Saturday, January 21, 2017

On John Rawls - Suggested Reading

Professor Leif Wenar (King's College, London) has updated his entry on John Rawls in "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy":

"John Rawls"

Excerpt from "Further Reading":

"Beyond the texts by Rawls cited above, readers may wish to consult Rawls's lectures on Hume, Leibniz, Kant, and Hegel (LHMP) and on Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Mill, Marx, Sidgwick, and Butler (LHPP) to see how Rawls's interpretations of these authors informed his own theorizing. Reath, Herman, and Korsgaard (1997) is a collection of essays by Rawls's students on his work in the history of philosophy.

Students wanting a clear guide to A Theory of Justice may wish to read Lovett (2011), or (more advanced) Mandle (2009). Voice (2011) gives an outline-style summary of Rawls's three main books that is accessible to those with some undergraduate philosophical training. Mandle and Reidy (2014) offers an alphabetized list of short entries, from Abortion to Maximin to Wittgenstein, of important concepts, issues, influences and critics.

Freeman (2007) sets out in a single volume the historical development of Rawls's theories, as well as sympathetic elaborations of many of his central arguments. Pogge (2007) is a rigorous examination of Rawls's domestic theories, which also contains a biographical sketch and brief replies to libertarian and communitarian critics (for which see also Pogge (1989)). Maffettone (2011) and Audard (2007) are critical introductions to Rawls's three major works. Moon (2014) offers an original reinterpretation of the Rawlsian project.

Mandle and Reidy (2013) is the most important recent collection of scholarly essays, spanning a wide range of issues arising from Rawls's work. Freeman (2003) is a collection of mostly friendly articles on major themes in Rawls's domestic theories; it also contains an introductory overview of all of Rawls's work. Young (2016) is a selection of more critical articles.

Historically, the most influential volume of essays on justice as fairness has been Daniels (1975). Brooks and Nussbaum (2015) presents incisive recent articles on Rawls's political liberalism. Older collections on political liberalism include Davion and Wolf (1999), Griffin and Solum (1994) and Lloyd (1994). Martin and Reidy (2006) focuses on the law of peoples. Hinton (2015) is a volume of articles by leading scholars on the original position.

Abbey (2013) is an edited volume on feminist interpretations of Rawls's work. Bailey and Gentile (2014) is an important anthology of articles that explore how extensively religious believers can engage in the political life of a Rawlsian society. Fleming (2004) is a symposium on Rawls and the law. O'Neill and Williamson (2012) contains many significant essays on the institutional design of Rawls's preferred polity, the property-owning democracy.

Readers who can gain access (usually through a library) to Kukathas (2003, 4 volumes) or Richardson and Weithman (1999, 5 volumes) will find many of the most important critical articles on Rawls's work, divided according to specific themes (e.g., maximin reasoning, public reason) and types of criticisms (e.g., conservative critiques, feminist critiques). Readers without access to the Richardson and Weithman volumes can follow the links [volume 1, volume 2, volume 3, volume 4, volume 5] to their tables of contents and can then locate the articles desired in their original places of publication."

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Essays on Habermas and Law

New Book: Habermas and Law 

Ed. by Hugh Baxter

(Routledge, 2017)

467 pages


Habermas and Law makes accessible the most important essays in English that deal with the application to law of the work of major philosophers for whom law was not a main concern. It encompasses not only what these philosophers had to say about law but also brings together essays which consider those aspects of the work of major philosophers which bear on our interpretation and assessment of current law and legal theory.


Introduction - Hugh Baxter

Part 1. The Emergence and Development of Law as a Central Theme in Habermas’s Thought

1. Capitalism, Law, and Social Criticism [pre-view] - William Scheuerman 

Part 2. Grounding of Basic Rights

2. Basic Rights and Democracy in Jürgen Habermas’s Procedural Paradigm of the Law [abstract] - Robert Alexy 

3. Justification and Application: The Revival of the Rawls-Habermas Debate [pdf] - Jørgen Pedersen

Part 3. Democratic Deliberation

4. The Unforced Force of the Better Argument: Reason and Power in Habermas’ Political Theory [pre-view] - Amy Allen

5. No-Saying in Habermas [pdf] - Stephen K. White & Evan Robert Far

6. Norms, Motives, and Radical Democracy: Habermas and the Problem of Motivation [pre-view] - Daniel Munro

Part 4. Constitutions and Judicial Review

7. Morality, Identity, and Constitutional Patriotism [abstract] - Frank Michelman 

8. On the Possibility of a Democratic Constitutional Founding: Habermas and Michelman in Dialogue [pre-view] - Ciaran Cronin 

9. Coping with Constitutional Indeterminacy [pdf] - Todd Hedrick

10. Paradoxes of Constitutional Democracy [doc] - Kevin Olson 

11. Constitutional Rights, Balancing, and Rationality [pdf] - Robert Alexy 

Part 5. Religion and the Public Sphere

12. Religion in the Public Sphere: Remarks on Habermas' Conception of Public Deliberation in Post-secular Societies [pre-view] - Cristina Lafont

13. Habermas, Religion, and the Ethics of Citizenship - James W. Boettcher 

14. Habermas and the Aporia of Translating Religion in Democracy - Badredine Arfi 

Part 6. Globalization and Democracy Beyond the Nation-State

15. Does Europe Need Common Values? Habermas vs. Habermas - Justine Lacroix 

16. Why Europeans Will Not Embrace Constitutional Patriotism - Mattias Kumm

17. Transnationalizing the Public Sphere - Nancy Fraser 

18. Tasks of a Global Civil Society: Held, Habermas, and Democratic Legitimacy beyond the Nation-State [pdf] - Adam Lupel 

19. Globalizing Democracy, Reflections on Habermas’s Radicalism [pdf] - Pauline Johnson 

20. Towards a Discourse-Theoretical Account of Authority and Obligation in the Postnational Constellation - Jonathan Trejo-Mathys 

Hugh Baxter is Professor of Law and Philosophy at Boston University. He is the author of "Habermas: The Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy" (Stanford University Press, 2011). See a symposium discussion on Baxter's book here.

See also three papers by Hugh Baxter:

*  "Habermas's Sociological and Normative Theory of Law and Democracy: A Reply to Wirts, Flynn, and Zurn" (2014)

* "Habermas's Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy" (2002)

* "System and Lifeworld in Habermas's Theory of Law" (2002)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

New Book on Habermas and Social Research

Habermas and Social Research

Ed. by Mark Murphy

(Routledge, 2017)

214 pages


One of the greatest contributors to the field of sociology, Jürgen Habermas has had a wide-ranging and significant impact on understandings of social change and social conflict. He has inspired researchers in a range of disciplines with his multidimensional social theory, however an overview of his theory in applied settings is long overdue.
This collection brings together in one convenient volume a set of researchers who place Jürgen Habermas’ key concepts such as colonisation, deliberation and communication at the centre of their research methodologies. 

Contents [pre-view

1. Introduction: Putting Habermas to work in social research - Mark Murphy 

Part 1: Research on Colonisation

2. Habermas in the context of social movements research: Colonisation as a living battle - Gemma Edwards 
3. Habermas’ critical theory as an alternative research paradigm: The case of Everglades environmental policy [paper] - Claire Connolly Knox 
4. Habermas and the self-regulation of complementary and alternative medicine - Peter Kennedy 

Part 2: The politics of deliberation 1: Research on the public sphere

5. Working with and thinking against Habermas - Judith Bessant 
6. Digitizing Habermas: Digital public spheres & networked publics - Bjarki Valtysson 

Part 3: The politics of deliberation 2: Research on inclusion

7. Parental involvement in school: Applying Habermas’ theoretical framework - Anne Dorthe Tveit 
8. Looking at participation through the lens of Habermas’ theory: opportunities to bridge the gap between lifeworld and system? - Susan Woelders & Tineke Abma 

Part 4: Communicative (inter)actions 1: School and migration studies

9. Transnationalism as communicative action: Putting Habermas to work in migration studies [paper] - Thomas Lacroix 
10. Young children’s educational practice in preschool in relation to Habermas’ philosophical perspective - Anette Emilson 

Part 5: Communicative (inter)actions 2: The planning process 

11. Bridging the theory and method nexus in planning: The potential and limits of Habermas for urban planning scholarship - Crystal Legacy and Alan Marc
12. Habermas and the role of linguistic interaction in environmental planning: An East European case study - Maie Kiisel

Mark Murphy is Reader in Education & Public Policy at the University of Glasgow. He is the editor of "Social Theory and Education Research: Understanding Foucault, Habermas, Bourdieu and Derrida" (Routledge, 2013). 

Friday, January 06, 2017

Habermas on citizen equality in the EU

A new article in English by Jürgen Habermas:

"Citizen and State Equality in a Supranational Political Community: Degressive Proportionality and the Pouvoir Constituant Mixte"
(Journal of Common Market Studies, forthcoming 2017)


In the European Parliament seats are distributed according to a principle of degressive proportionality that privileges smaller member states. While serving the principle of state equality, this arrangement seems to violate the principle of citizen equality. In this article, I consider whether a deviation from the equal representation of citizens can be justified in the context of a supranational political community. The main thesis is that the conflict between citizen and state equality can be dissolved if we understand the European Union as based on a pouvoir constituant mixte. Today, each European finds herself in a dual role as an EU citizen and a state citizen. While the member state peoples strive for supranational democracy, they have an interest in preserving their domestic structures of self-government. Thus, the rules of representation in the EP can be reconstructed as an expression of the legitimate will of a dual constituent subject.

The text is a revised version of an article published in the German journal "Der Staat" in 2014: 
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”, Der Staat vol. 53, no. 2 (2014), pp. 167-192.

See also Jürgen Habermas's papers on 

* "Democracy in Europe" (2014)

* "The Crisis of  the European Union in the Light of  a Constitutionalization of International Law" (2012)

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Forthcoming books on Jürgen Habermas

Habermas and Law

Habermas and Feminism
(Palgrave MacMillan)

Postsäkulare Gesellschaft und Religion: Zum Spätwerk von Jürgen Habermas
(Verlag Herder)

Habermas and Giddens on Modernity
(Anthem Press)

Habermas und die Religion

Habermas Lexicon
(Cambridge University Press)

Jürgen Habermas
(Columbia University Press)

And an English translation of Habermas's latest book on philosophy:

Postmetaphysical Thinking II
(Polity Press)

Monday, January 02, 2017

Derek Parfit Dies at 74

Derek Parfit died on January 1, 2017. He was 74.

Links to obituaries and remembrances here.

See Larissa MacFarquhar's portrait of Derek Parfit in "The New Yorker" September 2011: "How to be Good".

The third volume of Derek Parfit's work "On What Matters" will come out on Oxford University Press in February.

At "Daily Nous", Professor Peter Singer quotes a text from Parfit's "On What Matters" Volume 3. Peter Singer writes:

"Derek’s On What Matters, Volume Three is in press and will be published by OUP in February. A large part of it consists of responses to the essays in the companion volume I have edited, Does Anything Really Matter: Essays on Parfit on Objectivity, which will be published at the same time.

Derek shared the final version of On What Matters Volume Three with me, and it seems fitting now to share the final paragraphs, which give a brief statement of what Derek considered matters most, as well as an indication of what we have lost by his inability to complete his larger project.

I regret that, in a book called On What Matters, I have said so little about what matters. I hope to say more in what would be my Volume Four. I shall end this volume with slight revisions of some of my earlier claims.
One thing that greatly matters is the failure of we rich people to prevent, as we so easily could, much of the suffering and many of the early deaths of the poorest people in the world. The money that we spend on an evening’s entertainment might instead save some poor person from death, blindness, or chronic and severe pain. If we believe that, in our treatment of these poorest people, we are not acting wrongly, we are like those who believed that they were justified in having slaves.
Some of us ask how much of our wealth we rich people ought to give to these poorest people. But that question wrongly assumes that our wealth is ours to give. This wealth is legally ours. But these poorest people have much stronger moral claims to some of this wealth. We ought to transfer to these people, in ways that I mention in a note, at least ten per cent of what we earn.
What now matters most is how we respond to various risks to the survival of humanity. We are creating some of these risks, and discovering how we could respond to these and other risks. If we reduce these risks, and humanity survives the next few centuries, our descendants or successors could end these risks by spreading through this galaxy.
Life can be wonderful as well as terrible, and we shall increasingly have the power to make life good. Since human history may be only just beginning, we can expect that future humans, or supra-humans, may achieve some great goods that we cannot now even imagine. In Nietzsche’s words, there has never been such a new dawn and clear horizon, and such an open sea.
If we are the only rational beings in the Universe, as some recent evidence suggests, it matters even more whether we shall have descendants or successors during the billions of years in which that would be possible. Some of our successors might live lives and create worlds that, though failing to justify past suffering, would give us all, including some of those who have suffered, reasons to be glad that the Universe exists.”"

Talk by Derek Parfit on ”Giving What We Can”, The Oxford Union, 2015.

Derek Parfit: "On What Matters" volume 3

On What Matters
Volume Three

by Derek Parfit

(Oxford University Press, 2017)

488 pages


Derek Parfit presents the third volume of On What Matters, his landmark work of moral philosophy. Parfit develops further his influential treatment of reasons, normativity, the meaning of moral discourse, and the status of morality. He engages with his critics, and shows the way to resolution of their differences.
This volume is partly about what it is for things to matter, in the sense that we all have reasons to care about these things. Much of the book discusses three of the main kinds of meta-ethical theory: Normative Naturalism, Quasi-Realist Expressivism, and Non-Metaphysical Non-Naturalism, which Derek Parfit now calls Non-Realist Cognitivism. This third theory claims that, if we use the word 'reality' in an ontologically weighty sense, irreducibly normative truths have no mysterious or incredible ontological implications. If instead we use 'reality' in a wide sense, according to which all truths are truths about reality, this theory claims that some non-empirically discoverable truths-such as logical, mathematical, modal, and some normative truths-raise no difficult ontological questions.
Parfit discusses these theories partly by commenting on the views of some of the contributors to Peter Singer's collection Does Anything Really Matter? Parfit on Objectivity (Oxford University Press, 2017). 

Contents [pre-view]



Part Seven: Irreducibly Normative Truths
37. How Things Might Matter
38. Normative and Natural Truths
39. Gibbard's Offer to Non-Naturalists
40. Railton's Defence of Soft Naturalism
41. Railton's Resolution of our Disagreements
42. Jackson's Non-Empirical Normative Truths
43. Schroeder's Conservative Reductive Thesis

Part Eight: Expressivist Truths
44. Quasi-Realist Expressivism
45. Gibbard's Resolution of our Disagreements
46: Another Triple Theory

Part Nine: Normative and Psychological Reasons
47. Expressivist Reasons
48. Subjectivist Reasons
49. Street's Meta-Ethical Constructivism
50. Morality, Blame, and Internal Reasons
51: Nietzsche's Mountain
52. What Matters and Universal Reasons
53. Act Consequentialism, Reasons, and Morality

Derek Parfit died on January 1, 2017.

He was a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. He was the author of "Reasons and Persons" (Oxford University Press, 1984), and "On What Matters" Volume One and Volume Two (Oxford University Press, 2011).

See two recent papers by Derek Parfit:

* "Conflicting Reasons" (Etica & Politica, 2016)
* "Personal and Omnipersonal Duties" (The Harvard Review of Philosophy, 2016).

See also Larissa MacFarquhar's portrait of Derek Parfit in "The New Yorker" September 2011: "How to be Good".

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Essays on Derek Parfit on Metaethics

Does Anything Really Matter?

Essays on Parfit on Objectivity

Ed. by Peter Singer

(Oxford University Press, 2017)

320 pages


In the first two volumes of On What Matters Derek Parfit argues that there are objective moral truths, and other normative truths about what we have reasons to believe, and to want, and to do. He thus challenges a view of the role of reason in action that can be traced back to David Hume, and is widely assumed to be correct, not only by philosophers but also by economists. In defending his view, Parfit argues that if there are no objective normative truths, nihilism follows, and nothing matters. He criticizes, often forcefully, many leading contemporary philosophers working on the nature of ethics, including Simon Blackburn, Stephen Darwall, Allen Gibbard, Frank Jackson, Peter Railton, Mark Schroeder, Michael Smith, and Sharon Street. Does Anything Really Matter? gives these philosophers an opportunity to respond to Parfit's criticisms, and includes essays on Parfit's views by Richard Chappell, Andrew Huddleston, Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer, Bruce Russell, and Larry Temkin. A third volume of On What Matters, in which Parfit engages with his critics and breaks new ground in finding significant agreement between his own views and theirs, is appearing as a separate companion volume.

Contents [pre-view]

Preface - Peter Singer

1. Has Parfit's Life Been Wasted? - Larry Temkin
2. Two Sides of the Meta-Ethical Mountain? [pdf] - Peter Railton
3. Parfit on Normative Properties and Disagreement - Allan Gibbard
4. All Souls Night - Simon Blackburn
5. Parfit's Mistaken Metaethics [pdf] - Michael Smith
6. Nothing 'Really' Matters, but That's Not What Matters [Draft] - Sharon Street
7: Knowing What Matters - Richard Chappell
8. Nietzsche and the Hope of Normative Convergence - Andrew Huddleston
9. In Defence Of Reductionism In Ethics [pdf] - Frank Jackson
10. What Matters about Metaethics? [pdf] - Mark Schroeder
11. A Defense of Moral Intuitionism - Bruce Russell
12. Morality, Blame, and Internal Reasons - Stephen Darwall
13. Parfit on Objectivity and 'The Profoundest Problem of Ethics' [Related paper] - Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek & Peter Singer

See some of my previous blog posts on Derek Parfit's work:

* Derek Parfit's On What Matters (OUP, 2011)
* Reviews of Derek Parfit's book 
* Critical essays on Derek Parfit (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)