Friday, November 30, 2012

"John Rawls: Past, Present, Future"

New papers on John Rawls from a conference on "John Rawls: Past, Present, Future" at Yale University, November 30, 2012:

Andrius Gališanka (Berkeley)
"John Rawls’s Early Positivism" [pdf]

P. MacKenzie Bok (Cambridge)
Personhood and the Nature of Morality in the Early Rawls” [pdf]

Esha Senchaudhuri (Harvard)
Political Reasonableness in a Sympathetic Liberalism” [pdf]

Timothy Waligore (McGill)
Rawls, Race, and a Historicized Difference Principle” [pdf]

Hyunseop Kim (Stanford)
What’s the Point of Rawls’s Extensions?” [pdf]

(Thanks to Reza Javaheri for the pointer!)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Habermas among top 100 "Global Thinkers"

Jürgen Habermas is listed by the Foreign Policy magazine amongst the Top 100 "Global Thinkers" 2012:

"Among a generation of gloomy 20th-century European philosophers who sought to tear down reason and justice as instruments of oppression, Jürgen Habermas long remained an intemperate optimist. He found his inspiration in the coffeehouses and cafes of an earlier era in European history and, in 1981, coined his most famous concept: communicative rationality, the idea that the very process of talking and arguing produces agreement.

But the current crisis in Europe has beaten the optimism out of Habermas. He has described European politicians' halting response to the mess as a creeping coup d'état that has put power in the hands of faceless bureaucrats in Brussels. And as the eurozone economy imploded, the nationalism that the European Union was supposed to suppress came roaring back, with parties across the continent dabbling in a potent brew of racism and Islamophobia that has turned right-wing extremism into a political growth industry. For the first time in the EU's history, the 83-year-old Habermas told Der Spiegel, "we are actually experiencing a dismantling of democracy. I didn't think this was possible."

So what is this Europe whose decline Habermas so laments -- and how will it be saved? In his new book, The Crisis of the European Union, Habermas lays out a case for a more cosmopolitan Europe that more fully transcends its national borders, where political power vested in an EU government elected by the people of Europe would foster the kind of cross-border solidarity that the crisis has so clearly exposed as lacking. It is a bold vision of a pan-European democracy that would effectively end state sovereignty and foster a unity that no market force could undermine. In a year of stifling incrementalism, Habermas's ambitious vision is like a breath of fresh air."

See the full list here

The list also includes Michael Sandel and Martha Nussbaum.

Paper on the European Union & Carl Schmitt vs. Jürgen Habermas

Professor Christian Joerges has posted a new paper at SSRN:

"Europe's Economic Constitution in Crisis"

"The European Union is in troubled waters. Its original reliance on law as the object and agent of the integration project and the “economic constitution“ which Economic and Monetary Union as accomplished by the Maastricht Treaty were expected to complete proved to be unsustainable. Following the financial and the sovereign debt crises, Economic and Monetary Union with its commitments to price stability and monetary politics is perceived as a failed construction precisely because of its reliance on inflexible rules. The European crisis management seeks to compensate for these failures by means of regulatory machinery which disregards the European order of competences, dis-empowers national institutions, burdens, in particular, Southern Europe with austerity measures; it establishes pan-European commitments to budgetary discipline and macroeconomic balancing. The ideal of a legal ordering of the European economy is thus abolished while the economic and social prospects of these efforts seem gloomy and the Union’s political legitimacy becomes precarious. The present critical constellation is addressed in a fictitious dispute between Carl Schmitt and Jürgen Habermas, in which a number of Schmittian notions seem alarmingly realistic. The essay pleads for a more modest Europe committing itself to “unity in diversity,” the motto of the ill-fated Constitutional Treaty of 2003."

Christian Joerges is Professor of European Economic Law at ZERP, Centre for European Law and Politics at the University of Bremen. He is co-editor of "Jürgen Habermas vol. 1 +2", International Library of Essays in the History of Social and Political Thought (Ashgate, 2011) and of "Law, Democracy and Solidarity in a Post-national Union" (Routledge, 2008).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Interview with Ronald Dworkin in "Cicero"

At the website of German magazine "Cicero":

An interview with Ronald Dworkin: "Man kann auch ohne Würde leben"

"Würde ist für mich eine Verantwortung und eine Leistung. Nicht jeder besitzt sie, man kann auch ohne sie leben. Sie beinhaltet zwei Ideen: Erstens die Selbstachtung, das Bewusstsein darüber, dass das eigene Leben objektiv wichtig ist. Damit geht eine Verantwortung einher: zu identifizieren, was eine gelungene Lebensführung bedeutet, und zu versuchen, so zu leben. Zweitens die Authentizität, nämlich dass Menschen eine Verantwortung haben, das gute Leben für sich zu definieren und nicht die Definition anderer zu übernehmen. Keine Würde zu haben, bedeutet, diese ethische Selbstständigkeit nicht zu schätzen."

Ronald Dworkin is Professor of Philosophy at New York University. His latest book is "Justice for Hedgehogs" (Belknap Press, 2011). See my post on the book here.

A German edition of the book is out on Suhrkamp Verlag: "Gerechtigkeit für Igel".

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Martha Nussbaum in Frankfurt

On December 13, Professor Martha Nussbaum will deliver a lecture at the Goethe University Frankfurt:

"Development and Human Capabilities: The Contribution of a Philosophical Theory of Justice".

Introduction by Rainer Forst.

The lecture is part of a workshop on "Justice and Development", hosted by the Centre of Advanced Studies "Justitia Amplificata".

More information here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Symposium on Sebastiano Maffettone's "Rawls"

The lastest issue of "Philosophy & Social Criticism" (November, 2012) features articles on Sebastiano Maffettone's "Rawls: An Introduction" (Polity Press, 2010):

James Boettcher
Debating Rawls: Maffettone and his Critics

T. M. Scanlon
Justification and Legitimation: Comments on Sebastiano Maffettone’s "Rawls: An Introduction"

David Rasmussen
Mutual Recognition: No Justification Without Legitimation

Sebastiano Maffettone
Rawls: 40 Years Later (1971–2011)

Sebastiano Maffettone is Professor of Political Philosophy at LUISS University, Rome.

See my previous post on Sebastiano Maffettone's book here.

See also two papers by Sebastiano Maffettone:
* "Universal Duty and Global Justice" [pdf]
* "The Legacy of the Enlightment and the exemplarity of the EU Model" [pdf]

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rainer Forst on "Tolerance and Democracy" (video)

On November 8, 2012, Professor Rainer Forst presented his paper entitled "Toleration and Democracy" at the Mellon Sawyrs Seminars Series on "Democratic Citizenship and the Recognition of Cultural Differences", the City University of New York):

Rainer Forst's lecture is followed by comments by Adam Etinson (City University of New York).

Rainer Forst is Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at Goethe University in Frankfurt, and director of the research cluster on the “Formation of Normative Orders.” His most recent book in English is "The Right to Justification" (Columbia University Press, 2011). See my posts on Rainer Forst and his book.

Forst's book "Toleration in Conflict: Past and Present" is coming out on Cambridge University Press in December.

See also
* Rainer Forst's paper "Two Stories on Tolerance" (2010) [pdf]
* Paper on "Pierre Bayle's Reflexive Theory of Toleration" (2008) [pdf]

* Entry on "Tolerance" in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2012)
* Interview with Rainer Forst: "Tolerance is a fine art" (2010)
* Video: "The Power of Tolerance. A Debate with Wendy Brown and Rainer Forst" (2008).

In his comments Adam Etinson mentions Anna Elisabetta Galeotti's book "Tolerance as Recognition" (Cambridge University Press, 2002). See a discussion with Galeotti: "Has Tolerance Gone Too Far" (video, 2011).

Monday, November 12, 2012

Review of Nancy Fraser's "Scales of Justice"

In "Constellations" (vol. 19 no. 1, 2012), David Owen reviews "Scales of Justice: Reimagining Political Space in a Globalizing World" (Columbia University Press, 2009) by Nancy Fraser:

"Book Review: Scales of Justice" [pdf]

"Over the past decade, Nancy Fraser has been concerned to elaborate a critical theory of justice in which justice and democracy are fundamentally entwined through the principle of parity of participation; a reflexive criterion through which what counts as justice is to be worked out democratically by peers who can participate on an equal footing in democratic fora and where what counts as parity of participation is itself contestable within democratic fora that meet standards of minimal justice or, put another way, of ‘good enough’ conditions of democratic deliberation. For any such view, two fundamental questions arise: ‘who’ is to count as a subject of justice and ‘how’ is who counts as a subject of justice to be determined. The fundamental quest of Scales of Justice is to provide compelling responses to these two questions by setting out a theory of reflexive justice." [.....]

"[Nancy Fraser's] self-conscious effort at reconciling by synthesising insights of deliberative and agonistic approaches to democracy in a concept of reflexive justice is a significant step towards reconciling important aspects of Fraser’s work with the work of agonistic theorists such as the late Iris Young and James Tully, and opens a crucial space for productive engagement between these theoretical positions.

David Owen is Professor of Social & Political Philosophy at the University of Southampton. He is co-editor (with Bert van den Brink) of "Recognition and Power: Axel Honneth and the Tradition of Critical Social Theory" (Cambridge University Press, 2007).

See also Ina Kerner's review of Nancy Fraser's book in "Public Reason" (2010).

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Jan-Werner Müller on "Post-democracy"

In "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" (November 10, 2012), Jan-Werner Müller comments on the increasing use of the term "post-democracy" (coined by Colin Crouch):

"Karriere und Gehalt eines problematischen Schlagwortes"

"Idealerweise ist «Postdemokratie» ein Warnbegriff, der den Sinn der Bürger für Gefahren schärft, die nicht den bekannten antidemokratischen Mustern des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts entsprechen. Er könnte aber auch den Willen zum politischen Engagement schwächen – denn er legt den defaitistischen Gedanken nahe, das politische System in seiner jetzigen Form sei ja ohnehin keine Demokratie mehr. Und derlei Resignation könnte den Weg in ein wahrhaft autoritäres System ebnen – was «Postdemokratie» dann von einem vermeintlichen Erfahrungsbegriff in einen – sit venia verbo – Erfahrungsstiftungsbegriff verwandeln würde."

Jan-Werner Müller is Professor of Politics at the Department of Politics, Princeton University. He is the author of "Constitutional Patriotism" (Princeton University Press, 2007) and "Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth-Century Europe" (Yale University Press, 2011). Jan-Werner Mueller directs the Project in the History of Political Thought at the Princeton University Center for Human Values (UCHV).

See my previous post on Jan-Werner Müller here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Master class in International Law with Jürgen Habermas

In February 2013, Jürgen Habermas will give a master class in international law at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Law and International Law, Heidelberg:

"Recht und Demokratie in der postnationalen Konstellation" [pdf]


"Die Globalisierung stellt nicht nur den Staat und seine Möglichkeiten zur Ausübung legitimer Herrschaft vor reale Herausforderungen. Vielmehr nötigt die Globalisierung auch dazu, Idee und Konzept von Recht, Rechtsstaatlichkeit und Demokratie selbst zu hinterfragen. Rechtsphilosophie und Rechtstheorie sind gefordert, die Grundlagen und Grenzen legitimer Herrschaft aufgrund von staatlichem und überstaatlichem Recht in der postnationalen Konstellation zu untersuchen. Die Diskurstheorie Jürgen Habermas’ stellt dafür eine der wirkmächtigsten Konzeptionen zur Verfügung. Ihr widmet sich die 2. Max Planck Masterclass. Kernbaustein ist die kritische Diskussion des Werks „Faktizität und Geltung“ (1992) und die Analyse von dessen Bedeutung für Recht und Demokratie in der postnationalen Konstellation auch im Kontrast zu Ansätzen anderer Autoren."

The number of participants is limited in order to keep the character of a seminar.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Francis Fukuyama interviews Jürgen Habermas

In "The Global Journal" (May-June 2012), Francis Fukuyama interviews Jürgen Habermas on his book "The Crisis of the European Union" (Polity Press, 2012):

"The European Citizen: Just a Myth?"

The interview is now available online.

Habermas: "The intercultural discourse over human rights has indeed got under way over the past twenty years. My impression is that the West with its Christian-Jewish heritage (and the Arab world?) could benefit from a good dash of the kind of “communitarianism” we know from the civilizations of the East shaped by Buddhism and Confucianism. Western capitalism needs a corrective to the selective libertarian, at least liberal-individualist interpretation of liberties. I defend the position that we should stress the co-originality of liberal and democratic civil rights as well as the systematic connection between these classical civil rights and the social and cultural basic rights."


German translation: "Der europäische Bürger", Die Welt, December 8, 2012.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

50th Anniversary: "The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere"

The latest issue of "Political Theory" (December, 2012) features a 50th Anniversary Symposium on "The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere" by Jürgen Habermas:

Richard J. Bernstein
"The Normative Core of the Public Sphere"

Ira Katznelson
"On Liberal Ambivalence"

Jane Mansbridge
"Conflict and Commonality in Habermas’s Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere"

Aletta Norval
“Don’t Talk Back!” - The Subjective Conditions of Critical Public Debate"

Maeve Cooke
"Realism and Idealism: Was Habermas’s Communicative Turn a Move in the Wrong Direction?"

Amy Allen
"The Public Sphere: Ideology and/or Ideal?"

William E. Scheuerman
"Good-Bye to Radical Reformism?"

Monday, November 05, 2012

Recent videos with Ronald Dworkin

 Five recent videos with Professor Ronald Dworkin:

 * "Discussion of Justice for Hedgehogs"
(University of Buenos Aires, November 22, 2011)

* "Skepticism, Equality, and Health Care Ruling"
(Carnegie Council, December 6, 2011)

* "Religion Without God"
(Bern University, December 12-14, 2012)

* "How Universal is Liberalism?"
(University of Oxford, April 27, 2012)

* "Hate Speech"
(Oslo, June 26, 2012)

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Paper on the Methodology of Legal Philosophy

Alex Langlinais & Brian Leiter have posted a new paper at SSRN:

"The Methodology of Legal Philosophy"

This essay surveys issues about philosophical methodology as they arise in general jurisprudence. Certainly in the Anglophone world and increasingly outside it, H.L.A. Hart’s 1961 book The Concept of Law has dominated the discussion. Unsurprisingly, then, methodological debates typically scrutinize either one of two (related) methodological claims in Hart’s classic work. The first is that his theory is both general and descriptive (Hart 1994: 239). The second is that his theory is an exercise in both linguistic analysis and descriptive sociology (Hart 1994: vi). We explicate both ideas, arguing, in particular, that (1) Hart aims to give an essentialist analysis of law and legal systems (a point clearest in those who follow him like J. Raz, J. Dickson and [though less of a follower] S. Shapiro), and (2) we can make sense of the linking of linguistic (and conceptual) analysis and descriptive sociology if we understand "law" as a constructed bit of "social reality" in something like John Searle's sense. The ensuing methodological debates in legal philosophy can then be understood as arguing against either linguistic or conceptual analysis (naturalists like B. Leiter), or against the idea of a purely descriptive jurisprudence (in different ways, J. Finnis, S. Perry, M. Murphy, L. Murphy, R. Dworkin).

Alex Langlinais is a Graduate Student at University of Chicago.

Brian Leiter is Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Chicago.

New Book: "Global Political Philosophy"

Global Political Philosophy

by Mathias Risse

(Palgrave/MacMillan, 2012)

176 pages



This book focuses on normative questions that arise about globalization. Much social science research is devoted to exploring the political, legal, social and economic changes that occur all around us. This books offers an introductory treatment of the philosophical questions that arise about these changes.
Why would people have human rights? We will be looking at different answers to this question. Could there be a universal morality in the first place? This question captures a particular kind of skepticism that has also been applied to the human rights movement and needs to be addresses for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be intellectually credible. Ought there to be states? Perhaps there are more appropriate ways of organizing humanity politically. What does distributive justice require at the global level? The world in which we live is one of a striking inequality that challenges us to explore what a just world would look like. What does justice require of us with regard to climate change? We now live in a geological era sometimes called the Athropocene: it is human action that has the biggest impact on the future of all life. How should we think about fairness in trade? Trade, after all, ties people together around the world. And what does justice imply for immigration policy? Each of these questions is answered in its own chapter. Introductions to political philosophy normally focus mostly or entirely on domestic questions.

Contents [preview]


1: Universalism vs. Relativism [paper]
2: Human Rights
3: Why States?
4: Distributive Justice at the Global Level
5: Reparations for Past Injustice: Domestic and Global
6: Immigration
7: Fairness in Trade [paper]


Mathias Risse is Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He is the author of "On Global Justice" (Princeton University Press, 2012). Many of Mathias Risse's papers are available here.