Monday, December 31, 2018

A Feminist Political Liberalism

Equal Citizenship and Public Reason
A Feminist Political Liberalism

by Christie Hartley & Lori Watson

(Oxford University Press, 2018)


This book is a defense of political liberalism as a feminist liberalism. The first half of the book develops and defends a novel interpretation of political liberalism. It is argued that political liberals should accept a restrictive account of public reason and that political liberals' account of public justification is superior to the leading alternative, the convergence account of public justification. The view is defended from the charge that such a restrictive account of public reason will unduly threaten or undermine the integrity of some religiously oriented citizens and an account of when political liberals can recognize exemptions, including religious exemptions, from generally applicable laws is offered. In the second half of the book, it is argued that political liberalism's core commitments restrict all reasonable conceptions of justice to those that secure genuine, substantive equality for women and other marginalized groups. Here it is demonstrated how public reason arguments can be used to support law and policy needed to address historical sites of women's subordination in order to advance equality; prostitution, the gendered division of labor and marriage, in particular, are considered.

Contents [preview]


Part One: Equal Citizenship and Public Reason

1. The Role of Ideal Theory
2. The Moral Foundation of Public Justification and Public Reason
3. Exclusive Public Reason
4. Integrity and the Case for Restraint [paper]
5. Religious Exemptions

Part Two: Feminist Political Liberalism

6. Is a Feminist Political Liberalism Possible? [paper, 2010]
7. Prostitution and Public Reason [paper, 2007]
8. Social Norms, Choice and Work
9. Marriage [lecture, 2016]


Christie Hartley is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State University.

Lori Watson is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at the University of San Diego.

Three related papers by the authors:

* Christie Hartley & Lori Watson - "Is a Feminist Political Liberalism Possible?" (2010).

* Lori Watson - "Toward a Feminist Theory of Justice: Political liberalism and Feminist Method" (2010).

* Christie Hartley & Lori Watson - "Integrity and the Case for Restraint" (2015). 

A video of Christie Hartley's lecture on "Feminism, Political Liberalism, and Marriage", March 10, 2016 at the Loyola University.

See also:

*Ruth Abbey (ed.) - Feminist Interpretations of John Rawls (Penn State University Press, 2013). Preview here. Abbey's introduction here. A review here and here.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

New Perspectives on Distributive Justice

New Perspectives on Distributive Justice
Deep Disagreements, Pluralism, and the Problem of Consensus

Ed. by Manuel Knoll, Stephen Snyder & Nurdane Şimsek

(De Gruyter, 2018), 564 pages


Introduction: Two Opposing Conceptions of Distributive Justice - Manuel Knoll, Stephen Snyder & Nurdane Şimşek

Part I. Deep Disagreements

1. Deep Disagreements on Social and Political Justice: Their Meta-Ethical Relevance and the Need for a New Research Perspective - Manuel Knoll
2. Are There Irreconcilable Conceptions of Justice? Critical Remarks on Isaiah Berlin - Ulrich Steinvorth
3. Equality beyond Liberal Egalitarianism: Walzer’s Contribution to the Theory of Justice - Michael Haus
4. Stuart Hampshire and the Case for Procedural Justice - Giovanni Giorgini
5. Public Reason in Circumstances of Pluralism - Bertjan Wolthuis 
6. Does Rawls’s First Principle of Justice Allow for Consensus? A Note - Manuel Knoll & Nurdane Şimşek

Part II. Ancient Perspectives and Critiques of the Centrality of Justice

7. Aristotle on Natural Right - Francisco L. Lisi 
8. What Is “Just in Distribution” in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Politics – Too Much Justice,  Too Little Right - Eckart Schütrumpf 
9. Justice in Ethics and Political Philosophy: A Fundamental Critique - Christoph Horn 
10. Justicitis - Chandran Kukathas 

Part III. The Problem of Consensus

11. Rawls on Overlapping Disagreement and the Problem of Reconciliation [abstract] - Alberto L. Siani 
12. Public Reason, Compromise within Consensus, and Legitimacy [abstract] - Chong-Ming Lim 
13. From Consensus to Modus Vivendi? Pluralistic Approaches to the Challenge of Moral Diversity and Conflict [abstract] - Ulrike Spohn
14. What Bonds Citizens in a Pluralistic Democracy? Probing Mouffe’s Notion of a Conflictual Consensus - Manon Westphal
15. Citizenship, Community, and the Rule of Law: With or Without Consensus? [draft] - Michał Rupniewski 
16. Political Liberalism: The Burdens of Judgement and Moral Psychology - Peter Caven

Part IV. Expanding the Perspective on Obligations

17. John Rawls and Claims of Climate Justice: Tensions and Prospects [abstract] - Angela Kallhoff 
18. Assistance, Emergency Relief and the Duty Not to Harm: Rawls’ and Cosmopolitan Approaches to Distributive Justice Combined [abstract] - Annette Förster 
19. Global Collective Obligations, Just International Institutions and Pluralism - Bill Wringe
20. Intergenerational Justice in the Age of Genetic Manipulation - Stephen Snyder 

Part V. Diversifying the Perspective

21. The Contours of Toleration: A Relational Account [draft] - Kok-Chor Tan 
22. Constructing Public Distributive Justice: On the Method of Functionalist Moral Theory - Chad van Schoelandt & Gerald Gaus
23. Respect as an Object of Equal Distribution? Opacity, Individual Recognition and Second-Personal Authority [draft] - Elena Irrera
24. Responsibility and Justice: Beyond Moral Egalitarianism and Rational Consensus - Maria Dimitrova
25. Habermas’s and Rawls’s Postsecular Modesty [abstract] - Tom Bailey

Part VI. The Difference Principle

26. A Defense of the Difference Principle beyond Rawls [abstract] - Peter Koller
27. Marxist Critiques of the Difference Principle - Aysel Demir

Part VII. The Economic Perspective: Adam Smith

28. Justice, Equity, and Distribution: Adam Smith’s Answer to John Rawls’s Difference Principle - Jeffrey Young
29. Statism and Distributive Injustice in Adam Smith - Barry Stocker

The book is based on papers presented at a conference on "Pluralism and Conflict: Distributive Justice Beyond Rawls and Consensus" in Istanbul June 2013.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Review of Samuel Freeman's "Liberalism and Distributive Justice"

A review of Samuel Freeman's "Liberalism and Distributive Justice" (Oxford University Press, 2018):

"Liberalism and Distributive Justice"

by Lisa Herzog, Technical University of Munich


"This is a collection of essays most of which have been published before, between 2001 and 2018. They all deal with John Rawls' political philosophy, defending it against various criticisms and what Freeman takes to be misinterpretations. The essays are of admirable clarity, arguing for their positions in meticulous detail. For those interested in a comprehensive overview of Freeman's understanding of Rawlsian justice, the collection is likely to be an extremely valuable resource, not least for teaching." (.....)

"Reading these essays alongside each other offers an opportunity to reflect on their coherence, i.e. on the relation between the various dimensions of Rawls' oeuvre that Freeman covers. The different parts, e.g. the rejection of classical liberalism with its connection to utilitarianism (chap. 1) and the rejection of welfare state capitalism (e.g. 146-7), or the idea of democratic and economic reciprocity (chaps. 4 and 7) and the ideal of a society of free and equal persons (e.g. 47-50) support each other; together they form an impressive edifice of ideas."

Friday, December 28, 2018

New interview with Habermas - by Aubert and Kervégan

The French journal "Le Philosophoire" (no. 50, 2018/2) contains an interview with Jürgen Habermas, conducted by Isabelle Aubert and Jean-François Kervégan - the editors of "Dialogues avec Jürgen Habermas" (CNRS Editions, 2018):

Entretien avec Jürgen Habermas” (pp. 33-52)

The topics are: The history of philosophy, the critical theory of the Frankfurt School (Marcuse, Neumann, and Kirchheimer), law and democracy, feminist theorists, ethnocentrism, religion, migration, and the European Union.


On fundamentalism as ideology

Aubert & Kervégan: Dans les années 1980, vous avez soutenu que le terme d’idéologie est un macro-concept qui a perdu sa pertinence théorique et qui ne correspond plus à une réalité sociologique dans le cadre de sociétés pluralistes et fonctionnellement complexes. Pour des raisons sociologiques, et aussi sans doute parce que l’usage de ce vocabulaire a été discrédité par le recours massif que les versions les plus trivialisées du marxisme ont eu à lui, vous justifiez l’emploi de la notion de «communication systématiquement déformée» plutôt que celle d’idéologie. (.....). Le renouveau des fondamentalismes religieux, et le renforcement de courants intégristes dans les religions monothéistes (catholicisme, protestantisme, judaïsme, Islam), ne peuvent-ils pas s’interpréter en termes d’idéologie?

Habermas: C’est une suggestion intéressante. Marx lui-même, en procédant à une critique de l’idéologie, pouvait encore déduire directement les idées de la gauche, des libéraux et des conservateurs, correspondant aux différents camps que reflétait depuis 1789 la distribution des sièges au Parlement, des positions sociales des classes et de leurs intérêts. Ces rapports de classes transparents n’existent plus dans nos sociétés complexes. Mais si, comme vous le suggérez, on comprend les mouvements fondamentalistes actuels comme des phénomènes modernes et si on les ramène en dernière instance au déracinement des positions sociales sous la contrainte de la modernisation capitaliste, alors, en de tels cas, l’existence d’un lien clair entre visions du monde et positions sociales suggère de conserver le concept d’idéologie. La même chose vaut pour bien des arguments néo-libéraux qui adoptent la vêture d’un langage scientifique.

On migration and asylum policy

Aubert & Kervégan: (.....) En 2015, la crise des réfugiés en Europe a interpellé l’opinion publique. Depuis cette date, la question migratoire est l’une des questions sociales et politiques les plus cruciales au niveau européen. D’un côté, cette situation renforce les tensions sociales en alimentant des mouvements d’extrême droite nationaliste (comme l’illustrent les manifestations à Chemnitz très récemment). D’un autre côté, on a l’impression que la tendance à fermer les frontières de l’UE met celle-ci, et les pays membres, en porte-en-faux avec les principes universels et humanistes de la Charte européenne des droits fondamentaux (dignité, liberté, égalité, solidarité).

Habermas: Oui, je trouve honteux le caractère glacial des récentes décisions en matière de politique du droit d’asile, eu égard au fait historique que les flux de réfugiés en provenance du Sud et du Proche-Orient sont aussi la conséquence de nos propres fautes, celles d’une décolonisation ratée. Pouvons-nous encore nous regarder dans le miroir sans rougir au vu des tragédies qui se déroulent en Méditerranée et que nous laissons plus ou moins se produire aujourd’hui du fait de l’absence de volonté de coopérer dont fait preuve le noyau dur des États européens? Bien entendu, il ne nous est pas possible d’ouvrir tout simplement les portes à tous les réfugiés. Mais, à défaut d’une politique d’asile commune à tous les États européens, laquelle a jusqu’à présent échoué à cause de la mauvaise volonté des États à s’entendre sur une clé de répartition, il faudrait que nous modifiions radicalement, et en commun, notre politique à l’endroit des pays d’où proviennent les réfugiés, avant toute chose en ce qui regarde notre propre politique économique vis-à-vis de ces pays. Et, eu égard à la corruption et au délabrement des structures étatiques de ces pays, nous ne devrions pas simplement laisser ces pays se débrouiller.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Philosophy of Kant and Rawls

The latest issue of "Kantian Review" (December 2018) features articles on the philosophy of Kant and Rawls:

1) Universal Principle of Right: Metaphysics, Politics, and Conflict Resolutions
by Sorin Baiasu

Abstract: In spite of its dominance, there are well-known problems with Rawls’s method of reflective equilibrium (MRE), as a method of justification in meta-ethics. One issue in particular has preoccupied commentators, namely, the capacity of this method to provide a convincing account of the objectivity of our moral beliefs. Call this the Lack-of-Objectivity Charge. One aim of this article is to examine the charge within the context of Rawls’s later philosophy, and I claim that the lack-of-objectivity charge remains unanswered. A second aim of this article is to examine the extent to which, despite Rawls’s express intention to avoid reliance on Kant’s moral philosophy, supplementing Rawls’s political constructivism with some Kantian elements, in particular Kant’s idea of a universal principle of right, not only addresses some of the issues raised by the lack-of-objectivity charge, but also does so without compromising the ability of the Rawlsian account to accommodate the pluralism of conceptions of the good, which he takes to be a fact of modern democracies. I argue for a revised justificatory methodology, which combines Rawls’s MRE and Kant’s Critical Method.

2) Kant’s Contextualism [pdf]
by Katrin Flikschuh

Abstract: This article builds on David Velleman’s recent work on moral relativism to argue that Kant’s account of moral judgement is best read in a contextualist manner. More specifically, I argue that while for Kant the form of moral judgement is invariant, substantive moral judgements are nonetheless context-dependent. The same form of moral willing can give rise to divergent substantive judgements. To some limited extent, Kantian contextualism is a development out of Rawlsian constructivism. Yet while for constructivists the primary concern is with the derivation of generally valid principles of morality, Velleman’s Kant-inspired form of moral relativism demonstrates the indispensability to a Kantian approach of indexical reasons for action. I argue in turn that Velleman’s focus on the indexical nature of reasons for action must be supplemented by an account of agential reflexivity. The latter divides Kantian contextualism from Kantian relativism.

3) Principles of Justice, Primary Goods and Categories of Right: Rawls and Kant
by Paul Guyer

Abstract: John Rawls based his theory of justice, in the work of that name, on a ‘Kantian interpretation’ of the status of human beings as ‘free and equal’ persons. In his subsequent, ‘political rather than metaphysical’ expositions of his theory, the conception of citizens of democracies as ‘free and equal’ persons retained its foundational role. But Rawls appealed only to Kant’s moral philosophy, never to Kant’s own political philosophy as expounded in his 1797 Doctrine of Right in the Metaphysics of Morals. I argue here that the structure of Kant’s political philosophy, with its categories of the innate right to freedom, private acquired right and public right, can clarify the relationship between Rawls’s two principles of justice and his scheme of basic liberties and primary goods.

4) Kant and Rawls on Free Speech in Autocracies
by Peter Niesen

Abstract: In the works of Kant and Rawls, we find an acute sensibility to the pre-eminent importance of freedom of speech. Both authors defend free speech in democratic societies as a private and as a public entitlement, but their conceptions markedly differ when applied to non-liberal and non-democratic societies. The difference is that freedom of speech, for Kant, is a universal claim that can serve as a test of legitimacy of all legal orders, while for Rawls, some legal orders are owed full recognition even if they do not in principle guarantee freedom of speech. I explain Kant’s account of free political speech and argue that the defence of individual rights should be seen as its core feature, both in republican and in autocratic states. I then argue that a much-overlooked shift in Rawls’s development to Political Liberalism likewise ties his account of free speech in democratic societies to issues concerning rights and justice. In a next step, I discuss Rawls’s perspective on some non-democratic regimes in his Law of Peoples, regimes that he understands as well-ordered but which do not guarantee freedom of speech. I criticize Rawls’s account from Kant’s perspective and suggest to introduce a ‘module’ from Kant’s pre-republican thought into Rawls’s conception, aiming to secure a core area of rights- and justice-related speech. My claim is that under Kant’s view of autocratic legitimacy, an important extension of speech rights is called for even in non-liberal, non-democratic states, and that a Rawlsian account should and can adopt it.

5) Liberal Justice: Kant, Rawls and Human Rights
by Onora O’Neill

Abstract: Kant’s practical philosophy, Rawls’s theory of justice and contemporary human rights thinking are landmarks in liberal discussions of justice. Each forms part of a powerful tradition of political thought, and although their substantive accounts of justice diverge at many points, they also overlap in substantial ways. This article focuses not on their substantive claims about justice, or about other ethical standards, but on their differing views of the questions to be addressed, on their proposed justifications for standards of justice, and on a limited range of questions about interpreting and institutionalizing those standards.

6) War and Peace in The Law of Peoples: Rawls, Kant and the Use of Force
by Peri Roberts

Abstract: Where Rawls’s The Law of Peoples addresses war and the use of force then his position has often been identified closely with Walzer’s restatement of just war theory, as both positions appear to take nation-states, and the conflicts between them, to be the bedrock of the international system. On the other hand, Kant’s notion of a peaceful federation of states presents us with the notion of a world without war and where the international system is transformed. This article argues that Rawls’s account of the use of force is better understood if we read it with an eye to its resonances with Kant rather than with Walzer. Doing so rewards us with a clearer understanding of central aspects of Rawls’s account of just war and vision of international politics.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Habermas on Martin Buber (video)

A video of Jürgen Habermas's lecture on the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber (1878-1965) at the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem, on May 1, 2012: 

A Philosophy of Dialogue - In Memory of Martin Buber (1 hour)

Habermas's lecture is published in his book "The Lure of Technocracy" (Polity Press, 2015), pp. 119-136. German translation: "Martin Buber - Dialogphilosophie im zeitgeschichtlichen Kontext" in "Im Sog der Technokratie" (Suhrkamp 2013), pp. 27-46.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Habermas: "EU caught in a trap?"

On September 21, 2018, Jürgen Habermas delivered a speech at a conference in Bad Homburg on "New Perspectives for Europe". An abridged version of his speech is now available at the website of "Social Europe":

"“New” Perspectives For Europe"


"If you in the end ask me, not as a citizen but as an academic observer, what my overall assessment is today, I’ll have to admit to failing to see any encouraging trends right now. Certainly, economic interests are so unambiguous and, despite Brexit, as powerful as ever that the collapse of the eurozone is unlikely. That implies the answer to my second question: why the eurozone still clings together: Even for the protagonists of a northern euro the risks of separation from the south remain incalculable. And for the corresponding case of a southern state’s exit we have seen the test case of the current Italian government that, despite loud and clear declarations during the election campaign, has immediately relented; for one of the obvious consequences of leaving would be unsustainable debts. On the other hand, this assessment is not very comforting either. Let’s face it: if the suspected link between the economic drifting apart of the eurozone member economies on the one hand and the strengthening of right-wing populism on the other hand in fact holds, then we’re sitting in a trap in which the necessary social and cultural preconditions for a vital and safe democracy face further damage. This negative scenario naturally cannot count for more than just that. But already common-sense experience tells us that the European integration process is on a dangerous downward curve. You only recognize the point of no return when it’s too late. We can only hope that the rejection of Macron’s proposed reforms by the German government has not been the last lost opportunity."

Appeal for stronger EU

Jürgen Habermas and five German politicians and economists have published an appeal for stronger EU:

"Wir sind in tiefer Sorge um die Einigung Europas und die Zukunft Deutschlands"

by Hans Eichel, Jürgen Habermas, Roland Koch, Friedrich Merz, Bert Rürup, Brigitte Zypries 

(Handelsblatt, October 22, 2018)

UPDATE: English translation: "We are deeply concerned about the future of Europe and Germany" (Handelsblatt Global, October 25, 2018).


"Im Innern Europas breitet sich wieder Nationalismus aus und Egoismus ist die vorherrschende Haltung – als vergäßen wir gerade wieder alles, was die vorige Generation aus der Geschichte gelernt hatte. Von außen stellen Trump, Russland und China Europas Einheit, unsere Bereitschaft, gemeinsam für unsere Werte einzustehen, unsere Lebensweise zu verteidigen, immer härter auf die Probe. 
Darauf kann es nur eine Antwort geben: Solidarität und Kampf gegen Nationalismus und Egoismus nach innen und Einigkeit, gemeinsame Souveränität nach außen. Und diese Antwort muss jetzt und überall gegeben werden, von den Bürgern Europas, von jedem von uns. Allein als Deutsche, allein als Franzosen, als Italiener, Polen sind wir zu schwach, nur gemeinsam können wir uns im 21. Jahrhundert behaupten. Wir wollen ein Europa, das unsere Art zu leben schützt, ein Europa, das Wohlstand für alle schafft, ein Europa der Demokratie und der Menschenrechte, ein Europa des Friedens und der globalen Solidarität im Kampf für die Erhaltung der natürlichen Lebensgrundlagen. Jetzt müssen wir große Schritte gehen, weiteres Durchwursteln von Krise zu Krise bringt alles in Gefahr, was wir bisher erreicht haben.
Deshalb fordern wir, jetzt mit der vertieften Integration der Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik auf der Grundlage von Mehrheitsentscheidungen und dem Ziel einer gemeinsamen europäischen Armee zu beginnen. Nicht mehr Geld ist dafür nötig – die europäischen Nato-Mitglieder geben etwa dreimal so viel für Verteidigung aus wie Russland –, sondern eine Überwindung der verteidigungspolitischen Kleinstaaterei." (.......)

"Wir fordern die Bundesregierung auf, jetzt mutig voranzugehen, gemeinsam mit dem französischen Präsidenten Emmanuel Macron, um die Wirtschafts- und Währungsunion krisenfest zu machen. Ein weiteres Auseinanderdriften in der Euro-Zone muss verhindert, eine Politik, die zu mehr Konvergenz führt, muss eingeleitet werden. Eine Haushaltspolitik für die Euro-Zone, die dem Zusammenhalt und der Zukunftsfähigkeit des Währungsgebietes dient, und eine gemeinsame Arbeitsmarktpolitik bis hin zu einer europäischen Arbeitslosenversicherung sind jetzt nötig, um glaubhaft zu machen, dass Europa auch im Innern zusammenhält. Dazu müssen wir zu echten Kompromissen bereit sein, auch zu deutschen finanziellen Beiträgen. Die Gründungsväter Europas, zu denen auch Konrad Adenauer gehörte, wussten, dass die europäische Einigung nur gelingen kann, wenn die Wohlstandsunterschiede nicht zu groß sind. Sie wussten, dass die schwächeren Regionen und Schichten neben eigenen Anstrengungen auch der Hilfe der Stärkeren bedürfen, um ihren Rückstand aufzuholen. Sie wussten, dass die Einigung Europas auch ein Wohlstands-versprechen an seine Bürgerinnen und Bürger ist, finanziert aus der Friedensdividende. Noch Helmut Kohl wusste das und handelte danach. Das hat auch Deutschland sehr genutzt. Europa wird das sein, worauf die Europäer sich einigen können, oder es wird nicht sein. Was Europa stark macht, stärkt alle Europäer, was Europa schwächt, schwächt alle Europäer."

Hans Eichel is former Minister of Finance (SPD), Roland Koch is a former Minister President of Hesse (SPD), Friedrich Merz is a former member of the European Parliament and former member of the German Parliament (CDU), Bert Rürup is economist at the "Handelsblatt", Brigitte Zypries is a former Minister for Economics and Energy and a former Minister of Justice (SPD).

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School

The Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School

Ed. by Peter E. Gordon, Espen Hammer, & Axel Honneth

Routledge, 2018

576 pages


Part I: Basic Concepts

1. The Idea of Instrumental Reason - J.M. Bernstein
2. The Idea of the Culture Industry - Juliane Rebentisch & Felix Trautmann
3. Psychoanalysis and Critical Theory - Joel Whitebook
4. The Philosophy of History - Martin Shuster
5. Discourse Ethics - Maeve Cooke
6. The Theory of Recognition in the Frankfurt School - Timo Jütten
7. History as Critique: Walter Benjamin - Eli Friedlander
8. Topographies of Culture: Siegfried Kracauer - Andreas Huyssen
9. History and Transcendence in Adorno’s Idea of Truth - Lambert Zuidervaart

Part II: Historical Themes

10. Ungrounded: Horkheimer and the Founding of the Frankfurt School - Martin Jay
11. Revisiting Max Horkheimer’s Early Critical Theory - John Abromeit
12. The Frankfurt School and the Assessment of Nazism - Udi Greenberg
13. The Frankfurt School and Antisemitism - Jack Jacobs
14. The Frankfurt School and the Experience of Exile - Thomas Wheatland
15. Critical Theory and the Unfinished Project of Mediating Theory and Practice - Robin Celikates
16. The Frankfurt School and the West German Student Movement - Hans Kundnani

Part III: Affinities and Contestations

17. Lukács and the Frankfurt School - Titus Stahl
18. Nietzsche and the Frankfurt School - David Owen
19. Weber and the Frankfurt School - Dana Villa
20. Heidegger and the Frankfurt School - Cristina Lafont
21. Arendt and the Frankfurt School - Seyla Benhabib & Clara Picker
22. Marcuse and the Problem of Repression - Brian O’Connor
23. Critical Theory and Poststructuralism - Martin Saar
24. Habermas and Ordinary Language Philosophy - Espen Hammer

Part IV: Specifications

25. The Place of Mimesis in The Dialectic of Enlightenment - Owen Hulatt
26. Adorno and Literature - Iain Macdonald
27. Adorno, Music, and Philosopy - Max Paddison
28. Schelling and the Frankfurt School - Peter Dews
29. Critical Theory and Social Pathology - Fabian Freyenhagen
30. The Self and Individual Autonomy in the Frankfurt School - Kenneth Baynes
31. The Habermas–Rawls Debate - James Gordon Finlayson

Part V: Prospects

32. Idealism, Realism, and Critical Theory - Fred Rush
33. Critical Theory and the Environment - Arne Johan Vetlesen
34. Critical Theory and the Law - William E. Scheuerman
35. Critical Theory and Postcolonialism - James D. Ingram
36. Critical Theory and Religion - Peter E. Gordon
37. Critical Theory and Feminism - Amy Allen
38. Critique, Crisis, and the Elusive Tribunal - Judith Butler
39. Critique and Communication: Philosophy’s Missions - Jürgen Habermas (interview) 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Postsecular Political Philosophy of Jürgen Habermas

The Postsecular Political Philosophy of Jürgen Habermas: Translating the Sacred 

by Dafydd Huw Rees 

(University of Wales Press, 2018)

256 pages


Introduction – At the Paulskirche

1. Sacred and Profane

2. Religion and Postmetaphysical Thinking

3. The Anthropic Problem

4. Rawls, Habermas and the Critique of Secularism

5. Postsecular Deliberative Democracy

6. Pyrrhic Translation

Conclusion – Ethics and Metaphysics

Dafydd Huw Rees is a Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol University teacher in Philosophy at Cardiff University. The book is based on Rees's PhD Thesis: "Translating the Sacred: Religion and Postsecularism in the Recent Work of Jürgen Habermas" (Sussex University, March 2015) [PDF].

See also Rees's paper "Decolonizing Philosophy? Habermas and the Axial Age" (Constellations vol. 24 no. 2 (June, 2017).

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Conceptualizing the Future of Democracy

A video of a panel discussion today in Frankfurt am Main on 

"Conceptualizing the Future of Democracy: Combining Representation and Participatory Innovations" (1 hour, 49 minutes)

Statements by the participants:

* Mark Warren (University of British Columbia, Vancouver) [starts 10:50]

* Rainer Forst (Goethe University Frankfurt) [starts 22:30]

* Anne Phillips (London School of Economics and Political Science) 
   [starts 32:00]

* Jane Mansbridge (Harvard University) [starts 43:00]

Panel discussion. Moderater: Brigitte Geiẞel (Goethe University Frankfurt) [starts 54:30]

Open discussion [starts 1.14:00]

Further information on the conference here.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Habermas in Bad Homburg

Jürgen Habermas participated in a two-days conference in Bad Homburg on "Neue Perspektiven für Europa".

See this report in FAZ:

Thomas Thiel - "Habermas wirft sich für Europa in die Bresche" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, September 24, 2018)

Excerpts from the report by Andrea Pollmeier in "Frankfurter Rundschau" (September 24):

"Mit tiefer Skepsis blickt der Soziologe und Philosoph Jürgen Habermas auf die gegenwärtige Lage Europas und wendet sich gegen einen Ton der "Dedramatisierung". Zwar drohe trotz Brexit wegen der mächtigen wirtschaftlichen Interessen kein Auseinanderfallen der Eurozone, doch sei dies keine gute, sondern eher eine schlechte Nachricht, erklärte Habermas am Wochenende in Bad Homburg. Ein Weiterführen des Status quo habe schließlich zur Folge, dass die innerpolitischen Polarisierungen in unseren Ländern fortschreiten werden. [....]
Das Erstarken europafeindlicher, rechtsextremer Parteien sei, so Habermas, nicht primär Folge der Migrationspolitik, sondern habe wirtschaftliche Ursachen. Die Währungsunion stelle nicht mehr für alle Mitgliedstaaten eine „Win-win-Situation“ dar. Im ökonomisch boomenden Deutschland werde eigentliche Grund für die fehlende Kooperationsbereitschaft derjenigen verdrängt, die sich heute als Verlierer sehen und sich ungerecht behandelt fühlen. Der Euro sei, so der Soziologe, noch vor der Ost-Erweiterung mit dem politischen Versprechen eingeführt worden, dass sich die Lebensverhältnisse der Menschen in allen Mitgliedstaaten einander angleichen würden. Das Gegenteil dieser Prognose sei jedoch eingetreten. Diese andauernde Diskrepanz der ökonomischen Leistungsbilanzen könne keine Währungsgemeinschaft auf Dauer aushalten. "Ich staune offen gestanden jeden Tag von neuem über die Chuzpe der jetzigen Bundesregierung, die glaubt, die Partner zu Gemeinsamkeit in Fragen der für uns wichtigen Flüchtlings-, Verteidigungs-, Außen- und Außenhandelspolitik gewinnen zu können, während sie gleichzeitig in der zentralen Frage des politischen Ausbaus der Eurozone mauert.""

Photos from the event here.

An abridged version of Habermas's speech is now available at the website of Social Europe: "“New” Perspectives For Europe".

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Albrecht Wellmer dies at 85

The German philosopher Albrecht Wellmer died on September 13, 2018. He was 85.


Martin Seel - "Dialogisches Denken der besten Art" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

Stefan Müller-Doohm - "Kritik, Musik und Sprache" (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

Albrecht Wellmer was an assistant to Jürgen Habermas at the University of Frankfurt from 1966 to 1970 and later professor of philosophy at the University of Konstanz, the New York School for Social Research, and the The Free University of Berlin.

He was the author of:
* "Methodologie als Erkenntnistheorie. Zur Wissenschaftslehre Karl R. Poppers" (1967). 
* "Kritische Gesellschaftstheorie und Positivismus" (Suhrkamp, 1969)
* "Praktische Philosophie und Theorie der Gesellschaft. Zum Problem der normativen Grundlagen einer kritischen Sozialwissenschaft" (Universitätsverlag Konstanz, 1979)
* "Ethik und Dialog. Elemente des moralischen Urteils bei Kant und in der Diskursethik" (Suhrkamp, 1986)
"Endspiele. Die unversöhnliche Moderne. Essays und Vorträge" (Suhrkamp, 1993)
"Revolution und Interpretation. Demokratie ohne Letztbegründung" (Van Grocum, 1998)
* "Sprachphilosophie" (Suhrkamp, 2004)
* "Versuch über Musik und Sprache" (Hanser, 2009)

In English:
* "Critical Theory of Society" (Herder, 1971)
* "The Persistence of Modernity" (Polity Press, 1991)
* "Endgames" (MIT Press, 1998)

For a fine tribute to Wellmer see Axel Honneth's "Artist of Dissonance: Albrecht Wellmer and Critical Theory" (Constellations, vol. 14 no. 3 (2007), pp. 305-314.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

New book: "Dialogues avec Jürgen Habermas"

Dialogues avec Jürgen Habermas

Ed. by Isabelle Aubert & Jean-François Kervégan

(CNRS Editions, 2018)

498 pages 

The book contains the papers from an international colloquium held in Paris in October 2014: "Les perspectives de la démocratie face aux transformations du capitalisme. Un dialogue avec Jürgen Habermas". 


Présentation - Isabelle Aubert & Jean-François Kervégan

I. Questions sur l’Europe

"La transformation de l’Union européenne en démocratie transnationale. Pourquoi est-elle nécessaire et comment est-elle possible?" [English] - Jürgen Habermas

"L’Europe est-elle démocratisable?" - Catherine Colliot-Thélène

"L’inclusion des autres Européens. Voyager avec Habermas à travers l’Europe et au-delà" - Daniel Innerarity

II. Habermas et la tradition critique de l’Ecole de Francfort

"De la Théorie critique" - Albrecht Wellmer [abstract in English]

"Critique de la domination et théorie de la démocratie" - Katia Genel

"Travail et interaction. Origines et implications d’une distinction" - Emmanuel Renault

"La théorie de l’apprentissage et la place de la critique chez Habermas" - Jean-Marc Durand-Gasselin

III. Espace public, industrie culturelle et démocratie

"Habermas et les médias" - Olivier Voirol

"L’espace public et la démocratie réelle" - Clotilde Nouët

"Habermas et les institutions de l’espace public. Un bilan dans le contexte néo-libéral" - Gérard Raulet

IV. Pouvoir et liberté

"La nature nouménale du pouvoir" - Rainer Forst

"Autorité et autonomie" - Maeve Cooke

"Habermas et le »politique«" -  Geminello Preterossi

"»Sommes-nous habitués à la liberté politique«? Participation politique dans le capitalisme tardif" - Francesca Raimondi

Habermas et la solidarité face aux mutations africaines de la démocratie -Edmond-Yao Kouassi

V. Droit et transformations sociales

"L’»autre forme« de la domination. Droit et société" - Christoph Menke

"Citoyenneté et langage des droits" - Isabelle Aubert

"Souveraineté partagée, nation et communauté juridique" - Klaus Günther

"Le droit international délibératif : cosmopolitisation ou constitutionnalisation du droit international?" - Valéry Pratt

"Le droit subjectif à la politique et le problème de l’accélération sociale" - Esther L. Neuhann

VI. Crises et capitalisme

"Crise de légitimation? Des contradictions politiques du capitalisme financiarisé" [Lecture] -  Nancy Fraser

"Crise, capitalisme, réflexivité. Pour une réactualisation de l’idée adornienne d’impuissance" - Estelle Ferrarese

"Economie, travail et démocratie dans la Théorie critique" - Pınar Karaoğlu

VII. Les contours de la modernité

"Peut-on traduire des énoncés religieux en énoncés séculiers?" - Alexandre Dupeyrix

"La problématique de la modernité chez Habermas: retour sur un ancien débat" - Khaldoun Alnabwani

"Parviendrons-nous à penser de manière postmétaphysique?" - Jean-François Kervégan [summary in German]

VIII. Réplique de Jürgen Habermas

"Réplique" [pp. 459-490] - Jürgen Habermas 
[The reply deals with five topics: (1) Democracy and globalization, (2) The European Union as an example of transnationalisation, (3) The conceptualization of the economy in the critical theory of society, (4) Criticism of domination and the concept of "the political", and (5) The theoretical tradition of Frankfurt. 
It was written by Jürgen Habermas a few months after the colloquium, after he had read most of the papers. He resumed and systematized the long interventions he made during the conference.]

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Tribute to Charles Taylor

The current issue of "Philosophy & Social Criticism" (vol. 44 issue 7) contains 24 "short reflections" in honor of Charles Taylor's 85th birthday in November 2016.

All the contributions were published in the German journal "Transit. Europäische Revue" 49/2016.

Contents [pdf]

Introduction: Mapping Charles Taylor - Ulf Bohmann, Gesche Keding, Hartmut Rosa 

Abstract: The extensive, profound and influential oeuvre of Charles Taylor has inspired generations of thinkers. But how can we explore such a body of work? As we try to show in this Special Issue: by understanding him literally and making use of his notion of moral maps – or, differently put, by ‘mapping’ Charles Taylor. As he is far too modest a person to reveal to us his own moral atlas, we have decided to seize the occasion of his 85th birthday to ask several of his renowned colleagues, students and interlocutors to contribute to the reconstruction of such a map. This introduction develops three ‘mountain ridges’ in this cartography – a philosophical anthropology in spatial terms, the indispensable motif of dialogue, and the role of political life –, around which the following 24 illuminating appraisals are grouped.

1. A strong evaluator - Jocelyn Maclure

2. A capacious mind [preview] - Steven Lukes

3. Charles Taylor, today, yesterday, and tomorrow - William E. Connolly

4. The creature of language: Three postcards to Chuck [preview] - Eduardo Mendieta

5. The art of holding opposites together [preview] - Alessandro Ferrara

6. Seeing differently, or: How I discovered the Sources of the Self [preview] - Michael Kühnlein

7. Ordinary life [preview] - Nicholas H. Smith

8. Dialogical animals - James Tully

9. Charles Taylor as polemicist [preview] - Hans Joas

10. For Charles Taylor. An appreciation - Nancy Fraser

11. Charles Taylor and dramatic narrative. Argument and genre [preview] - Alasdair MacIntyre

12. Philosophy and self-expression [preview] [German text] - Arto Laitinen

13. Higher goods and common goods. Strong evaluation in social life [preview] - Maeve Cooke

14. Thinking better of ourselves - Craig Calhoun

15. Taylor’s Hegel - Axel Honneth

16. Encounters with and impulses from Charles Taylor [preview] - Ludwig Nagl

17. Enlarging the dialogue - Richard J. Bernstein

18. Resonance – A key concept in the philosophy of Charles Taylor [preview] - Jürgen Goldstein

19. Cultures of democracy [preview] [German text] - Darío Montero

20. Essays in retrieval. Charles Taylor as a theorist of historical change [preview] - Paolo Costa

21. Freedom – A silent but significant thread across Taylor’s oeuvre [preview] - Ruth Abbey

22. The power of recognition. When Charles Taylor parsed personal identity [preview] - Amy Gutmann

23. Charles Taylor at the front line in Canadian politics [preview] - Guy Laforest

24. A letter to an old friend and colleague on his birthday - Jürgen Habermas

Excerpt: "There is a simple explanation for my undying interest in your continuously evolving philosophical work: in my view, we still pursue the same project, although perhaps from opposing vantage points by now. At any rate, we continue to be linked by the same topics, beginning with the “politics of recognition” in our multicultural immigrant societies up to the more profound historical and philosophical debate on religion as one of the still-living spiritual manifestations of the present age. Your third major book, A Secular Age, has once again shown that you remain far ahead of my own thinking. Moreover, since 1996 I have not only understood the theoretical impact of your Catholic background much more clearly, but also the reason for our opposing perspectives: what from my point of view separates a secular from a religious self-understanding, namely the unreserved openness to fallibility and rational discourse across the board, appears to mean from your point of view a nongeneralizable element of just one among the many context-bound and incessantly competing worldviews. If, however, as you believe, this pluralism of worldviews (which we can reasonably expect to remain unresolved) is precisely what characterizes the unabatedly particularistic self-understanding of modernity, then I imagine you can live with our amicable disagreements quite well. For the future, I wish you more of the same energy and clear mind you have shown as a philosophical wanderer thus far."

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Samuel Freeman on Rawls, justice and liberalism

Liberalism and Distributive Justice

by Samuel Freeman

(Oxford University Press, 2018)

368 pages


Samuel Freeman is a leading political philosopher and one of the foremost authorities on the works of John Rawls. Liberalism and Distributive Justice offers a series of Freeman's essays in contemporary political philosophy on three different forms of liberalism-classical liberalism, libertarianism, and the high liberal tradition-and their relation to capitalism, the welfare state, and economic justice. Freeman organizes his chapters into a narrative arc: from liberalism as the dominant political and economic system, to the laws governing interpersonal transactions in a liberal society, to the broad social and political structures that determine distributive justice. Freeman analyzes the primary differences between the classical and high liberal traditions and shows why libertarianism is not a liberal view. He then shows how Rawls's liberal principles of justice and the difference principle are to be applied in both ideal and non-ideal circumstances, and also to questions of private law, and then demonstrates why Rawls's difference principle supports a property-owning democracy rather than welfare-state capitalism, effectively responding to criticisms by Amartya Sen, G.A. Cohen, and others. Finally, he argues for the social rather than global bases of distributive justice and explains why principles of distributive justice should apply primarily to structure basic social and economic institutions.


Introduction [abstract]

Part I. Liberalism, Libertarianism, and Economic Justice

1. Capitalism in the Classical and High Liberal Traditions [pdf]
2. Illiberal Libertarians: Why Libertarianism is not a Liberal View [abstract]

Part II. Distributive Justice and the Difference Principle

3. Rawls on Distributive Justice and the Difference Principle [abstract]
4. Property-Owning Democracy and the Difference Principle [pdf]
5. Private Law and Rawls's Principles of Justice [abstract]

Part III. Liberal Institutions and Distributive Justice

6. The Social and Institutional Bases of Distributive Justice [abstract]
7. The Basic Structure of Society as the Primary Subject of Justice [abstract]
8. Ideal Theory and the Justice of Institutions [abstract]
9. Constructivism, Facts, and Moral Justification [pdf]

Samuel Freeman is Professor of Philosophy and of Law at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of "Justice and the Social Contract" (Oxford University Press, 2007) and of "Rawls" (Routledge, 2007). He is the editor of "The Collected Papers of John Rawls" (Harvard University Press, 1999), "The Cambridge Companion to Rawls" (Cambridge University Press, 2002), and John Rawls's "Essays in the History of Political Philosophy" (Harvard University Press, 2007).