Sunday, February 14, 2016

Amy Allen on Habermas, Honneth, Forst & Foucault

The End of Progress
Decolonizing the Normative Foundations of Critical Theory

by Amy Allen

(Columbia University Press, 2016)

304 pages


While post- and decolonial theorists have thoroughly debunked the idea of historical progress as a Eurocentric, imperialist, and neocolonialist fallacy, many of the most prominent contemporary thinkers associated with the Frankfurt School — Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth, and Rainer Forst — have defended ideas of progress, development, and modernity and have even made such ideas central to their normative claims. Can the Frankfurt School's goal of radical social change survive this critique? And what would a decolonized critical theory look like?

Amy Allen fractures critical theory from within by dispensing with its progressive reading of history while retaining its notion of progress as a political imperative, so eloquently defended by Adorno. Critical theory, according to Allen, is the best resource we have for achieving emancipatory social goals. In reimagining a decolonized critical theory after the end of progress, she rescues it from oblivion and gives it a future.

Contents [preview]

1. Critical Theory and the Idea of Progress
2. From Social Evolution to Multiple Modernities: History and Normativity in Habermas
3. The Ineliminability of Progress? Honneth's Hegelian Contextualism
4. From Hegelian Reconstructivism to Kantian Constructivism: Forst's Theory of Justification
5. From the Dialectic of Enlightenment to the History of Madness: Foucault as Adorno's Other Other Son
6. Conclusion: "Truth," Reason, and History

Amy Allen is Professor of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of "The Politics of Our Selves: Power, Autonomy, and Gender in Contemporary Critical Theory" (Columbia University Press, 2007).

See her paper "Adorno, Foucault, and the End of Progress" (pdf). And a video of her presentation of the paper at George Mason University (March 2014) here.

See also her paper "Normativity, Power, and Gender: Reply to Critics" (pdf, 2014) - a response to the critiques of her book "The Politics of Our Selves".

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Onora O'Neill's Essays on Global Justice

Justice across Boundaries
Whose Obligations?

by Onora O'Neill

(Cambridge University Press, 2016)


Who ought to do what, and for whom, if global justice is to progress? In this collection of essays on justice beyond borders, Onora O'Neill criticises theoretical approaches that concentrate on rights, yet ignore both the obligations that must be met to realise those rights, and the capacities needed by those who shoulder these obligations. She notes that states are profoundly anti-cosmopolitan institutions, and that even those committed to justice and universal rights often lack the competence and the will to secure them, let alone to secure them beyond their borders. She argues for a wider conception of global justice, in which obligations may be held either by states or by competent non-state actors, and in which borders themselves must meet standards of justice. This rich and wide-ranging collection will appeal to a broad array of academic researchers and advanced students of political philosophy, political theory, international relations and philosophy of law.

Contents [pdf]

Introduction [pdf]

Part I. Hunger across Boundaries
1. Lifeboat Earth [preview]
2. Rights, Obligations and World Hunger
3. Rights to Compensation [abstract]

Part II. Justifications across Boundaries
4. Justice and Boundaries
5. Ethical Reasoning and Ideological Pluralism [preview]
6. Bounded and Cosmopolitan Justice [preview]
7. Pluralism, Positivism and the Justification of Human Rights [abstract]

Part III. Action across Boundaries
8. From Edmund Burke to Twenty-First-Century Human Rights
9. From Statist to Global Conceptions of Justice
10. Global Justice: Whose Obligations? [abstract]
11. Agents of Justice [abstract]
12. The Dark Side of Human Rights [abstract]

Part IV. Health across Boundaries
13. Public Health or Clinical Ethics: Thinking beyond Borders [preview]
14. Broadening Bioethics: Clinical Ethics, Public Health and Global Health [lecture, pdf] [video]