Tuesday, December 01, 2020

"Theory, Culture & Society" on Jürgen Habermas

The December issue of "Theory, Culture & Society" contains a special section on "Habermas at 90: Reflections on Philosophy and the Present Condition", edited by Rainer Winter:

* Moral Universalism at a Time of Political Regression (Interview), by Jürgen Habermas

"In the present interview, Jürgen Habermas answers questions about his wide-ranging work in philosophy and social theory, as well as concerning current social and political developments to whose understanding he has made important theoretical contributions. Among the aspects of his work addressed are his conception of communicative rationality as a countervailing force to the colonization of the lifeworld by capitalism and his understanding of philosophy after Hegel as postmetaphysical thinking, for which he has recently provided a comprehensive historical grounding. The scope and relevance of his ideas can be seen from his reflections on current issues, ranging from the prospects of translational democracy at a time of resurgent nationalism and populism, to political developments in Germany since reunification, to the role of religion in the public sphere and the impact of the new social media on democratic discourse."

[Originally published in "Leviathan" (open access), vol. 48 no. 1 (2020), pp. 7-28.]

* On the Contemporary Relevance of Jürgen Habermas’ Social Theory, by Rainer Winter

"This introduction discusses the contemporary relevance of Jürgen Habermas’ social theory following the publication of his recent work, Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie (2019). It deals with his key topics and interventionist style of thinking. The essence of Habermas’ critical theory is its unwavering commitment to the utopia of communicative reason."

* Faith and Knowledge: Habermas’ Alternative History of Philosophy, by Hans Joas

[Review of Jürgen Habermas' "Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie" (2019)]

"Jürgen Habermas’ philosophical oeuvre so far contained only few references to thinkers prior to Kant. The publication of a comprehensive history of Western philosophy by this author, therefore, came as a surprise. The book is not, as many had anticipated, a book about religion, but about the gradual emancipation of “secular” “autonomous” rationality from religion, although in a way that preserves a normative commitment to Christianity. While welcoming this attitude and praising the achievements of this book, this text is also critical with regard to Habermas' understanding of faith and hints at several shortcomings of the historical argument resulting from this deficient presupposition."

[Originally published in "Süddeutsche Zeitung", November 14, 2019]

* A Genealogy of Faith and Freedom, by Hans-Herbert Kögler [Recommended!]

[Review of Jürgen Habermas' "Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie" (2019)]

"The review highlights how Habermas reconstructs the historically constitutive function of religious thought regarding essential categories through which to appropriate our practical freedom. It articulates the three essential bifurcations taken along the way: to opt for Judeo-Christian dialogism versus other axial age world religions; for a Lutheran Kantianism of an unconditional normativity versus an empiricist naturalism; and for the hermeneutic discovery of a validity-oriented communicative agency versus a Hegelian metaphysics. Recognizing our normative indebtedness to religious roots in modernity is to enable the renewal of an unabashed commitment to 'rational freedom,' thus serving as a bulwark against currently fashionable scientistic worldviews. Such a hermeneutic genealogy may also provide one promising resource to reconstruct shared normative ideals in a cross-cultural dialogue."

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