Thursday, October 22, 2020

Reconceiving Religion in the Postsecular Public Sphere

 "Berlin Journal of Critical Theory", vol. 4, no. 2, 2020, is a special issue on 

"Reconceiving Religion in the Postsecular Public Sphere" [PDF]


Hans-Herbert Kögler - "Introduction": Challenges of a Postsecular Public Sphere

Andrew Buchwalter - "Religion in the Public Sphere. Habermas, His Critics, and Hegelian Challenges"

Rick Phillips - "The Prospects of Postsecular Religion: A Sociological Perspective

Joseph Hellweg - "Religion in – and as – the Public Sphere: A West Africa-Based Critique of Critical Theory of Democracy"

Hans-Herbert Kögler - "Tradition, Transcendence, and the Public Sphere: A Hermeneutic Critique of Religion"

See also Hans-Herbert Kögler's review of Jürgen Habermas' "Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie": "A Genealogy of Faith and Freedom".

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Friday, October 02, 2020

On Martin Jay's new book on the Frankfurt School

An interview with Martin Jay on his new book on the first generation of the Frankfurt School: "Splinters in Your Eye. Frankfurt School Provocations" (Verso, 2020):

* Interview with Martin Jay - conducted by Ryan Tripp [audio, 84 minutes], Newbooksnetwork

See also Martin Jay's conversation with Paul Breines [video, 65 minutes] (City Lights Bookstore).

See a preview of Martin Jay's book here.

From the book blurb:

"Although successive generations of the Frankfurt School have attempted to adapt Critical Theory to new circumstances, the work done by its founding members continues in the twenty-first century to unsettle conventional wisdom about culture, society and politics. Exploring unexamined episodes in the school’s history and reading its work in unexpected ways, these essays provide ample evidence of the abiding relevance of Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, Marcuse, Löwenthal, and Kracauer in our troubled times. Without forcing a unified argument, they range over a wide variety of topics, from the uncertain founding of the School to its mixed reception of psychoanalysis, from Benjamin’s ruminations on stamp collecting to the ironies in the reception of Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man, from Löwenthal’s role in Weimar’s Jewish Renaissance to Horkheimer’s involvement in the writing of the first history of the Frankfurt School. Of special note are their responses to visual issues such as the emancipation of colour in modern art, the Jewish prohibition on images, the relationship between cinema and the public sphere, and the implications of a celebrated Family of Man photographic exhibition. The collection ends with an essay tracing the still metastasising demonisation of the Frankfurt School by the so-called Alt Right as the source of “cultural Marxism” and “political correctness,” which has gained alarming international resonance and led to violence by radical right-wing fanatics."

In 2016 Martin Jay published "Reason after Its Eclipse: On Late Critical Theory" (University of Winconsin Press).

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Review of Katrina Forrester's "In the Shadow of Justice"

At "Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews", Samuel Freeman reviews Katrina Forrester's "In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy" (Princeton University Press, 2019):

Review of "In the Shadow of Justice"

Excerpts from Freeman's review

"Katrina Forrester's book is an engaging history of John Rawls's intellectual development and the outpouring of work in political philosophy his ideas have engendered.  (....) Forrester does not openly reject the liberal egalitarian principles or institutions Rawls and others advocate, but she sees their theoretical approach as constricting. She contends that Rawls and philosophers of justice influenced by him have been fixated on formulating moral principles and rules, and that the "overwhelming focus" of these norms "was on questions of distribution and ownership." (....) One of the primary conclusions Forrester extracts from her history is that Rawls's theory of justice and the liberal egalitarian philosophy his work stimulated are largely irrelevant today. She says that the "tale of philosophical success" she recounts "is also a ghost story, in which Rawls's theory lives on as a spectral presence long after the conditions it describes were gone." 

"Rawls's critics charge that the difference principle effectively makes welfare state capitalism, with its considerable inequalities, a permanent element of democratic societies. But Rawls argues in his later works that no form of capitalism, even the capitalist welfare state, satisfies his principles of justice, because capitalism puts no restrictions on inequalities or concentrations of wealth, and inevitably results in the vast majority of people having no economic wealth or discretionary powers and prerogatives in their employment. Consequently, the capitalist welfare state undermines the "fair value" of equal political liberties, fair equality of opportunities, fair economic reciprocity, and disadvantaged citizens' sense of self-respect. Rawls already says in "Theory" [of Justice] that the economic system that satisfies his principles of justice is a "property-owning democracy" or liberal socialism. He understands property-owning democracy as a regulated market system in which capitalism's gross inequalities and concentrations of wealth are eliminated, shares of wealth are widely distributed among all society's members, and workers may exercise greater freedom, powers, and responsibilities within firms and their workplace." (....)

"To apply Rawls's principles to contemporary U.S. politics: there is something deeply unjust about a democracy in which concentrated wealth largely controls the political agenda, and political appeals regularly mobilize fabricated facts and racist, sectarian, and self-aggrandizing considerations that undermine the equal rights, liberties, opportunities, and basic needs of citizens, not to mention the rule of law itself. The integrity of democratic institutions has broken down."

See also Brian Kogelmann's review of Katrina Forrester's book here.