Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Conference on Habermas' Legal Theory, May 26-27

An international conference on Jürgen Habermas' Legal Theory in "Between Facts and Norms", May 26 - 27, 2023, at the University of Buffalo:

"Critical Encounters with Habermas' Legal Theory"

Zoom access is available.

Keynote speaker: Seyla Benhabib.

Also: Isabelle Aubert, David Ingram, Matthew Specter, Cristina Lafont, William Scheuerman, John D. Abromeit, Phillip Hansen, Brian Caterino, Rurion Melo, Matthew Dimick, and Erin Pineda.

Further information here (location, schedule, abstracts).

Monday, May 22, 2023

Habermas's dissertation on Schelling (free access)

Jürgen Habermas's dissertation from 1954 is now available online:

Das Absolute und die Geschichte. Von der Zwiespältigkeit in Schellings Denken [Free access] (Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg)

Thanks to Hannes Kerber for the pointer!

See links to 165 free online texts by Jürgen Habermas at HabermasForum.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

New book: Free and Equal

Free and Equal

What Would a Fair Society Look Like?

by Daniel Chandler

(Penguin/Allen Lane, 2023)

416 pages


Imagine: you are designing a society, but you don't know who you'll be within it - rich or poor, man or woman, gay or straight. What would you want that society to look like? This is the revolutionary thought experiment proposed by the twentieth century's greatest political philosopher, John Rawls. As economist and philosopher Daniel Chandler argues in this hugely ambitious and exhilarating intervention, it is by rediscovering Rawls that we can find a way out of the escalating crises that are devastating our world today.

Taking Rawls's humane and egalitarian liberalism as his starting point, Chandler builds a careful and ultimately irresistible case for a progressive agenda that would fundamentally reshape our societies for the better. He shows how we can protect free speech and transcend the culture wars; get money out of politics; and create an economy where everyone has the chance to fulfil their potential, where prosperity is widely shared, and which operates within the limits of our finite planet. This is a book brimming with hope and possibility - a galvanising alternative to the cynicism that pervades our politics. 

Contents [Preview]


1. What's Fair

2. A New Social Contract

3. Rawls and His Critics

4. Freedom

5. Democracy

6. Equality of Opportunity

7. Shared Prosperity

8. Workplace Democracy


Daniel Chandler is an economist and philosopher based at the London School of Economics. An interview with Daniel Chandler at Literary Hub (May 2023). 


* Jonathan Wolff (Times Literary Supplement)

* Alan Ryan (Literary Review)

* Stuart Jeffries (The Guardian)

* Jonathan Derbyshire (Financial Times)

Saturday, May 20, 2023

New book: A Critical Theory of Global Justice

A Critical Theory of Global Justice.

The Frankfurt School and World Society 

by Malte Frøslee Ibsen

(Oxford University Press, 2023)

384 pages


The idea of a critical theory is famous across the world, yet it is today rarely practised as originally conceived by the Frankfurt School. The waning influence of critical theory in the contemporary academy may be due to its lack of engagement with global problems and the postcolonial condition. This book offers the first systematic treatment of the idea of a critical theory of world society, advancing the conversation between critical theory and postcolonial and ecological thought. Malte Frøslee Ibsen develops a reconstruction of the Frankfurt School tradition as four paradigms of critical theory, in original interpretations of the work of Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Jürgen Habermas, and Axel Honneth, and considers how the global context has featured in their work and what might be salvaged for a critical theory of contemporary world society. Along the way, Ibsen advances new interpretations of the relationship between critical theory and justice, the idea of communicative freedom, and three conceptions of power in the Frankfurt School tradition. He further offers extended discussions of two emerging paradigms in the work of Amy Allen and Rainer Forst and argues that a critical theory of world society must combine and integrate a Kantian constructivist approach in a critique of global injustice, as Forst defends, with the reflexive check of a self-problematizing critique of its blind spots and taken-for-granted assumptions regarding the postcolonial condition, as defended by Allen. Finally, Ibsen rethinks the relationship between society and nature in critical theory, with far-reaching normative and methodological implications.

Contents [Preview]


Part I: Horkheimer

1. Max Horkheimer and the Original Paradigm of Critical Theory

2. Horkheimer's Original Paradigm and the Idea of a Critical Theory of World Society

Part II: Adorno

3. Theodor W. Adorno and the Negativist Paradigm of Critical Theory

4. Adorno's Negativist Paradigm and the Idea of a Critical Theory of World Society

Part III: Habermas

5. Jürgen Habermas and the Communicative Paradigm of Critical Theory

6. Habermas's Communicative Paradigm and the Idea of a Critical Theory of World Society

Part IV: Honneth

7. Axel Honneth and the Recognition Paradigm of Critical Theory

8. Honneth's Recognition Paradigm and the Idea of a Critical Theory of World Society

Part V: Allen and Forst

9. Amy Allen's Contextualist Paradigm of Critical Theory

10. Rainer Forst's Justification Paradigm of Critical Theory



"In this excellent book, Ibsen offers a critical reconstruction of the Frankfurt School tradition that is alert to its Eurocentric blindspots and aims to articulate the theoretical basis of a critical theory of global justice that is adequate to contemporary world society. Intellectually rich, philosophical acute and lucidly written, this is a work that should be read by all of those engaged with critical theory broadly conceived, whether within the Frankfurt School tradition or outside of it." - David Owen, Professor of Social and Political Philosophy, University of Southampton.

Sunday, May 07, 2023

Axel Honneth & Alexandra Schauer: What's critical about critical theory?

A discussion between Axel Honneth & Alexandra Schauer: What is critical about Critical Theory (The Frankfurt School)? Is Critical Theory still relevant to today's problems?

Audio: Was ist kritisch an der Kritischen Theorie? (Deutschlandsfunk Kultur, May 7, 2023; 47 minutes)

Presentation: Simone Miller.

Professor Axel Honneth is former director of the "Institut für Sozialforschung" in Frankfurt (2001-2018) . He has recently published "Der arbeitende Souverän: Eine normative Theorie der Arbeit" (Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2023). 

Dr. Alexandra Schauer is a research associate at the "Institut für Sozialforschung", Frankfurt. She is the author of "Mensch ohne Welt: Eine Soziologie spätmoderner Vergesellschaftung" (Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2023).