Monday, December 29, 2014

New Book: Solidarity - Theory and Practice

Solidarity - Theory and Practice

Ed. by Arto Laitinen & Anne Birgitta Pessi

(Lexington Books, 2014)

376 pages


This book brings together philosophers, social psychologists and social scientists to approach contemporary social reality from the viewpoint of solidarity. It examines the nature of different kinds of solidarity and assesses the normative and explanatory potential of the concept. Various aspects of solidarity as a special emotionally and ethically responsive relation are studied: the nature of collective emotions and mutual recognition, responsiveness to others’ suffering and needs, and the nature of moral partiality included in solidarity. The evolution of norms of solidarity is examined both via the natural evolution of the human “social brain” and via the institutional changes in legal constitutions and contemporary work life.  

Contents [preview]

1. Solidarity - Theory and Practice - Arto Laitinen & Anne Birgitta Pessi
2. Solidarity - Unpacking the Social Brain - Siegwart Lindenberg
3. Collective Emotions as the ‘Glue’ of Group Solidarity - Mikko Salmela
4. Empathy and our Relations to Others - Kristen Renwick Monroe
5. Solidarity, Moral Recognition, and Communality - Simon Derpmann
6. From Recognition to Solidarity - Arto Laitinen
7. Solidarity and Work: a Reassessment - Nicholas H. Smith
8. Solidarity in Times of Crisis - Constitutional Evolution and Europe - Hauke Brunkhorst
9. National Social Models and Helping Others in the European Union - Juho Saari & Anne Birgitta Pessi
10. Solidarity and Motivations to Help Others: the Case of Finns - Arto Laitinen & Anne Birgitta Pessi
11. Solidarity in a Nordic Welfare State: the Case of Finland - Heikki Hiilamo
12. Distant Suffering, Volunteering, and Solidarity - Bente Nicolaysen

The book is based on papers presented at an international colloquium in Helsinki in 2010.

See Arto Laitinen's homepage at, where he has uploaded many of his papers and also a copy of his book on solidarity.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Rational Reconstruction as a Method of Political Theory

In "Politischer Vierteljahresschrift" (2013 no. 2):

"Rationale Rekonstruktion als Methode politischer Theorie zwischen Gesellschaftskritik und empirischer Politikwissenschaft" [pdf] by Daniel Gaus

English translation:

"Rational Reconstruction as a Method of Political Theory between Social Critique and Empirical Political Science".


"Current political theory applies the concept of reconstruction almost exclusively to methods of critique. Given this focus it is often overlooked that the concept of reconstruction also has important methodological implications regarding the empirical analysis of politics. This imbalance particularly applies to how Jürgen Habermas' discouse theory of democracy has been perceived in political theory. The aim of the article is two-fold. Firstly, it offers an interpretation of discourse theory as a contribution to a "reconstructive sociology of democracy" that goes beyond the mere purpose of critique. Secondly, it seeks to illustrate the added value of Habermas' method of rational reconstruction to the empirical analysis of politics."

See also Daniel Gaus's paper "Von der Kritik liberaler Demokratie zur Analyse deliberativer Systeme: Reflexionen zur gegenwärtigen Diskussionslage der Theorie deliberativer Demokratie" (2014).

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Critical Theory of Legal Revolutions

The current issue of "Social & Legal Studies" (December 2014) features articles on the constitutional theory of Hauke Brunkhorst and his book "Critical Theory of Legal Revolutions" (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014). [Preview of the book here.]

* "New Bearings in the Sociology of Law" [pdf] - Chris Thornhill and Emilios Christodoulidis

* "Legal Revolutions and the Sociology of Law" [abstract] - Chris Thornhill

* "World State: Brunkhorst’s ‘Cosmopolitan State’ and Varieties of Differentiation" [abstract] - Mathias Albert

* "Hauke Brunkhorst’s Critical Theory of Legal Revolutions: Some Comments on Theory Construction" [abstract] - Jürgen Habermas

* "Hauke Brunkhorst: Reflections on the Idea of Normative Progress" [abstract] - Robert Fine

* "The Cunning of Law: Remarks on Brunkhorst’s Critical Theory of Legal Revolutions" [abstract] - Cristina Lafont

* "Reply to Critics" [abstract] - Hauke Brunkhorst

Excerpts from Jürgen Habermas's article:

From the perspective of social theory, the great theoretical achievement of this pathbreaking investigation lies in the fact that it draws attention to the importance of the "papal revolution" for social evolution. [.....] The papal revolution, initiated by Gregory VII, serves Brunkhorst as the classical example of an event, which can be understood as exploiting, revitalizing and institutionalizing the transgressing egalitarian and universalistic ideas of justice contained in the living tradition of the monastic ethos. The conception of "freedom of association" formed the normative core of the new legal system, which differentiated itself from the religiopolitical complex in the course of the 12th century. The legal figure of the self-administering corporation marked the beginning of the functional differentiation of a hierarchical society, which had hitherto found its culminating point in the figure of the political ruler. As an unintented consequence of that medieval transformation, the secular state developed in the course of subsequent centuries. Following this dialectical pattern, Brunkhorst construes the Protestant Reformation and the emergence of the constitutional state as relevant stages in the evolution of law. [.....]

The theoretical appropriation of the results of legal and historical research raises questions, which I leave to the experts. In the following, I will limit myself - proceeding from a fundamental agreement with the intention and design of this fascination sketch - to a discussion of certain aspects of its theoretical construction. Above all, I will briefly deal with five questions:

1: Does the linear arrangement of the subsequent functional differentiation of the legal, the political, the economic and the educational system not draw an oversimplified (and, with regard to the legal system, somewhat misleading) picture of the thresholds, which punctuate the course of cultural and social modernization of Western societies?
2: How can we explain the dynamics of those transgressing normative ideas, which gave rise to the papal revolution, which inspired all subsequent socioevolutionary bursts, and which cultimated in creating the "Kantian mindset"? This mindset is supposed to provide a somewhat mysterious potential which inspires social evolution from the outset?
3: Does the fact that law is embedded in the context of world views mean that we have to see the pacemaker function of legal innovations as dependent on the evolution of world views? Does this mean that we need to see the evolutionary learning mechanism as located at a deeper level in society?
4: If we ascribe greater weight to the critical role of the development of world views, what is the actual importance of the ambivalent description of "post-metaphysical" thinking for a diagnosis of modern society?
5: What is the appropriate framework for a theory of social evolution, which attaches weight to the interplay between normative learning and systemic adaption?"

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Cambridge Rawls Lexicon

The Cambridge Rawls Lexicon

Ed. by Jon Mandle & David A. Reidy

(Cambridge University Press, 2014)

920 pages


John Rawls is widely regarded as one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, and his work has permanently shaped the nature and terms of moral and political philosophy, deploying a robust and specialized vocabulary that reaches beyond philosophy to political science, economics, sociology, and law. This volume is a complete and accessible guide to Rawls' vocabulary, with over 200 alphabetical encyclopaedic entries written by the world's leading Rawls scholars. From 'basic structure' to 'burdened society', from 'Sidgwick' to 'strains of commitment', and from 'Nash point' to 'natural duties', the volume covers the entirety of Rawls' central ideas and terminology, with illuminating detail and careful cross-referencing. It will be an essential resource for students and scholars of Rawls, as well as for other readers in political philosophy, ethics, political science, sociology, international relations and law.

Contents [pdf]


* Advantage, mutual vs. reciprocal [pdf]

* Allocative Justice [pdf]

* Charles Beitz

* Citizen

* H. L. A. Hart

* Sovereignty 

* Thin and Full Theory of Goodness [pdf]

* Index [pdf]

Monday, December 15, 2014

New Book by Claus Offe: "Europe Entrapped"

Europe Entrapped

by Claus Offe

(Wiley / Polity Press, 2014)

104 pages


Today Europe finds itself in a crisis that casts a dark shadow over an entire generation. The seriousness of the crisis stems from one core political contradiction at the heart of the European project: namely, that what urgently needs to be done is also extremely unpopular and therefore virtually impossible to do democratically. What must be done - and almost everyone agrees in principle on the measures that would be needed to deal with the financial crisis - cannot be sold to the voting public of the core member states, which so far have been less affected by the crisis than those on the periphery, nor can the conditions that core members try to impose be easily sold to voters in the deficit countries.

The European Union is therefore becoming increasingly disunited, with deepening divides between the German-dominated ‘core’ and the southern ‘periphery’, between the winners and the losers of the common currency, between the advocates of greater integration and the anti-Europeans, between the technocrats and the populists. Europe finds itself trapped by the deepening divisions that are opening up across the Continent, obstructing its ability to deal with a crisis that has already caused massive social suffering in the countries of the European periphery and is threatening to derail the very project of the European Union.


Introduction [preview]

Democratic Capitalism and The European Union
The Nature of the Crisis
Growth, Debt, and Doom Loops
No Return to Square One
In Search of Political Agency
Finalitées: Bases of Identification with European Integration as a Political Project
The Configuration of Political Forces and Preferences
Germany's Leadership Role for Europe: A Non-Starter
"Thin" Citizenship
Redistribution Across State Borders and Social Divides

Claus Offe is Professor of Political Sociology at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.

The book draws upon an article published in the European Law Review vol. 19 no. 5 (2013) pp. 595-611 [Abstract]. Originally published in German in Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik 2013 no. 1, titled "Europa in der Falle" (An English translation here).

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Habermas on Philosophy and Politics (video)

Jürgen Habermas's speech at a symposium in honour of Julian Nida-Rümelin, Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, November 28, 2014:

"Zum Verhältnis von Philosophie und Politik"

See also the discussion between Julian Nida-Rümelin, Rainer Forst and Jürgen Habermas on  "Philosophie, Politik und die Frage der Rechtfertigung“.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

New Book on G. A. Cohen's Egalitarianism

Distributive Justice and Access to Advantage
G. A. Cohen's Egalitarianism

Edited by Alexander Kaufman

(Cambridge University Press, 2014)

286 pages


G. A. Cohen was one of the world's leading political theorists. He was noted, in particular, for his contributions to the literature of egalitarian justice. Cohen's classic writings offer one of the most influential responses to the currency of the egalitarian justice question – the question, that is, of whether egalitarians should seek to equalize welfare, resources, opportunity, or some other indicator of well-being. Underlying Cohen's argument is the intuition that the purpose of egalitarianism is to eliminate disadvantage for which it is inappropriate to hold the person responsible. His argument therefore focuses on the appropriate role of considerations regarding responsibility in egalitarian judgment. This volume comprises chapters by major scholars addressing and responding both to Cohen's account of the currency of egalitarian justice and its practical implications and to Cohen's arguments regarding the appropriate form of justificatory arguments about justice.

Contents [pdf] [preview]

Introduction [pdf] - Alexander Kaufman

Part I. Justice and Justification

1. The Fundamental Disagreement between Luck Egalitarians and Relational Egalitarians [pdf] - Elizabeth Anderson
2. Justice, Interpersonal Morality, and Luck Egalitarianism - Peter Vallentyne
3. The Egalitarian Ethos as a Social Mechanism - Joseph H. Carens
4. Justice and the Crooked Wood of Human Nature [pdf] - Adam Cureton
5. Facts, Principles, and the Third Man [pdf] - Lea Ypi

Part II. Justice and Equality

6. Equality and Freedom: Cohen's Critique of Sen - Alexander Kaufman
7. The Incoherence of Luck Egalitarianism - David Miller
8. What is the Point of Egalitarian Social Relationships? - Patrick Tomlin
9. Basic Equality and the Currency of Egalitarian Justice - Gabriel Wollner

Part III. Equality and Society

10. Why not Capitalism? - Richard J. Arneson
11. The Labor Theory of Justice [video] - Chandran Kukathas
12. Rescuing Justice and Equality from Libertarianism [abstract] - Serena Olsaretti

Alexander Kaufman is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Georgia. He is editor of "Capabilities Equality: Basic Issues and Problems" (Routledge, 2005).

See some of my previous posts on G.A. Cohen:
- G.A. Cohen (1941-2009)
- Podcasts from G.A. Cohen conference January 2009
- Cohen's book "On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice"

Monday, December 01, 2014

"Habermas und der Historische Materialismus"

Habermas und der Historische Materialismus

Hg. von Smail Rapic

(Verlag Karl Alber, 2014)

440 Seiten


Seit dem Ausbruch der Weltfinanzkrise 2008 ist die Kapitalismus-Kritik von Karl Marx und Friedrich Engels von neuem ins öffentliche Bewusstsein gerückt. Auf einer Tagung an der Universität Wuppertal haben Vertreter verschiedener Disziplinen mit Jürgen Habermas über seine Rekonstruktion des Historischen Materialismus diskutiert. Durch die Mitwirkung von Karl-Otto Apel und Agnes Heller wurden Grundfragen der Habermas’schen Kommunikationstheorie und ihre Rolle in der Geschichte des westlichen Marxismus in die Diskussion einbezogen. Was den Band von sonstigen Tagungsbänden abhebt, sind die Entgegnungen von Jürgen Habermas sowie repräsentative Ausschnitte aus der öffentlichen Diskussion.


Einleitung [pdf] - Smail Rapic 

Grußwort zur Tagung - Lambert T. Koch

I. Habermas’ kommunikationstheoretische Wende und das Erbe des Historischen Materialismus

Kontinuitäten und Diskontinuitäten in Habermas’ Auseinandersetzung mit dem Historischen Materialismus [English] - William Outhwaite

Entgegnung von Jürgen Habermas

Historischer Materialismus und Kommunikationstheorie bei Habermas - Manfred Baum

Entgegnung von Jürgen Habermas


II. Habermas’ Kommunikationstheorie im zeitgenössischen Kontext

Über Habermas: Von alten Zeiten - Ágnes Heller

Entgegnung von Jürgen Habermas

Transzendentalpragmatik: Drittes Paradigma der Ersten Philosophie - Karl-Otto Apel


III. Ökonomie und Politik

Habermas’ Kritik des Produktionsparadigmas - Ingo Elbe

Entgegnung von Jürgen Habermas

Legitimationsprobleme im Spätkapitalismus: Zur Aktualität eines Habermas’schen Textes aus dem Jahre 1973 - Smail Rapic

Entgegnung von Jürgen Habermas

Die Zivilisierung des globalen Kapitalismus und die Zukunft Europas - Stefan Müller-Doohm

Entgegnung von Jürgen Habermas


Die verdrängte Demokratie. Kommunikations- und Handlungsblockaden in einer globalisierten Welt - Regina Kreide


Entgegnung von Jürgen Habermas

IV. Moralbewusstsein und Recht

Welchen normativen Status hat das Privatrecht? - Hans-Christoph Schmidt am Busch

Entgegnung von Jürgen Habermas

Die Rückkehr des gegenständlichen Gattungswesens [pdf] - Michael Quante

Entgegnung von Jürgen Habermas


V. Die Selbstverständigung der Moderne

Ernüchterte Geschichtsphilosophie - Georg Lohmann

Entgegnung von Jürgen Habermas

Habermas and Young Hegelian Dialectics - Ernest Wolf-Gazo

Entgegnung von Jürgen Habermas

Hegel, Marx und das Subjekt der Moderne - Klaus Erich Kaehler

Entgegnung von Jürgen Habermas

Marxismus und Evolution - Hauke Brunkhorst

Entgegnung von Jürgen Habermas


Schlusswort - Jürgen Habermas

Monday, November 24, 2014

Interview with Habermas in "L'Express"

The French news magazine "L'Express" (November 17, 2014) features an interview with Jürgen Habermas:

"En Europe, les nationalismes sont de retour"

English translation: "Now in Europe populism is gaining even governments".

(Thanks to Valéry Pratt for the pointer.)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Terry Pinkard reviews Axel Honneth

At "Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews", Terry Pinkard has written a review of Axel Honneth's book on "Freedom's Right" (Columbia University Press, 2014):

Review of "Freedom's Right"


John Rawls' A Theory of Justice brought Kantian approaches to center stage in political philosophy. After that came an avalanche of articles and books on Rawls' theory itself and on how Kantian Rawls really was. It has taken some time, but now, with Axel Honneth's book, the Hegelian development of Kantianism is moving slowly to its own place on center stage. It will also most likely produce a similar wave of articles and books on how Hegelian he really is. Overall, the differences are clear: whereas Rawls and his successors focused on a few general principles of justice and how they were to be specified, Honneth-the-Hegelian stresses history, sociology, and the way the principles take on different lives in different actualizations. But how Hegelian is Honneth?

See also Robert Pippin on Honneth's Critical Theory (video + paper).

Friday, November 07, 2014

Interview with Habermas in "Le Monde"

Nicolas Weill interviews Jürgen Habermas in "Le Monde" (November 8, 2014):

"L'Europe actuelle, entre la paralysie et la distraction"

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Habermas: "Democracy in Europe" (video)

A video of Jürgen Habermas's lecture on "Democracy in Europe", the University of Stavanger, Norway, September 11, 2014.

See my blog post on the event here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Hacker attacks on HabermasForum

Severe hacker attacks have taken down our website

We hope to be online again in a week.

Samuel Scheffler on Global Justice

A new paper by Samuel Scheffler (New York University):

"The Idea of Global Justice: A Progress Report" [pdf]
(Forthcoming in "Harvard Review of Philosophy")


1. Two Preliminary Points
2. Rawls and Global Jusctice
3. Two-Tier Theories
4. First Problem: Global Justice and Global Egalitarianism
5. Second Problem: Global Justice and Moral Agency
6. Social Justice and Moral Agency
7. The Future of (the Idea of) Global Justice

Sunday, October 19, 2014

New article by Habermas in "Der Staat"

The new issue of "Der Staat" (vol. 53 no. 2) features a new article by Jürgen Habermas:

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.

"Prima facie verletzt eine degressiv proportionale Sitzverteilung im Europäischen Parlament das Prinzip der politischen Gleichheit. Das Argument, mit dem ich diesen Widerspruch auflösen möchte, stützt sich darauf, dass die stärkere Berücksichtigung des Prinzips der Staatengleichheit auf den legitimen Willen einer an der Wurzel geteilten konstituierenden Gewalt zurückgeht. In der konkurrierenden Gesetzgebung von streng repräsentativ zusammengesetzten Ersten und Zweiten Kammern käme das stärker gewichtete Prinzip der gleichen Repräsentation der Staaten nicht hinreichend zum Zuge. Daher muss das Prinzip auf beide Institutionen durchgreifen. Dieser auf den ersten Blick demokratieunverträgliche Durchgriff lässt sich damit rechtfertigen, dass die „Aufstufung“ der distributiv allgemeinen Gesamtheit europäischer Bürger durch die Bevölkerungskollektive der beteiligten Staaten selbst demokratisch gerechtfertigt ist."

Friday, October 17, 2014

Neues Buch: Herta Nagl-Docekal - "Innere Freiheit"

Innere Freiheit
Grenzen der nachmetaphysischen Moralkonzeptionen

von Herta Nagl-Docekal 

(De Guyter, 2014)

237 Seiten


Zentrale Werke der nachmetaphysisch orientierten Sozialphilosophie bestimmen Moral in einer rechtstheoretisch verkürzten Weise, indem sie dem äußeren, reziproken Rechtfertigungsdruck maßgebliche Relevanz beimessen, und beziehen die Logik des Vetrags auch auf das ‚Wir‘ persönlicher Beziehungen. Damit bleiben signifikante Aspekte des Moralischen unterbelichtet. Im Rekurs auf Kant und Hegel lassen sich dagegen Elemente für eine angemessenere Auffassung gewinnen: Wird Autonomie im Sinne von Kants Konzeption der inneren Freiheit als Selbstgesetzgebung bestimmt, tritt die Verpflichtung der Zuwendung zur Individualität der anderen hervor – primär die Pflicht des Zuhörens, die auch globale Relevanz besitzt –, und die Vermittlung von Moral und Glück stellt sich in einer subtileren Weise dar, als die gängige Rigorismuskritik annimmt. Von Hegel her kommt in Sicht, wie die Idee der ‚wahren Liebe‘ in einer für heutige Geschlechterbeziehungen plausiblen Form formuliert werden könnte. Vor diesem Hintergrund kann auch das Verhältnis von Moral, Recht und Religion anders durchdacht werden als in jenem Diskurs, der eine Gleichsetzung von Vernunft und säkularem Denken vornimmt, und die Frage der religiösen Pluralität im liberalen Verfassungsstaat erscheint in neuem Licht.

Inhalt [pdf]


Teil I: Moral oder soziale Freiheit?
1.1 Eine kontraktualistische Moralkonzeption [Auszug]
1.2 Moderne Intimbeziehungen

Teil II: Zuwendung zu Individuen
2.1 Autonomie und Alterität
2.2 Moralische Aufrichtigkeit
2.3 Liebe in ‚unserer Zeit‘ 

Teil III: Religion jenseits nachmetaphysischer Disjunktionen
3.1 Der Ort von Religion 
3.2 Die Utopie der Einheit von Kunst und Natur 
3.3 Religiöse Pluralität im modernen Rechtsstaat 
3.4 Aufklärung und Religion bei Habermas und Hegel

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lectures by Onora O'Neill on Human Rights

On May 8, 2014, Onora O'Neill gave a lecture at the University of Southampton on the question "Can Human Rights Be Justified?".

See also her Edmund Burke Lecture in Dublin on "What Would Edmund Burke Think of Human Rights?" (April 12, 2014).

You can hear a podcast of her Isaiah Berlin Lecture on "Human Rights and Pluralism" at the University of Oxford, May 22, 2014, here.

Onora O'Neill is the author of "Acting on Principle. An Essay on Kantian Ethics" (Cambridge university Press, 2nd edition, 2013), "Bounds of Justice" (Cambridge University Press, 2000), and "Constructions of Reason. Explorations of Kant's Practical Philosophy" (Cambridge University Press, 1990). She is currently Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the UK.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Conference in Beijing on "Publicity and Public Sphere"

An international conference on "Publicity and Public Sphere" was held in Beijing on October 8-10, 2014. 

Among the participants were Hauke Brunkhorst (Frensburg), Robin Celikates (Amsterdam), Han Shuifa (Beijing), Rahel Jaeggi (Berlin), Hans Feger (Berlin), Regina Kreide (Grießen), Heiner Roetz (Bochum), Günter Zöller (München), and Stephan Gosepath (Berlin).

Papers were presented on topics like "Public Sphere and Globalization", "Democracy as a Form of Life", "Pluralism, Autonomy and Public Deliberation", and "The Open Society".

See the abstracts here [pdf].

Excerpts from a report by Mark Siemons in "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" (October 13, 2014):

"In den Vorträgen gebrauchten mehrere chinesische Teilnehmer wie Jiang Yi von der Beijing Normal University das „alte China“, das keinen Öffentlichkeitsbegriff gekannt habe, als Abwehrformel. Und im Diskussionsteil attackierten einige der chinesischen Disputanten das Öffentlichkeitskonzept rundheraus als eine westliche Utopie, für die es in der chinesischen Tradition keine Entsprechung gebe. Keine dieser Stimmen nahm freilich auf einen der Vorträge Bezug, und keine reagierte anschließend auf die Erwiderungen, so dass der Eindruck einer bloßen Loyalitätsbekundung fürs Protokoll entstand. Mehrere deutsche Teilnehmer wie der Soziologe Hauke Brunkhorst und der Sinologe Heiner Roetz suchten in diesem symbolischen Ringen unterdessen nach Beispielen dafür, wie sich Chinesen auf das Öffentlichkeitsprinzip beriefen. Roetz, der in seinem Vortrag zeigte, dass China schon in der Achsenzeit Ansätze einer offenen Gesellschaft kannte, fürchtete, dass sich ein postdemokratischer Diskurs des Westens mit einem vordemokratischen in China verbinden könnte. 

Doch am Abend wehte ein anderer Wind. Han Shuifa von der Peking-Universität, der zuvor die Demokratisierung gefordert hatte, sagte, der Schutz der Öffentlichkeit sei nicht bloß ein Maskenwechsel wie bei der Sichuan-Oper, sondern verlange eine grundlegende Mentalitätsänderung. Dass er dies mit der Hoffnung auf das bevorstehende Vierte Plenum der Kommunistischen Partei verknüpfte, sollte wohl signalisieren, dass er die Begriffe nicht in Opposition zur Parteiherrschaft versteht, sondern innerhalb des durch sie gesetzten Rahmens. Viel Beifall bekam auch der Moralphilosoph Deng Xiaomang (Wuhan), der in China durch seinen öffentlichen Streit mit einem maoistischen Kollegen bekannt ist. Er zitierte mehrfach Staatspräsident Xi Jinping mit dessen Forderung, die Macht müsse im Käfig der Gesetze eingesperrt werden. Doch er sagte auch, dass die Verfassung in China nicht ausreichend definiert sei, so dass Leute, die bloß ihren Unmut äußern, Gefahr liefen, verhaftet zu werden. 

In der Diskussion meldeten sich viele Studenten freimütig zu Wort, die danach fragten, wie das klappen kann mit dem Schutz der Meinungsäußerung, mit einer funktionierenden Judikative, mit dem Einsperren der Macht. Das Zentrum der Anti-Öffentlichkeit – die Partei und ihre verschiedenen Geheim-haltungsringe – wurde hier nicht diskutiert. Doch der Schutzraum des durch die Partei legitimierten Sprachgebrauchs wurde zur Verhandlung von Themen genutzt, die weit über diesen hinausgingen. Man darf aus dem Schweigen, das einem aus der streng kontrollierten Öffentlichkeit des Festlands etwa zur Unterstützung Hongkongs entgegendröhnt, nicht schließen, dass die demokratischen Sehnsüchte in China verstummt sind."

Friday, October 10, 2014

Colloquium with Habermas in Paris, October 29-30-31

An international colloquium with Jürgen Habermas in Paris on October 29-30-31, 2014:

"Les perspectives de la démocratie face aux transformations du capitalisme: un dialogue avec Jürgen Habermas" [pdf]


October 29 (Sorbonne)

1. Héritages et ruptures théoriques

Albrecht Wellmer - "Des formes de Théorie critique."
Emmanuel Renault - "Travail et interaction. Origines et implications d’une distinction."
Jean-Marc Durand-Gasselin - "La théorie de l’apprentissage et la place de la critique chez Habermas."
Katia Genel - "Critique de la domination et théorie de la démocratie."

2. Critique, rationalités et politique

Geminello Preterossi - "Habermas and the Political."
Isabelle Aubert - "Le langage des droits."
Maeve Cooke - "Autonomy and Authority."
Clotilde Nouët - "La catégorie d’‘espace public’ ouvre-t-elle un accès à la réalité sociale?"
Rainer Forst - "Power and Discourse."

October 30 (Maison Heinrich Heine)

3. Sociétés : mentalités, droit et politique

Klaus Günther - "Geteilte Souveränität, Nation und Rechtsgemeinschaft."
Francesca Raimondi - "An politische Freiheit gewöhnt"? 
Esther Lea Neuhann - "Das subjektive Recht auf Politik und das Problem der sozialen Beschleunigung."
Jean-François Kervégan - "Pensons-nous vraiment de manière post-métaphysique?"

4. Mutations sociales: crises, capitalisme et communication

Olivier Voirol - "Habermas et les médias."
Edmond Yao Kouassi - "Habermas et la ressource de la solidarité face aux mutations africaines de la démocratie."
Pinar Karaoglu - "Democracy and Capitalism in Habermas’s Faktizität und Geltung."
Estelle Ferrarese - "Activité communicationnelle et capitalisme."
Nancy Fraser - "Legitimation Crisis?"

October 31 (l’Institut Goethe de Paris)

5. Les coordonnées de la mondialisation – le cas de l’Europe

Jürgen Habermas - "Der Ausbau der Europäischen Union zu einer transnationalen Demokratie. Warum er nötig und wie er möglich ist?"
Daniel Innerarity - "The inclusion of the Other Europeans. Traveling with Habermas through Europe and beyond."
Catherine Colliot-Thélène - "L’Europe est-elle démocratisable?"

6. Espaces publics, ambivalences de la modernité et globalisation

Gérard Raulet - "Habermas et les mutations de l’espace public."
Alexandre Dupeyrix - "Le dialogue entre croyants et non-croyants."
Khaldoun Alnabwani - "La problématique de la modernité chez Habermas."
Valéry Pratt - "Droit international et démocratie."
Yves Sintomer - "Comment penser l’espace public dans le cadre de l’histoire globale?"

(Thanks to Valéry Pratt for the pointer!)

Monday, October 06, 2014

Colloquium on "Faktizität und Geltung" in Graz, Austria

International colloquium on Jürgen Habermas's "Faktizität und Geltung" (1992) at the University of Graz, Austria, on October 9-11, 2014.


Peter Koller - 
"Recht als Kategorie der gesellschaftlichen Vermittlung zwischen Faktizität und Geltung"

Otfried Höffe - 
"Soziologische Rechts- und philosophische Gerechtigkeitskonzepte"

Klaus Günther - 
"Zur Rekonstruktion des Rechts: Das System der Rechte"

Robert Alexy - 
"Unbestimmtheit des Rechts und Rationalität der Rechtsprechung"

Dieter Grimm - 
"Justiz und Gesetzgebung. Zur Rolle und Legitimität der Verfassungsrechtsprechung"

Elisabeth Holzleithner - 
"Paradigmen des Rechts"

Christian Hiebaum - 
"Recht und Moral (Habermas's Tanner Lectures 1986)" 

Hasso Hofmann - "Volkssouveränität als Verfahren"

More information here [pdf].

Saturday, October 04, 2014

New Book: "Majority Decisions"

Majority Decisions
Principles and Practices

Ed. by Stéphanie Novak & Jon Elster

(Cambridge University Press, 2014)

258 pages


This book presents the most complete set of analytical, normative, and historical discussions of majority decision making to date. One chapter critically addresses the social-choice approach to majority decisions, whereas another presents an alternative to that approach. Extensive case studies discuss majority voting in the choice of religion in early modern Switzerland, majority voting in nested assemblies such as the French Estates-General and the Federal Convention, majority voting in federally organized countries, qualified majority voting in the European Union Council of Ministers, and majority voting on juries. Other chapters address the relation between majority decisions and cognitive diversity, the causal origin of majority decisions, and the pathologies of majority decision making. Two chapters, finally, discuss the counter-majoritarian role of courts that exercise judicial review. The editorial Introduction surveys conceptual, causal, and normative issues that arise in the theory and practice of majority decisions.

Contents [pdf] [preview]

1. Introduction [pdf] - Stéphanie Novak & Jon Elster
2. Putting Faith to the Ballot - Olivier Christin
3. Nested Majorities [paper] - Jon Elster
4. The Issue of Majority in a Federal System [paper] - Olivier Beaud
5. The Reception of Social Choice Theory by Democratic Theory [paper] - Gerry Mackie
6. What Should 'Majority Decision' Mean? [paper] - Michel Balinski & Rida Laraki
7. The Force of Majority Rule [paper] - Adrian Vermeule
8. The Tyranny and Brutality of Majority Rule - Jon Elster
9. Two Effects of a High Threshold of Qualified Majority - Stéphanie Novak
10. Democracy, Judgment, and Juries [paper] - Melissa Schwartzberg
11. Majority Rule in Constitutional Democracies [paper] - Pasquale Pasquino
12. The Majoritarian Threat to Democracy - Samuel Issacharoff.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Habermas in Rotterdam, October 23

On October 23, 2014, Jürgen Habermas will give a lecture in Rotterdam on "How Europe faces the challenge of transnationalising democracy".

"In his lecture Habermas will elaborate on the question whether and how a democracy can be established that is not grounded in a nation-state. The European Union is a construct that is at once supranational and situated above the organisational level of a state. However, this construct is not supposed to enjoy either a monopoly on the legitimate use of force or ultimate decision-making authority. Can  such a union satisfy the standards of democratic legitimacy that we are familiar with from nation-states?"

Further information here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Habermas in Norway September 11-12

Jürgen Habermas visits the University of Stavanger, Norway, September 11-12.

Habermas will deliver a lecture on "Democracy in Europe" on September 11 at 12.45 (Central European Time). His lecture will be streamed here.
[UpdateIn his lecture Habermas is referring to an article by Dieter Grimm in "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" (August 11, 2014), titled "Die Stärke der EU liegt in einer klugen Begrenzung".]

Friday, Habermas will take part in a symposium on deliberative democracy. See the programme here. Among the participants are Erik Oddvar Eriksen, Anders Molander, Silje Aambø Langvatn, Cathrine Holst and Bjørn Kvalsvik Nikolaysen.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

James Griffin on Human Rights

Griffin on Human Rights

Ed. by Roger Crisp

(Oxford University Press, 2014)

256 pages


Human rights are one of the most controversial and widely discussed ideas in contemporary politics, ethics, and law. In recent decades, the philosophy of human rights has become one of the most lively areas in philosophy. One of the most significant contributors to the debate has been James Griffin, formerly White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford. In his book, On Human Rights, and in other work, Griffin has defended the view that contemporary judicial understandings of human rights rest on an insecure theoretical basis. This has had the result that the language of human rights has been over-extended, and consequently has less force where it really matters. On Griffin's view, human rights are best understood as protections of our agency and personhood, and he argues his case with reference to many real-life human rights cases. Griffin's book has led to a great deal of discussion, and this volume collects several of the most significant responses to Griffin by internationally leading moral and political philosophers. It also includes a response by Griffin himself. 

Contents [preview]

1. Two Approaches to Human Rights - Carl Wellman 
2. Taking the Rights out of Human Rights [paper] - John Tasioulas
3. When the Good Alone isn't Enough - David Reidy
4. The Egalitarianism of Human Rights [preview] - Allen Buchanan
5. Human Rights, Human Agency and Respect - Rowan Cruft 
6. Griffin on Human Rights - Roger Crisp
7. Personhood versus Human Needs as Grounds for Human Rights - David Miller 
8. Griffin on Human Rights [abstract] - Brad Hooker
9. Griffin on Human Rights to Liberty - James Nickel
10. Replies - James Griffin 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

New Book: "Alienation" by Rahel Jaeggi


by Rahel Jaeggi

(Columbia University Press, 2014)

304 pages


The Hegelian-Marxist idea of alienation fell out of favor after the postmetaphysical rejection of humanism and essentialist views of human nature. In this book Rahel Jaeggi draws on the Hegelian philosophical tradition, phenomenological analyses grounded in modern conceptions of agency, and recent work in the analytical tradition to reconceive alienation as the absence of a meaningful relationship to oneself and others, which manifests in feelings of helplessness and the despondent acceptance of ossified social roles and expectations.
A revived approach to alienation helps critical social theory engage with phenomena such as meaninglessness, isolation, and indifference. By severing alienation’s link to a problematic conception of human essence while retaining its social-philosophical content, Jaeggi provides resources for a renewed critique of social pathologies, a much-neglected concern in contemporary liberal political philosophy. Her work revisits the arguments of Rousseau, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger, placing them in dialogue with Thomas Nagel, Bernard Williams, and Charles Taylor.


Foreword by Axel Honneth [preview]

Translator’s Introduction by Frederick Neuhouser

Part 1. The Relation of Relationlessness: Reconstructing a Concept of Social Philosophy
1. “A Stranger in the World That He Himself Has Made”: The Concept and Phenomenon of Alienation
2. Marx and Heidegger: Two Versions of Alienation Critique
3. The Structure and Problems of Alienation Critique
4. Having Oneself at One’s Command: Reconstructing the Concept of Alienation

Part 2. Living One’s Life as an Alien Life: Four Cases
5. Seinesgleichen Geschieht or “The Like of It Now Happens”: The Feeling of Powerlessness and the Independent Existence of One’s Own Actions
6. “A Pale, Incomplete, Strange, Artificial Man”: Social Roles and the Loss of Authenticity
7. “She but Not Herself”: Self-Alienation as Internal Division
8. “As If Through a Wall of Glass”: Indifference and Self-Alienation

Part 3. Alienation as a Disturbed Appropriation of Self and World
9. “Like a Structure of Cotton Candy”: Being Oneself as Self-Appropriation
10. “Living One’s Own Life”: Self-Determination, Self-Realization, and Authenticity

Conclusion: The Sociality of the Self, the Sociality of Freedom

Rahel Jaeggi is Professor for Practical Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the Humboldt University, Berlin. She is the author of "Kritik von Lebensformen" (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2013). And she is co-editor (with Daniel Loick) of "Nach Marx: Philosophie, Kritik, Praxis" (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2013). See the introduction here (pdf).

The German edition of "Alienation" came out in 2005, titled "Entfremdung. Zur Aktualität eines sozialphilosophischen Problems" (Campus Verlag). 

See Frederick Neuhouser's review of the book in "Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews" (2007).

A podcast of a lecture by Rahel Jaeggi on "Re-thinking Alienation" is available here (London School of Economics, March 12, 2012).

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Robert Pippin on Honneth's Critical Theory

A video of Robert Pippin's lecture on Axel Honneth's critical theory, Boston College, March 2014, is now available:

"Critical Theory as Political Philosophy? Reflections on Honneth and Hegelianism"

See also Robert Pippin's paper "Reconstructivism: On Honneth's Hegelianism" [pdf] (forthcoming in "Philosophy & Social Criticism"). The paper was presented at a symposium on Honneth's most recent book "Freedom's Right" (Columbia University Press, 2014) at Stony Brook University, September 2013. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Neues Buch: "Deliberative Kritik – Kritik der Deliberation"

Deliberative Kritik - Kritik der Deliberation
Festschrift für Rainer Schmalz-Bruns

Hrsg. von Oliver Flugel-Martinsen

(Springer Verlag, 2014)

376 Seiten


Einleitung - Mark P. Zdarsky

Teil 1: Kritik der Deliberation

1. Deliberative Politik und demokratische Legitimität - Thomas Saretzki
2. Was heißt Deliberation - Peter Niesen
3. Intersubjektivität und Interindividualität - Frank Nullmeier
4. Liberaler Agnostizismus - Karsten Fischer
5. Legitimität, Demokratie und Gerechtigkeit - Rainer Forst
6. Deliberative und aleatorische Demokratietheorie - Hubertus Buchstein
7. Die Macht der Deliberation im Kontext verschiedener governing orders - Hubert Heinelt

Teil 2: Deliberative Kritik

8. Die deliberative Demokratie im Lichte der gesellschaftlichen Denationalisierung - Michael Zürn
9. Reflexive Constitutionalism in Crisis - Erik O. Eriksen
10. Parlamentarismus und egalitäre Massendemokratie - Hauke Brunkhorst
11. Deliberativer Supranationalismus in der postdemokratischen Konstellation - Oliver Ebert
12. Die verdrängte Demokratie - Regina Kreide
13. Demoi-kratie ohne Demos-kratie - Daniel Gaus
14. Cosmopolitan Constitutionalism [paper] - John Erik Fossum & Augustin José Menéndez
15. Deliberativer Supranationalismus in der Krise [paper] - Christian Joerges & Jürgen Neyer