Er ist überzeugt, dass das Interesse an Geschichte „der kognitive Ausdruck“ eines tief verwurzelten menschlichen Bedürfnisses ist, das sich spontan „mit der Geburt jedes Kindes“ regeneriere. Daher entsteht mit der Institutionalisierung des Faches eine Spannung zwischen der Spezialisierung der Forschung einerseits und der „Nähe zum Leben“ andererseits, zu der der Historiker in seiner Rolle als Geschichtsschreiber Kontakt halten soll. Diesen Antagonismus verfolgt der Autor über zweihundert Jahre. Im Gegeneinander der Verwissenschaftlichung der Disziplin und des Wunschs nach Aufklärung des Publikums entdeckt er „die Wechselwirkung zwischen den feststehenden Elementen der Geschichte – der kritischen Methode und der Quellen – und den zeitgebundenen Elementen, die in der Person des Historikers verkörpert sind“.

Damit nahm er übrigens der Gadamerschen Hermeneutik die wichtige Einsicht vorweg, dass sich der Historiker seinem Gegenstand nicht aus der Vogelperspektive nähern kann, sondern nur aus dem Horizont des eigenen Vorverständnisses. Dieses situationsabhängige Vorverständnis erklärt den eigentümlichen Modus des Veraltens oder Überlebens, das heißt Klassischwerdens geisteswissenschaftlicher Werke. Freilich kann und soll der Historiker versuchen, sich dieses Vorverständnis durch Reflexion bewusst zu machen: „Die Person des Historikers ist von Anfang bis zum Ende in sein Werk hineingewoben, und je mehr er sich dessen bewusst ist, desto klüger kann er seine Entscheidung treffen.“

Man kann die Autobiographie von Fritz Stern als eine solche selbstkritische Bewusstmachung der eigenen lebensgeschichtlichen Motive für die Wahl der Themen und für die Hintergrundprämissen seiner historischen Arbeiten verstehen. Das gilt sowohl im Hinblick auf seine Forschungen zum Ersten Weltkrieg und zur Weimarer Republik wie hinsichtlich seiner darstellenden Werke über die deutsch-jüdische Beziehung zwischen Bismarck und dem Bankier Bleichröder oder über die ideologischen Wurzeln des Nationalsozialismus.

In seinen „Erinnerungen“ legt der Historiker nicht nur Rechenschaft über ein Lebensthema ab, das für ihn zur wissenschaftlichen Herausforderung geworden ist. Das Thema war gleichzeitig eine politische Herausforderung für den Bürger und Intellektuellen. Als Amerikaner hat er im Land seiner Herkunft die für den kritischen Umgang mit der nationalsozialistischen Vergangenheit wichtige Rolle übernommen. Für uns war Fritz Stern ein Kompass, der in die richtige Richtung gewiesen hat. Aber in dem Spiegel, den er der Bundesrepublik vorgehalten hat, konnte sich jeder von uns auch blamieren – Fritz Stern hat den liberalen und den kooperativen Geist ermutigt und nicht dazu, uns in die Brust zu werfen."

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

New Book on Habermas and Giddens



Habermas and Giddens on Praxis and Modernity
A Constructive Comparison

by Craig Browne

(Anthem Press, 2017)

314 pages




Description

"Habermas and Giddens on Modernity: A Constructive Comparison" investigates how two of the most important and influential contemporary social theorists have sought to develop the modernist visions of the constitution of society through the autonomous actions of subjects. It compares Habermas and Giddens’ conceptions of the constitution of society, interpretations of the social-structural impediments to subjects’ autonomy, and their attempts to delineate potentials for progressive social change within contemporary society.

Contents [preview]

Introduction

Part I. New Paradigms and Social Theory Perspectives
1. Habermas’s New Paradigm of Critical Theory
2. Giddens’s Theory of Structuration – an Ontology of the Social

Part II. Institutionalizing Modernity: Development and Discontinuity
3. Habermas on the Institutionalizing of Modernity: Communicative Rationality, Lifeworld and System
4. Giddens on Institutionalizing Modernity: Power and Discontinuity
5. Intermediate Reflections on Social Theory Alternatives: Contrasts and Divisions

Part III. The Political and Social Constellation of Contemporary Modernity
6. Globalization, the Welfare State and Social Democracy
7. Deliberative Politics, the Democratizing of Democracy and European Cosmopolitanism

Conclusion

Craig Browne is a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Sydney.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Remembering Fritz Stern



Jürgen Habermas spoke at a memorial colloquium for the German historian Fritz Stern (1926-2016) in Berlin, February 2, 2017.

Among the participants were: Norbert Frei, Joschka Fischer, Bernhard Vogel and Jürgen Osterhammel.

Habermas's speech is published in "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeiting" (February 8, 2017): "Globalisierung der Diltheyschen Provinz".
On the event:

Michael Hesse – ”Was wird, liegt an uns” (Frankfurter Rundschau, February 4, 2017)

Patrick Bahners – ”Denk ich an Amerika” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, February 4, 2017)

Theo Sommer  "Von der Zerbrechlichkeit der Freiheit" (Die Zeit, February 7, 2017)

Interview with Norbert Frei – ”Der Zerfall des Politischen setzt sich fort” (Deutschlandsfunk, February 2, 2017) [Audio here]

Saturday, January 21, 2017

On John Rawls - Suggested Reading

Professor Leif Wenar (King's College, London) has updated his entry on John Rawls in "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy":

"John Rawls"


Excerpt from "Further Reading":

"Beyond the texts by Rawls cited above, readers may wish to consult Rawls's lectures on Hume, Leibniz, Kant, and Hegel (LHMP) and on Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Mill, Marx, Sidgwick, and Butler (LHPP) to see how Rawls's interpretations of these authors informed his own theorizing. Reath, Herman, and Korsgaard (1997) is a collection of essays by Rawls's students on his work in the history of philosophy.

Students wanting a clear guide to A Theory of Justice may wish to read Lovett (2011), or (more advanced) Mandle (2009). Voice (2011) gives an outline-style summary of Rawls's three main books that is accessible to those with some undergraduate philosophical training. Mandle and Reidy (2014) offers an alphabetized list of short entries, from Abortion to Maximin to Wittgenstein, of important concepts, issues, influences and critics.

Freeman (2007) sets out in a single volume the historical development of Rawls's theories, as well as sympathetic elaborations of many of his central arguments. Pogge (2007) is a rigorous examination of Rawls's domestic theories, which also contains a biographical sketch and brief replies to libertarian and communitarian critics (for which see also Pogge (1989)). Maffettone (2011) and Audard (2007) are critical introductions to Rawls's three major works. Moon (2014) offers an original reinterpretation of the Rawlsian project.

Mandle and Reidy (2013) is the most important recent collection of scholarly essays, spanning a wide range of issues arising from Rawls's work. Freeman (2003) is a collection of mostly friendly articles on major themes in Rawls's domestic theories; it also contains an introductory overview of all of Rawls's work. Young (2016) is a selection of more critical articles.

Historically, the most influential volume of essays on justice as fairness has been Daniels (1975). Brooks and Nussbaum (2015) presents incisive recent articles on Rawls's political liberalism. Older collections on political liberalism include Davion and Wolf (1999), Griffin and Solum (1994) and Lloyd (1994). Martin and Reidy (2006) focuses on the law of peoples. Hinton (2015) is a volume of articles by leading scholars on the original position.

Abbey (2013) is an edited volume on feminist interpretations of Rawls's work. Bailey and Gentile (2014) is an important anthology of articles that explore how extensively religious believers can engage in the political life of a Rawlsian society. Fleming (2004) is a symposium on Rawls and the law. O'Neill and Williamson (2012) contains many significant essays on the institutional design of Rawls's preferred polity, the property-owning democracy.

Readers who can gain access (usually through a library) to Kukathas (2003, 4 volumes) or Richardson and Weithman (1999, 5 volumes) will find many of the most important critical articles on Rawls's work, divided according to specific themes (e.g., maximin reasoning, public reason) and types of criticisms (e.g., conservative critiques, feminist critiques). Readers without access to the Richardson and Weithman volumes can follow the links [volume 1, volume 2, volume 3, volume 4, volume 5] to their tables of contents and can then locate the articles desired in their original places of publication."

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)