Friday, November 27, 2009

Links to the Sloterdijk/Honneth debate

Peter Sloterdijk: "Die Revolution der gebenden Hand"
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, June 13, 2009)

Peter Sloterdijk: "Aus Steueruntertanen müssen Bürger werden"
(Die Welt, July 12, 2009)

Axel Honneth: "Fataler Tiefsinn aus Karlsruhe"
(Die Zeit, September 24, 2009) Update: English translation here

Jürgen Kaube: "Der Vermögensverwalter"
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, September 25, 2009)

Peter Sloterdijk: "Das elfte Gebot: die progressive Einkommenssteuer"
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, September 27, 2009)

Jürgen Kaube: "Gespräch mit Jürgen Kaube über den Honneth Sloterdijk Streit"
(Interview in Radio Bremen, September 29, 2009)

Christoph Menke: "Wahrheit - Nicht Stil"
(Die Zeit, October 15, 2009)

Karl Heinz Bohrer: "Lobhudeleien der Gleichheit"
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, October 21, 2009)

Harry Nutt: "Eingrenzung der Kampfzone"
(Frankfurter Rundschau, October 22, 2009)

Axel Honneth: "Gesprächszeit"
(Interview in Radio Bremen, October 26, 2009)

Peter Sloterdijk: "Aufbruch der Leistungsträger"
(Cicero, November 2009)

Franz Sommerfeld: "Die neuen Sozialliberalen"
(Frankfurter Rundschau, November 4, 2009)

Paul Kirchhof: "Die Steuer ist ein Preis der Freiheit"
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, November 7, 2009)

Christian Schlüter: "Sektkorkenknaller auf der Debattenparty"
(Frankfurter Rundschau, November 10, 2009)

Harald Jähner: "Almosen statt Steuern?"
(Berliner Zeitung, November 18, 2009)

Albrecht von Lucke: "Propaganda der Ungleichheit"
(Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik 12/2009


Axel Honneth: "Nach neuen Formen suchen" (Interview)
(Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, December 17, 2009)

Rüdiger Safranski - Zeiten-Wende im Diskurs? Die neue Sloterdijk-Debatte [Audio]
(Interview in Deutschlandsfunk, December 20, 2009)

(Frankfurter Rundschau, December 29, 2009)

Peter Sloterdijk - Wider die Verteufelung der Leistungsträger (Interview)
(Süddeutsche Zeitung, January 6, 2010)

Lutz Wingert - Ab in die Dienerschule
(Die Zeit, January 7, 2010)

Jens Jessen - Jetzt heißt es betteln lernen
(Die Zeit, January 21, 2010)

Oskar Negt - Interview [Video]
(3sat, January 28, 2010)

Peter Sloterdijk - The Grasping Hand
(City Journal, Winter 2010, vol. 20 no. 1)

Albrecht von Lucke - Abschied vom "Aufstiegsversprechen der Republik" (Interview)
(Deutschlandsradio, February 15, 2010)

Norbert Bolz - Ohne Ungleichheit kein Leistungsansporn (Interview)
(Deutschlandsradio, February 16, 2010)

Manfred Frank - "Die spätgriechische Dekadenz"
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, March 10, 2010)

Peter Sloterdijk - "Die nehmende Hand und die gebende Seite"
(Book, Suhrkamp Verlag, 2010)

Peter Sloterdijk - "Warum ich doch recht habe"
(Die Zeit, December 2, 2010)

Elke Brüns - "Der gute Mensch aus Karlsruhe"
(Frankfurter Rundschau, December 11, 2010)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Essays on the philosophy of Iris Marion Young

Dancing with Iris:
The Philosophy of Iris Marion Young

by Ann Ferguson & Mechtild Nagel

(Oxford University Press, 2009)

280 pages


Iris Marion Young (1949-2006) was a world-renowned feminist moral and political philosopher whose many books and articles spanned more than three decades. She explored issues of social justice and oppression theory, the phenomenology of women's bodies, deliberative democracy and questions of terrorism, violence, international law and the role of the national security state. Her works have been of great interest to those both in the analytic and Continental philosophical tradition, and her roots range from critical theory (Habermas and Marcuse), and phenomenology (Beauvoir and Merleau Ponty) to poststructural psychoanalytic feminism (Kristeva and Ingaray). This anthology of writings aims to carry on the fruitful lines of thought she created and contains works by both well-known and younger authors who explore and engage critically with aspects of her work.


Homage to Iris Marion Young
1. Introduction - Ann Ferguson & Mechthild Nagel
2. When I think about myself as politically engaged, I think of myself as a citizen: Interview with Irish Young - Vlasta Jalusic & Mojca Pajnik
3. Letter to Iris Young - Karsten J. Struhl

Embodiment, Phenomenology and Gender
4. Iris Young and the Gendering of Phenomenology - Sandra Bartky
5. Resonance and Dissonance: The Role of Personal Experience in Iris Marion Young's Feminist Phenomenology - Michaele Ferguson
6. Throwing Like a Girl, Dancing Like a Feminist Philosopher - Susan Leigh Foster
7. Iris Marion Young: Between Phenomenology and Structural Injustice - Bonnie Mann

Theorizing the State: Method, Violence and Resistance
8. L'Imagination au pouvoir: Comparing John Rawls's Method of Ideal Theory with Iris Marion Youngs Method of Critical Theory - Alison M. Jaggar
9. Thinking Between Democracy and Violence - Bat-Ami Bar On
10. Engendering [In]Security and Terror: On the Protection Racket of Security States - Margaret Denike

Justice: Ethics and Responsibility
11. Iris Young's Last Thoughts on Responsibility for Global Justice - Martha Nussbaum
12. Injustice, Evil, and Oppression - Claudia Card
13. The Faces of Animal Oppression - Lori Gruen
14. Making Character Disposition Matter in Young's Deliberative Democracy - Desirée Melton

Justice: Democracy and Inclusion
15. Iris Young, Global Responsibility and Solidarity - Ann Ferguson
16. Varieties of Global Responsibility: Social Connection, Human Rights, and Transnational Solidarity - Carol C. Gould
17. On Immigration Politics in the Context of European Societies and the Structural Inequality Model - Máriam Martinez
18. Womens Work Trips and Multifaceted Oppression - Ibipo Johnston-Anumonwo

Ann Ferguson is Emerita Professor of Women's Studies and Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Mechthild Nagel is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies at the State University of New York, College at Cortland.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

German translation of Rawls's book on religion

A German translation of John Rawls's "A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith" (Harvard University Press, 2009) is coming out on Suhrkamp Verlag in spring 2010.

The German title: "Über Sünde, Glaube und Religion".

Jürgen Habermas will write an afterword to the German edition.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rawls and Habermas are the "leaders" of political theory

The Oxford University Press has published a 10-volume "Oxford Handbooks of Political Science" (2006-2009), edited by Robert E. Goodin. In a new supplementary volume with selected chapters from the ten volumes, Robert Goodin has written a chapter on "the state of the discipline" which contains lists of the "leaders" of the sub-disciplines of political science (defined as the 1 percent of people whose names appear most frequently in the indices of the volumes).

In the sub-discipline "Political Theory", the leaders are:

1. John Rawls (86 entries)
2. Jürgen Habermas (50)
3. Michel Foucault (48)
4. Iris Marion Young (36)
5. Ronald Dworkin (35)
6. Will Kymlicka (34)
7. Charles Taylor (30)
8. Seyla Benhabib (29)
9. W. E. Connolly (28)
10. David Miller (24)
11. Hannah Arendt (23)
12. Brian Barry (23)
13. Leo Strauss (23)
14. Jeremy Waldron (22)
15. Sheldon S. Wolin (22)

All pre-20th century authors are excluded from the list.

Both W.E. Connolly and David Miller have authored a chapter in the volume on political theory.

On the list of the "leaders of the discipline" (defined as the most frequently names in the indices of the ten volumes), John Rawls is number 3 (132 entries) and Habermas number 9 (95 entries).

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Cosmopolitan Imagination

New book by Gerard Delanty:

The Cosmopolitan Imagination
The Renewal of Critical Social Theory

(Cambridge University Press, 2009)


Gerard Delanty provides a comprehensive assessment of the idea of cosmopolitanism in social and political thought which links cosmopolitan theory with critical social theory. He argues that cosmopolitanism has a critical dimension which offers a solution to one of the weaknesses in the critical theory tradition: failure to respond to the challenges of globalization and intercultural communication. Critical cosmopolitanism, he proposes, is an approach that is not only relevant to social scientific analysis but also normatively grounded in a critical attitude. Delanty’s argument for a critical, sociologically oriented cosmopolitanism aims to avoid, on the one hand, purely normative conceptions of cosmopolitanism and, on the other, approaches that reduce cosmopolitanism to the empirical expression of diversity. He attempts to take cosmopolitan theory beyond the largely Western context with which it has generally been associated, claiming that cosmopolitan analysis must now take into account non-Western expressions of cosmopolitanism.



1. The Rise and Decline of Classical Cosmopolitanism
2. Contemporary Cosmopolitanism and Social Theory
3. Global Ethics, Solidarity and the Problem of Violence
4. Cosmopolitan Citizenship and the Post-Sovereign State
5. Multiculturalism from a Cosmopolitan Perspective
6. Religion in a Cosmopolitan Society
7. Cosmopolitanism, Modernity and Global History
8. Cosmopolitanism and European Political Community
9. Europe as a Borderland
10. Conclusion: Intercultural Dialogue in a Post-Western World

Gerard Delanty is Professor of Sociology and Social & Political Thought, the Department of Sociology, University of Essex, UK.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jürgen Habermas and Charles Taylor in conversation

From the conference on "Rethinking Secularism: The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere" (New York University, October 22, 2009), a discussion between Jürgen Habermas and Charles Taylor on the difference between religious and secular reasoning:

Audio and transcript here (at the blog "The Immanent Frame")


Jürgen Habermas: "I’m, in the first place, maintaining that there are differences in kind between religious and secular reasons. Secondly, I’m maintaining that religion makes, in relation to the legitimation of constitutional essentials and so forth, a difference because of the historical fusion of religion with politics that had to be differentiated out."

Charles Taylor: "I don’t see how you can track in different kinds of discourse—unless we are talking about other kinds of discourse, where I’m saying to you, “Well, I had this great experience, a vision of the Virgin or St. Therese,” and so on—Of course, at that point, that discourse is directly related to this kind of experience. Certain kinds of discourse, if I were trying to describe to you a religious experience, would be directly related to that experience. But the kind of discourse we’re sharing—Martin Luther King had a certain discourse about the U.S. Constitution and its entailments which weren’t being followed through. And then he had a very powerful Christian discourse, referring to Exodus, referring to liberation. Nobody had any trouble understanding this. They didn’t have to imagine or be able to understand or conceive the deeper experiences that he might have had—you know, the experience in the kitchen when he decided he had to go on."

Jürgen Habermas: "I do want to save also the imperative character of religious speech in the public sphere, because I’m convinced that there are buried intuitions that can be uncovered by a moving speech. Listening to Martin Luther King, it makes no difference whether you are secular or not. You understand what he means. He is speaking in the public and was killed for that. This is not our difference. Our difference is that in one of your phrases, at least in the paper, you said there is a call for a deeper grounding of a secular justification of constitutional essentials in terms of popular sovereignty and human rights. This is our difference. There I think I could not follow you...."

Jürgen Habermas: "I am raised as a Lutheran Protestant and now I am an agnostic...."

Charles Taylor: "If you want an emphasis on negotiation, where we put together our charter of rights from different people, it can’t be in Benthamite language, it can’t be simply in Kantian language, it can’t be in Christian language. What Jürgen calls “secular” I’ll call “neutral.” That’s how I see it. I see it as absolutely indispensable."

Listen to the paper presentations that preceded this discussion here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thomas Pogge at Oxford University, November 27

Professor Thomas Pogge (Yale) will deliver the second Society for Applied Philosophy Annual Lecture at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford, November 27.
The lecture's title is "Measuring Development, Poverty and Gender Equity".

The lecture will be chaired by Onora O'Neill, Honorary President of the Society for Applied Philosophy.

The paper will be published in issue 27:1 of Journal of Applied Philosophy.

Thomas Pogge is Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University. His latest book is "World Poverty and Human Rights", 2nd, expanded edition (Polity Press 2008). In sping 2010, Cambridge University Press will publish his new book "Politics as Usual: What Lies behind the Pro-Poor Rhetoric". Polity Press plans a book with critical essays on Pogge - "Thomas Pogge and his Critics", edited by Alison Jaggar.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

R. Bruce Douglass reviews Rawls on religion

R. Bruce Douglass (Georgetown University) reviews John Rawls's "A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith" (Harvard University Press, 2009) in the November issue of "The Christian Century":

"Reasonable God"


"Reading his statement, one gets the sense that his initial movement away from the religion of his youth hardened into something much deeper—and more polemical—as he matured. By the end of his life, Rawls could find nothing good to say about Christianity. He even mounts a moral critique of the idea of salvation itself, on the grounds that it is a recipe for spiritual isolation and self-absorption. "Christianity is a solitary religion," he writes; "each is saved and damned individually, and we naturally focus on our own salvation to the point where nothing else might seem to matter.""

"In the introduction, Joshua Cohen and Thomas Nagel observe that "those who have studied Rawls's work, and even more, those who knew him personally, are aware of a deeply religious temperament that informed his life and writings." That may well have been the case. But the statement shows that Rawls was not religious in any conventional sense.
The book contains none of the sentiments generally expressed in religious practice—not even the reverence for "higher powers" that has often characterized the outlook of deists in the past. It's possible that Rawls simply does not express himself well on this subject, but I don't think it is any accident that he is silent about everything—including the question of creation—that might inspire a sense of indebtedness or gratitude. The affective side of religion was just what he wanted to get away from.
Would Rawls have liked his outlook on religion to be shared more widely? Did he think we would be better off if this were the case? Probably, but as an American living in the latter part of the 20th century, he could hardly have been under any illusions about the likelihood of this occurring. Nor does he seek to be a public advocate for the sort of alternative to conventional religion he favored. He kept that to himself, treating it as the private matter I am sure he thought religion should be."

Monday, November 16, 2009

New essays on Habermas and religion

Moderne Religion?
Theologische und religions-
philosophische Reaktionen
auf Jürgen Habermas

ed. by
Knut Wenzel & Thomas M. Schmidt

(Herder Verlag, 2009),
327 pages


Jürgen Habermas hat mit seinen Überlegungen zur postsäkularen Gesellschaft eine internationale und anhaltende Debatte ausgelöst. Sie trifft in eine Zeit, die von einer neuen, gesellschaftlichen und politischen Präsenz der Religionen im Weltmaßstab geprägt zu sein scheint. Sie wird deswegen gesellschaftlich geführt, aber auch in den "'zuständigen" Disziplinen der Philosophie und der Theologie. Der Band dokumentiert diese Debatte und führt sie weiter.

Back cover text

Während weithin ein Konsens darüber besteht, dass Beuzeit und Moderne vor allem als Entflechtung von Staat und Religion zu deuten sind, ist höchst fraglich, wie das neu entstehende Verhältnis zwischen beiden bestimmt werden kann: Wie weit braucht eine säkulare Gesellschaft womöglich die Religion zur lebensweltlichen Einbettung der sie tragenden Werte? Können religiöse Überzeugungen als vernünftige Argumente in der säkularen Öffentlichkeit geltend gemacht werden, oder müssen sie in eine allgemeine, "säkulare" Sprache übersetzt werden? Braucht es eine theologische Glaubensbegründung zu den Bedingungen nachmetaphysischen Denkens, oder muss umgekehrt die Philosophie ihre eigene Begrenztheit in der Anerkennung eines theologischen "Anteils" an der gemeinsamen Vernunft eingestehen? Sollen die Religionen schließlich nicht aus den Quellen der eigenen Glaubenüberlieferung eine Argumentation der grundsätzlichen Zustimmung zur Säkularität entwickeln? Es ist das Verdienst von Jürgen Habermas, hier entscheidende Denkangebote zu formulieren, welche die Diskussion in Gang setzen und halten und immer wieder unter dem Brennglas einer umfassenden Theoriebildung bündeln. Dies in kritischer Anknüpfung zu würdigen, ist Motiv dieses Buches.


1. Nachmetaphysische Religionsphilosophie - Thomas M. Schmidt

2, Religiöse Argumente im demokratischen Verfahren - Maeve Cooke

3. Offene Fragen im Universum öffentlicher Gründe - Hermann-Josef Große Kracht

4. Jenseits liberaler öffentlicher Vernunft - Maureen Junker-Kenny

5. Religion als kulturelle Praxis an der Grenze zwischen Glauben und Wissen - Michael Reder

6. "Religiös" oder "säkular"? Zu einer problematischen Underscheidung bei Jürgen Habermas - Gesche Linde

7. Ôffentliche Vernunft - religiöse Vernunft - Markus Knapp

8. Die religiöse Selbst- und Weltdeutung des bewussten Daseins und ihre Bedeutung für eine "moderne Religion" - Saskia Wendel

9. Religion und Politik - Ottmar John

10. Gott in der Moderne. Grund und Ansatz einer Theologie der Säkularität - Knut Wenzel

Knut Wenzel is Professor of Dogmatic Theology on the Roman Catholic Theological Faculty of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt.

Thomas M. Schmidt is Professor of Philosophy of Religion on the Roman Catholic Theological Faculty of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Habermas speaks in Moscow on November 16

Jürgen Habermas speaks at the UNESCO conference "Philosophy in the Dialogue of Cultures" in Moscow, November 16-19, 2009. The conference is part of the international celebration of UNESCO's "World Philosophy Day" on November 19.

On the first day of the conference, Habermas will give a keynote lecture, entitled "Religion, Law and Politics - On Political Justice in a Multicultural World Society".

See the programme here.

The topic of Habermas's lecture was changed to ""The Internal Relationship Between Human Dignity and Human Rights". See my post on the event here.

Jeremy Waldron's Holmes Lectures 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. They are available online:

"Dignity and Defamation - The Visibility of Hate"

First lecture: “Why Call Hate Speech Group Libel?”
[Paper] [Video]

Second lecture: “What Does a Well-Ordered Society Look Like?”
[Paper] [Video]

Third lecture: “Libel and Legitimacy”
[Paper] [Video]

Jeremy Waldron argued for the regulation of hate speech to reinforce society’s collective commitment to uphold one another’s personal dignity. In making his case, Waldron compared existing hate speech laws from advanced democracies around the world and concluded that they can be an effective way to deal with the “visible defamations of social groups". In the third lecture, Waldron addressed several important counter arguments to his view of hate speech regulation, including Ronald Dworkin's arguments in his foreword to "Extreme Speech and Democracy" (Oxford University Press, 2009), edited by James Weinstein and Ivan Hare.

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Amartya Sen at LSE November 20

Nobel Prize winner Professor Amartya Sen will discuss his latest book "The Idea of Justice" with LSE's Professor Richard Sennett at London School of Economics and Political Science, November 20, 5-6pm.

For details see here.

The event can be seen online at LSE Live.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Martha Nussbaum talks about Hellenistic ethics

On ABC National Radio, November 7, 2009, professor Martha Nussbaum talked with Alan Saunders about

The Therapy of Desire -
Epicureans and Stoics on the Good Life

Audio and transcript here.

Martha Nussbaum is Professor of Law and Ethics at the Department of Philosophy, School of Law, University of Chicago. In 1994, Martha Nussbaum published "The Therapy of Desire. Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics" (Princeton University Press, 1994). It has been re-issued this year with a new introduction by Nussbaum.

Monday, November 09, 2009

New book on democratizing the EU

The Unfinished Democratization of Europe

by Erik O. Eriksen

(Oxford University Press, 2009)

286 pages


The book analyzes the reforms undertaken to bring the EU 'closer to the citizens'. It documents elements of democratization and reduction of arbitrary power. However, democracy requires that the citizens can approve or reject the laws they are subjected to. Since the institutional as well as the civic conditions under which a public justification process would be deemed legitimate are not in place, European post-national democracy remains an unaccomplished mission.


1: Introduction: European Democracy in Transformation

Part I The Democratic Challenge
2: The Quest for Democratization
3: Democratic Legitimacy Through Deliberation?

Part II Elements of Democratization
4: Europe - On the Search for its Legitimacy
5: Chartering Europe
6: The Cosmopolitan Dimension
7: A layered European Public Sphere

Part III What Kind of Legitimate Order?
8: Government or Transnational Governance?
9: Government without a State
10: Parliamentary Democracy Without a Demos

Finale - An Unaccomplished Post-National Democracy

Erik O. Eriksen is Professor of Political Science and Director of ARENA - Centre for European Studies at the University of Oslo. Erik O. Eriksen is co-author with Jarle Weigard of "Understanding Habermas: Communicative Action and Deliberative Democracy" (Continuum, 2003).

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Amartya Sen in Oxford, November 19-20

The Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen visits Oxford University on November 19-20:

(1) Roundtable discussion: Economics and 'The Idea of Justice'

November 19, 1.30-4.30pm, Examination Schools, University of Oxford.

Do we need a new economic framework? This will be a large public event in which leading academics and practitioners will catalyse discussion on how economics must change in the light of the financial crisis and of criticisms that economic progress does not advance human well-being. Speakers will draw on proposals made in Sen’s recent book 'The Idea of Justice' as well as their own work. Confirmed speakers include Amartya Sen, John Broome, Stefan Dercon, Will Hutton, Peter Lilley, Avner Offer, James Purnell, Angus Ritchie, and Sabina Alkire. Input from the floor will be welcome. Chaired by Ngaire Woods and Frances Cairncross.

(2) Distinguished Public Lecture: "The Pursuit of Justice"
November 19, 5.00pm, Sheldonian Theatre, University of Oxford.

The lecture will be chaired by Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of the University.

(3) Philosophy Seminar with Amartya Sen
November 20, 9:30-1:00pm, Lecture Room, Faculty of Philosophy, 10 Merton Street

Chair: John Gardner

9:30-11:00: Discussion of Amartya Sen’s lecture ‘The Pursuit of Justice’
This is a time for philosophers and political scientists in particular to express academic comments or questions to Professor Sen regarding his lecture the previous afternoon, or indeed regarding his recent book The Idea of Justice on which that lecture draws. Members of the Faculty of Philosophy will initiate the discussion, after which the floor will be open.

11:30-1:00: Key issues
In this session, brief papers will be presented to stimulate discussion on certain issues related to The Idea of Justice, including one paper entitled 'Sen on the nature of justice and the grounds of human rights' by John Tasioulas.

For further details see here.

Essays for John Dunn - "Political Judgment"

Political Judgement
Essays for John Dunn

Edited by Richard Bourke & Raymond Geuss

(Cambridge University Press, 2009)

368 pages


From Plato to Max Weber, the attempt to understand political judgement took the form of a struggle to define the relationship between politics and morals. This book by leading international scholars in the fields of history, philosophy and politics restores the subject to a place at the very centre of political theory and practice. Whilst it provides a range of perspectives on the theme of practical reason, it also explores a series of related problems in philosophy and political thought, raising fundamental questions about democracy, trust, the nature of statesmanship, and the relations between historical and political judgement. In the process, the volume reconsiders some classic debates in political theory – about equality, authority, responsibility and ideology – and offers new and original treatments of key figures in the history of political thought, including Thucydides, Montaigne, Locke, Smith, Burke and Marx.


Introduction - Richard Bourke and Raymond Geuss

Part I. The Character of Political Judgement
1. What is Political Judgement? - Raymond Geuss
2. Sticky Judgement and the Role of Rhetoric - Victoria McGeer and Philip Pettit
3. Theory and Practice: The Revolution in Political Judgement - Richard Bourke

Part II. Trust, Judgement and Consent
4. On Trusting the Judgement of our Rulers - Quentin Skinner
5. Adam Smith's History of Law and Government as Political Theory - Istvan Hont
6. Marxism in Translation: Critical Reflections on Indian Radical Thought - Sudipta Kaviraj

Part III. Rationality and Judgement
7. Pericles' Unreason - Geoffrey Hawthorn
8. Accounting for Human Actions: Individual Agency and Political Judgement in Montaigne's Essais - Biancamaria Fontana
9. Nehru's Judgement - Sunil Khilnani

Part IV. Democracy and Modern Political Judgement
10. Democracy, Equality and Redistribution - Adam Przeworski [paper]
11. Democracy and Terrorism - Richard Tuck

Bibliography of the works of John Dunn.

John Dunn is a emeritus Professor of Political Theory at King's College, Cambridge. His latest book is Setting the People Free: The Story of Democracy (Atlantic, 2006).

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Conference in London: "Europe and North America in a Disordered World"

Conference at University College London, November 21-22, 2009:

What Now? Europe and North America in a Disordered World

Arranged by UCL, The New York Review of Books, and The Guardian.


Transatlantic Perspectives
Chair: Robert Silvers
A Westward View from London: Christopher Patten
An Eastward View from Washington: Bill Bradley
And from New York: Brian Urquhart

Post- Industrial Dystopias and How to Avoid Them
Chair: Edward Mortimer
Emma Rothschild, Richard Sennett, Simon Head

Crises Of Capitalism
Chair: Theo Sommer
Keynes Revisited - Robert Skidelsky
Causes, Consequences and Remedies - Paul Krugman and Robin Wells
The Crises and the Future of Capitalism - Amartya Sen

Global Security: Partnership Of Equals?
Chair: Alan Rusbridger
Towards a Solution in Palestine - Robert Malley
And in Iraq and Afghanistan – Rory Stewart
Europe and North America: Partnership of Equals? - Margaret MacMillan

Is the Left Finished?
Jonathan Freedland, Godfrey Hodgson, Marc Stears

Rangoon, Rwanda And Beyond; Upholding Democracy And Human Rights
Chair: Robert Silvers
Is There a Right to Intervene? - Ronald Dworkin and Anthony Dworkin
Human Rights: Conflicting Visions - Robert Badinter
Beyond the West - Timothy Garton Ash

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Audio with Habermas, Taylor, Butler & West - Rethinking Secularism

Listen to audio from the conference on "Rethinking Secularism: The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere" (New York University, October 22, 2009):

Audio here (from the blog "The Immanent Frame")


Jürgen Habermas:
"The Political" - The Rational Sense of a Questionable Inheritance of Political Theology

Charles Taylor:
Why We Need a Radical Redefinition of Secularism

Judith Butler:
Is Judaism Zionism? Religious Sources for the Critique of Violence

Cornel West:
Prophetic Religion and The Future of Capitalist Civilization

Monday, November 02, 2009

Peter Sloterdijk's "Manifesto"

The German magazine "Cicero - Magazin für politische Kultur" November 2009 features an extensive essay by Peter Sloterdijk, entitled "Aufbruch der Leistungsträger" (pp. 95-107).

The essay is both a contribution to the ongoing Sloterdijk/Honneth debate on the relation between the so-called "productive" and "unproductive" citizens in the German welfare society (see here and here) and a comment on the results of the German elections on September 27.

"Cicero" characterizes Sloterdijk's essay as a "bürgerliche Manifest" - "ein Manifest zum neuen Zeitgeist, ein Plädoyer für Freiheitswind in Deutschland".

Excerpts (the headings are mine):

(1) The need for a political-psychological reformation.

"Von einem Ende zum anderen ist unsere Alltagskultur von den Figuren und Affekten der Mangelrhetorik durchdrungen. (.....) An allen Ecken und Enden spricht man nur noch vom Fehlen, vom Brauchen, vom Nicht-Haben und vom Beantragen. (.....) Wie keine Generation zuvor sind wir therapeutisiert, kulpabilisiert, miserabilisiert und auf Defizitgefühle dressiert. (.....). Für die komplementäre Dimension des menschlichen Seelenlebens, den Stolz, die Ehre, die Großzügigkeit, das Haben und Schenken, für die ganze Skala der gebenden Tugenden, die zum kompletten thymotischen Leben gehören, haben wir praktisch kein Empfinden mehr, und mit dem fehlrenden Empfinden ist auch die dazugehörige Sprache ausgestorben. (.....) Vor diesem Hintergrund lässt sich begreiflich machen, warum der westlichen Zivilisation im Allgemeinen und der deutsche Kultur im Besonderen auf mittelfristige Sicht nur noch durch eine Art politisch-psychologischer Reformation zu helfen sind. Könnte es sein, dass wir am Anfang einer solchen stehen?" (p. 96-97)

(2) The need for a new social contract.

"Der durch sein Fiskalprivileg ermächtigte Umverteilungsstaat aktuellen Typs verkörpert essenziell eine krypto-semi-sozialistische Struktur. (.....) Um aber den fiskalisch basierten Semisozialismus in seiner Eigenart zu begreifen, muss man zwei Dinge stets in Betracht ziehen: zum einen, dass seine Existenz von allen Akteuren strikt geleugnet wird.... Zum anderen ist für den realen Semisozialismus bezeichnend, dass er bisher ausschlißlich in nationalstaatlichen Formen praktizierbar war. (.....) Dieses System stößt seit einer Weile an die Grenzen seiner Leistungsfähigkeit. In Zeiten erhöhter Migration, intensiverer Zuwanderung, zunehmender Elitenabwanderung und demografischer Ausdünnung macht der moderne Staat die irritierende Entdeckung, dass es mit der sozialnationalen Synthese allein auf Dauer nicht mehr getan ist. Seither lautet die Aufgabe für den Staat, der sich und seine Populationen reproduzieren will: Es gilt, eine Integrationsformel höherer Stufe zu finden, kraft welcher eine zunehmend heterogene Staats-
bevölkerung als Leistungsträgergemeinschaft jenseits der divergierenden Herkunftskulturen bestimmt wird. Diese Formel kann nur durch einen neuen "Gesellschaftsvertrag" zustande kommen, der die Leistungsträger aller beteiligten Seiten in die Mitte der sozialen Synthesis rückt." (p. 100-101)

(3) The "class" conflict between the Liberal Party (FDP) and the Left.

"Dass beide Volksparteien große Verlierer sind, wurde vielfach gesagt und wird auch durch Wiederholungen nicht falsch. Was die klaren Gewinner angeht, die Liberalen und die Linke, so bedeuten die Zuwächse, die sie erfahren haben, auf den ersten Blick nichts anderes als praktizierte Normalität. Nichts ist normaler und demokratischer als die Tatsache, dass sich bei Wahlen Interessen in Präferenzen übersetzen. Bemerkenswert ist aber, dass es in Deutschland zur Stunde offenbar nur zwei Gruppierungen gibt, die durch ihre prägnanten Interessen zu klaren Wahlentscheidungen motiviert sind, eben die Wähler der Linken und der FDP (.....)" (p. 104)
"Auf den zweiten Blick taucht hinter der Plausibilität des deutschen Wählerverhaltens eine stark veränderte Konfliktlandschaft auf. Die Antithese zwischen der Linken und den Liberalen ist überaus bedeutungsvoll, um nicht zu sagen zukunftsentscheidend, weil sich in ihr eine bisher systematisch verschleierte Polarisierung der Gesellschaft in nie zuvor gesehener Klarheit artikuliert. Zum ersten Mal in der Geschichte der neueren deutschen Demokratie treten sich in den Gewinnern des 27. September zwei Gruppen gegenüber, die man so noch nicht miteinander konfrontiert sah. Man möchte fast an einen "Klassen"gegensatz unbekannten Typs glauben, der bisher nicht bis zur offenen Kollision herangereift war. (.....) An der neuen politischen Front stoßen (.....) zwei finanzpolitische Großgruppen aufeinander: hier die Transfermassengeber, die aufgrund von unumgehbaren Steuerpflichten die Kassen füllen, dort die Transfermassennehmer, die aufgrund von sozialpolitisch festgelegten Rechtsansprüchen die Kassen leeren." (p. 104)

(4) The task for the Liberal Party (FDP).

"Die Liberalen haben zugleich die einfachste und die schwierigste Aufgabe vor sich. (.....) Es ist ihre objektive Aufgabe, dafür zu sorgen, dass der Leistungsträgerkern der deutschen Population sich in Zukunft nicht nur fiskalisch stark mitgenommen fühlt, sondern sich endlich auch politisch, sozial und kulturell gewürdigt weiß. Es geht darum, eine neue Semantik zu schaffen, die die Leistungsträgern als Gebern Genugtuung verschafft. Eine solche Semantik setzt den Bruch mit der Mangelpflege voraus, die verlangt eine Hinwendung zu einer wiedererwachenden Stolzkultur. Dazu gehört, dass man Freiheitsmotive wieder höher veranschlagt: Es entspräche liberaler Tradition, sich zu weigern, das Interesse an Sicherheit bis zum Erbärmlichkeit voranzutreiben." (p. 107)

(5) The Social Democratic Party (SPD) has to change its strategy.

"Die sozialdemokratische Partei steht vor einer Entscheidung, bei der sie in ihren internen Abgrund schaut. (.....) Möchte die SPD für den unentbehrlichen Leistungsträgerkern der Gesellschaft wieder attraktiv werden, so kann sie das nur, wenn sie unmissverständlich klarmacht: Sie will an erster Stelle den berechtigten Stolz der Berufstätigen, der Steueraktiven und der sozial Mitfühlende artikulieren; nur in zweiter Linie darf sie dabei mitwirken, der Wut der Arbeitslosen zu ihrem Recht zu verhelfen und die Entmutigung der Ausgemusterten zu kompensieren."

Peter Sloterdijk is Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics at the Karlsruhe School of Design. His latest book is "Du mußt dein Leben ändern" (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2009). Interview with Sloterdijk on his book here.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Otfried Höffe reviews Rawls's book on religion

Review of John Rawls's "A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith" (Harvard University Press, 2009), edited by Joshua Cohen and Thomas Nagel:

Otfried Höffe - Religion der Frühe. Eine Jugendschrift von John Rawls

From "Neue Zürcher Zeitung", October 31, 2009.

More on John Rawls's book here.