Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dietmat Hübner on Apel's & Habermas's discourse theory

A lecture by Professor Dietmar Hübner (University of Hannover) on Karl-Otto Apel's and Jürgen Habermas's discourse theory:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Essays on "Religion, Secularism, and Constitutional Democracy"

Religion, Secularism, and Constitutional Democracy

Ed. by Jean L. Cohen & Cécile Laborde

(Columbia University Press, 2016)

464 pages


Polarization between political religionists and militant secularists on both sides of the Atlantic is on the rise. Critically engaging with traditional secularism and religious accommodationism, this collection introduces a constitutional secularism that robustly meets contemporary challenges. It identifies which connections between religion and the state are compatible with the liberal, republican, and democratic principles of constitutional democracy and assesses the success of their implementation in the birthplace of political secularism: the United States and Western Europe.

Approaching this issue from philosophical, legal, historical, political, and sociological perspectives, the contributors wage a thorough defense of their project's theoretical and institutional legitimacy. Their work brings fresh insight to debates over the balance of human rights and religious freedom, the proper definition of a nonestablishment norm, and the relationship between sovereignty and legal pluralism. They discuss the genealogy of and tensions involving international legal rights to religious freedom, religious symbols in public spaces, religious arguments in public debates, the jurisdiction of religious authorities in personal law, and the dilemmas of religious accommodation in national constitutions and public policy when it violates international human rights agreements or liberal-democratic principles. If we profoundly rethink the concepts of religion and secularism, these thinkers argue, a principled adjudication of competing claims becomes possible.

Contents [preview]

Introduction - Jean L. Cohen

Part I: Freedom of Religion or Human Rights

1. Religious Freedom and the Fate of Secularism - Samuel Moyn
2. Religion: Ally, Threat, or Just Religion? [draft] - Anne Phillips
3. Regulating Religion Beyond Borders: The Case of FGM/C - Yasmine Ergas
4. Pluralism vs. Pluralism: Islam and Christianity in the European Court of Human Rights - Christian Joppke

Part II: Non-Establishments and Freedom of Religion

5. Rethinking Political Secularism and the American Model of Constitutional Dualism - Jean L. Cohen
6. Is European Secularism Secular Enough? [abstract] - Rajeev Bhargava
7. State-Religion Connections and Multicultural Citizenship - Tariq Modood
8. Breaching the Wall of Separation - Denis Lacorne
9. Transnational Nonestablishment (Redux) [2012-paper] - Claudia Haupt

Part III: Religion, Liberalism, and Democracy

10. Liberal Neutrality, Religion, and the Good - Cécile Laborde
11. Religious Arguments and Public Justification [dissertation] - Aurelia Bardon
12. Religious Truth and Democratic Freedom: A Critique of the Religious Discourse of Anti-Relativism [dissertation] - Carlo Invernizzi Accetti
13. Republicanism and Freedom of Religion in France - Michel Troper

Part IV: Sovereignty and Legal Pluralism in Constitutional Democracies

14. Sovereignty and Religious Norms in the Secular Constitutional State - Dieter Grimm
15. Religion and Minority Legal Orders - Maheila Malik
16. The Intersection of Civil and Religious Family Law in the U.S. Constitutional Order: A Mild Legal Pluralism - Linda C. McClain
17. Religion-Based Legal Pluralism and Human Rights in Europe - Alicia Cebada Romero

Conclusion: Is Religion Special? - Cécile Laborde

A book launch for “Religion, Secularism, & Constitutional Democracy” at Columbia University on February 1, with Jean Cohen, Courtney Bender, Mamadou Diouf, Jeremy Kessler,and Rosalind Morris. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Onora O'Neill's Essays on Kant

Constructing Authorities
Reason, Politics and Interpretation in Kant's Philosophy 

by Onora O'Neill

(Cambridge University Press, 2016)

262 pages


This collection of essays brings together the central lines of thought in Onora O'Neill's work on Kant's philosophy, developed over many years. Challenging the claim that Kant's attempt to provide a critique of reason fails because it collapses into a dogmatic argument from authority, O'Neill shows why Kant held that we must construct, rather than assume, the authority of reason, and how this can be done by ensuring that anything we offer as reasons can be followed by others, including others with whom we disagree. She argues that this constructivist view of reasoning is the clue to Kant's claims about knowledge, ethics and politics, as well as to his distinctive accounts of autonomy, the social contract, cosmopolitan justice and scriptural interpretation. Her essays are a distinctive and illuminating commentary on Kant's fundamental philosophical strategy and its implications, and will be a vital resource for scholars of Kant, ethics and philosophy of law.

Contents [pdf]

Introduction [pdf]

Part I. Authority in Reasoning
1. Vindicating Reason
2. Kant: Rationality as Practical Reason
3. Kant's Conception of Public Reason
4. Constructivism in Rawls and Kant
5. Changing Constructions

Part II. Authority, Autonomy and Public Reason
6. Autonomy: The Emperor's New Clothes
7. Self-legislation, Autonomy and the Form of Law
8. Autonomy and Public Reason in Kant, Habermas and Rawls

Part III. Authority in Politics
9. Orientation in Thinking: Geographical Problems, Political Solutions
10. Kant and the Social Contract Tradition
11. Historical Trends and Human Futures
12. Cosmopolitanism Then and Now

Part IV. Authority in Interpretation
13. Kant on Reason and Religion I: Reasoned Hope [pdf]
14. Kant on Reason and Religion II: Reason and Interpretation [pdf]

See also:
- Lecture by Onora O'Neill on "Making Public Reason" (2009)
- Two lectures by Onora O'Neill on Human Rights (2014)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cristina Lafont on Sovereignty and Human Rights

New paper by Cristina Lafont:

"Sovereignty and the International Protection of Human Rights" (pdf)
(To appear in The Journal of Political Philosophy)

An earlier version of the paper was presented at a conference on “Justification beyond the State” (December 2014) at Yale University. See the conference papers here.

See also Cristina Lafont's Spinoza Lecture Series on "Global Governance and Human Rights" (pdf, 2012).

Cristina Lafont is Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University, Evanston. She is the author of  "The Linguistic Turn in Hermeneutic Philosophy" (MIT Press, 1999) and co-editor (with Hauke Brunkhorst and Regina Kreide) of "Habermas Handbuch" (Metzler Verlag, 2009).

Monday, January 18, 2016

Wolfgang Streeck reviews Jürgen Habermas

Wolfgang Streeck has uploaded a review of Jürgen Habermas's "The Lure of Technocracy" (Polity Press, 2015):

"What about capitalism? Jürgen Habermas’s project of a European democracy" [pdf]
[To appear in European Political Science]

An excerpt

"In Habermas’s world, the only possible explanation for today’s escalating crisis of European integration is cognitive and moral deficits on the part of both governments and the governed, while the only solution are stronger ‘pro-European’ leaders, wherever they may come from (Germany?), ready to stick ‘more Europe’ to the reluctant masses. That this might end up producing even more anti-Europe – something that a growing number of observers, surely not all of them ‘nostalgic fools’ (....), have for some time seen coming – is never even considered. Sadly enough, years of debate over the evolving empirical observables in Europe and the theories needed to make sense of them have had no impact on a political imaginary which, after all, must conceive of itself as dedicated to principles of discursive rationality.
The blind in Habermas’s anti-national Europeanism are interestingly linked to his system-theoretically neutered concept of capitalism. Having at some point in the evolution of his social theory granted immunity to a ‘globalized’ capitalist economy by redefining the interests vested in it into ‘problems’ calling for technically correct ‘solutions’, Habermas can treat really-existing politics – the rough and tumble of local, regional, national collective interests, histories, languages, experiences, identities, hostilities, cultures, idiosyncrasies and passions – as non-substantial illegitimate impediments on the way to democracy as it should be: universalistic, dispassionate, global, deliberative, cooperative, and apparently without any need to override obstinate interests in the unlimited accumulation of capital by use of collectively mobilized power and legitimate force (that is, of the very state capacity that Habermas, for whatever reason, denies his European democracy). What remains at the end are normative prescriptions of rational-cum-moral cosmopolitan political conduct for which there is no real world out there that could live by them. One must be afraid that all a theory of this sort can do is move the theorist into a position of moral superiority in relation to a political reality that has no chance but being found guilty of failing to verify theoretical predictions that are in fact moral commands."

See also
- Jürgen Habermas's critique of Wolfgang Streeck: "Democracy or Capitalism?" (2013)
- Wolfgang Streeck's response: "Small State Nostalgia?" (2015).

Wolfgang Streeck  is Emeritus Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. His most recent book is "Buying Time" (Verso, 2014).