Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lectures by Martin Jay on the Frankfurt School and Habermas (video)

In November 2012, Professor Martin Jay gave three George L. Mosse Lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, titled "After the Eclipse: The Light of Reason in Late Critical Theory".

The lectures are uploaded at YouTube:

"Lecture 1: The First Generation of the Frankfurt School"
Abstract: During the l940’s, the Frankfurt School lost its confidence in a substantive or emphatic concept of reason, which might survive its degeneration into instrumental, subjective and formal rationality and serve as a vehicle of social emancipation. Attempts were made by Herbert Marcuse to generate an expanded notion of reason by including an “erotic” component and Theodor W. Adorno by combining it with the moment of mimesis in works of art. But the first generation of Critical Theorists was hard pressed to salvage a plausible way to rescue the stronger concept of reason Max Horkheimer had lamented as “eclipsed” in the modern world.

"Lecture 2: Reason Regrounded: Habermas's Gamble"
Abstract: The most creative member of the Frankfurt School’s second generation, Jürgen Habermas, attempted to establish a new ground for a critical notion of reason, albeit one that was explicitly postmetaphysical. His alternative involved the following departures from the earlier Frankfurt School’s emphatic alternative: 1) the desubstantialization of reason 2) the detranscendentalization of reason 3) the linguistification of reason, 4) the desublimation of reason 5) the pluralization of reason 6) the proceduralization of reason 7) the temporalization of reason as a future project. 8) the “as if“ narrativization of reason as an evolutionary standard by which to measure the potential realization of that future.

"Lecture 3: From the Age of Reason to the Age of Reasons"
Abstract: Despite the still unresolved issues in his ambitious system, Habermas’s paradigm shift to a model of rationality stressing the role of intersubjective justification in what Wilfred Sellars famously called “the space of reasons” offers a plausible way to tap the still emancipatory potential in the rationalist tradition. Without depending on a vulnerable metaphysical notion of reason or an untenable universalism, he escapes the charge made by champions of reasons various “others” that reason necessarily excludes and stigmatizes what it cannot colonize and control. In his later work, he modifies his initial faith in a purely discursive model of justification and validity-testing, acknowledging the role of external reality in shaping the never-ending learning process that is made possible by communicative rationality.

Martin Jay is Professor of History at the University of California Berkeley. He is the author of "The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research 1923-1950" (Little, Brown and Co., 1973) and editor of "Reification: A New Look At An Old Idea" (Oxford University Press, 2008).

Monday, December 24, 2012

New Book: "Democratic Reason" by Hélène Landemore

Democratic Reason
Politics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the Many

by Hélène Landemore

(Princeton University Press, 2012)

288 pages



Individual decision making can often be wrong due to misinformation, impulses, or biases. Collective decision making, on the other hand, can be surprisingly accurate. In Democratic Reason, Hélène Landemore demonstrates that the very factors behind the superiority of collective decision making add up to a strong case for democracy. She shows that the processes and procedures of democratic decision making form a cognitive system that ensures that decisions taken by the many are more likely to be right than decisions taken by the few. Democracy as a form of government is therefore valuable not only because it is legitimate and just, but also because it is smart.
Landemore considers how the argument plays out with respect to two main mechanisms of democratic politics: inclusive deliberation and majority rule. In deliberative settings, the truth-tracking properties of deliberation are enhanced more by inclusiveness than by individual competence. Landemore explores this idea in the contexts of representative democracy and the selection of representatives. She also discusses several models for the "wisdom of crowds" channeled by majority rule, examining the trade-offs between inclusiveness and individual competence in voting. When inclusive deliberation and majority rule are combined, they beat less inclusive methods, in which one person or a small group decide. Democratic Reason thus establishes the superiority of democracy as a way of making decisions for the common good.

Contents [preview]

Prologue [pdf]
1. The Maze and the Masses
2. Democracy as the Rule of the Dumb Many?
3. A Selective Genealogy of the Epistemic Argument for Democracy
4. First Mechanism of Democratic Reason: Inclusive Deliberation
5. Epistemic Failures of Deliberation
6. Second Mechanism of Democratic Reason: Majority Rule
7. Epistemic Failures of Majority Rule: Real and Imagined
8. Political Cognitivism: A Defense
Conclusion: Democracy as a Gamble Worth Taking

Hélène Landemore is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University. She is co-editor (with Jon Elster) of "Collective Wisdom.Principles and Mechanisms" (Cambridge University Press, 2012). See my post on the book here (with links to all the papers).

Papers by Hélène Landemore:
* "Why the Many Are Smarter than the Few and Why It Matters"
* "Deliberation and Disagreement" (with Scott E. Page)
* "Talking it Out: Deliberation with Others Versus Deliberation Within" (with Hugo Mercier)
* "Collective Wisdom: Old and New"
* "How to Make Democracy Smarter"
* "Democratic Reason and Distributed Intelligence"
* "Democratic Reason: the Mechanisms of Collective Intelligence in Politics" (also: video)
* "Deliberation, Cognitive Diversity, and Democratic Inclusiveness"
* "Majority Rule and the Wisdom of Crowds"

See a short interview with Hélène Landemore on her new book here.

(Thanks to Reza Javaheri for the pointer!)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Axel Honneth on Education, Freedom and Democracy

"Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft" (November 2012) features Axel Honneth's keynote lecture at the 23rd Congress of the German Association of Educational Science (DGfE), March 12, 2012:

"Erziehung und demokratische Öffentlichkeit. Ein vernachlässigtes Kapitel der politischen Philosophie" [pdf]

A video from the congress is available here (Alex Honneth's lecture begins after 66 minutes).

Axel Honneth is Professor of Social Philosophy at Goethe University and Director of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt am Main; He is Professor for the Humanities in the Department of Philosophy at Columbia University.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Michael Zürn on "Challenges for Democratic Legitimacy" (video)

As part of a lecture series on ”Europe Beyond the Crisis?”, Michael Zürn gave a lecture at the University of Copenhagen on November 29:

"Challenges for Democratic Legitimacy” 

(video) [54 minutes + debate]

It is also available as an audio file.

Michael Zürn is Professor of International Relations at the Free University Berlin and the Director of the research unit “Transnational Conflicts and International Institution” at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB). He is the author of "Regieren jenseits des Nationalstaates" (Suhrkamp Verlag, 1998/2005) and co-editor of "Handbook on Multi-level Governance" (Edward Elgar Publishers, 2010). See some of his recent papers here.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rawls, Mill, and the Puzzle of Political Liberalism

Forthcoming in "The Journal of Politics", a paper on John Rawls's turn toward a political liberalism:

Ruth Abbey & Jeff Spinner-Halev:
"Rawls, Mill, and the Puzzle of Political Liberalism" [pdf]
[free preview until the end of the year]

Ruth Abbey is an Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Notre Dame. She is the author of "Charles Taylor" (Princeton University Press, 2001) and co-editor of "Feminist Interpretations of Rawls" (Pennsylvania State University Press, forthcoming).

Jeff Spinner-Halev is Professor of Political Ethics at the University of North Carolina. He is the author of "Surviving Diversity. Religion and Democratic Citizenship" (The John Hopkins University Press, 2000).

Alexander Kluge's laudatio for Habermas

Jürgen Habermas received the Heine Prize of the city Düsseldorf on December 14, 2012.

A report from the event is available at the website of the city of Düsseldorf.

See three short videos from the event here, here and here. And many photos taken by Martin Brand here.

The laudatio was held by the German film director Alexander Kluge. An abridged version is published today in "Süddeutsche Zeitung", entitled "Zwischen Abgrund und Erkenntnis".

"Jürgen Habermas arbeitet in seinen großen Werken mit außerordentlicher Geduld, mit Zeitaufwand und Sorgfalt. Im Verhältnis dazu erfolgen seine Interventionen in der Öffentlichkeit blitzartig. Nicht weniger sorgfältig, aber geballt."

 "Jürgen Habermas hat unsere Bundesrepublik fast von ihren Anfängen an mit seinen Interventionen und seiner stetigen Arbeit begleitet. Er hat die öffentliche Auseinandersetzung vor Ort transatlantisch und in Richtung China erweitert. Vor allem hat er sie mit dem in der Aktualität nicht immer sichtbaren Netz der Normen und Werte verschränkt."

"Ich sehe Jürgen Habermas vor mir, wie er arbeitet. Wichtige Skizzen notiert er handschriftlich. Man sieht auf dem Blatt Papier die Proportion und die Abstände der Gedanken zueinander, graphisch-poetisch. Daran ändert sich nichts, wenn Jürgen Habermas am Computer schreibt. Das ist die Arbeitsweise eines öffentlichen Intellektuellen."

"Alle diese Vorgänge werden nach wie vor mit der gewissenhaften Prüfung im Kopf denkender Menschen konfrontiert. In diesen Köpfen, ob bei Heine oder Habermas, verbinden sich die Kooperationen mit anderen denkenden Köpfen, bei Habermas mit Max Weber, Talcott Parsons, der Kritischen Theorie und zahllosen weiteren individuellen Köpfen, die sich Mühe geben."

The full text of Alexander Kluge's laudatio is available here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wolfgang Huber reviews Jürgen Habermas

In "Die Zeit" (December 13, 2012), Wolfgang Huber reviews "Nachmetaphysisches Denken II" by Jürgen Habermas:

"Mit Gott und allen Agnostikern
Ausgenüchtert, nicht farbenblind: Jürgen Habermas will den Dialog von Glauben und Religionskritik"
[Update: Now available at Wolfgang Huber's website]

"Viel zu lernen ist von den diagnostischen und programmatischen Bemerkungen, die Habermas zur Zukunftsfähigkeit der Religionen macht. Ich beschränke mich auf die Lehren für den Protestantismus, die sich aus seinen Überlegungen ableiten lassen. Zwar sieht er den Protestantismus unter den Verlierern der religionspolitischen Veränderungen, die sich mit den gegen-wärtigen Globalisierungsprozessen verbinden. Doch zugleich erkennt er gerade in der reformatorischen Gestalt des Christentums eine besondere Verantwortung für eine theologische Reflexion, die das religiöse Bewusstsein mit dem weltanschaulichen Pluralismus der Gesellschaft, dem menschen-rechtlich legitimierten demokratischen Staat und dem säkularen Charakter wissenschaftlich begründeten Weltwissens zu versöhnen vermag. Diese Stärke eines "reflektierten Glaubens" muss der Protestantismus weiterentwickeln; zugleich muss er sich vor der Gefahr einer "lauwarmen" Religion hüten, die zur bloßen Weltanschauung oder zur gesellschaftlichen Werteagentur wird. Denn das wäre, so Habermas, "das Menetekel des Endes von Religion überhaupt".
Eine Philosophie, die, noch einmal mit einer klassischen Formulierung von Jürgen Habermas gesprochen, "religiös ausgenüchtert" ist, braucht deshalb noch längst nicht religiös farbenblind zu sein. Und eine Theologie, die Glauben und Wissen zu unterscheiden versteht, kann vom philosophischen Nachdenken über die Religion eine Menge lernen. Angesichts kulturkämpferischer Gegensätze zwischen fundamentalistischen Formen der Religion wie der Religionsfeindschaft bleibt nur die Hoffnung auf ein neues Bündnis zwischen reflektiertem Glauben und reflektierter Religionskritik. Zu dem dafür nötigen Lernprozess trägt Jürgen Habermas auf ungewöhnliche Weise bei, auch durch dieses neue Buch."

Wolfgang Huber has been Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Heidelberg, and has served as bishop of the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg 2003-2009. He is the author of "Gerechtigkeit und Recht. Grundlinien christlicher Rechtsethik" (Gütersloh, 1996) and "Der gemachte Mensch. Christlicher Glaube und Biotechnik" (Wichern Verlag, 2002).

See my previous post on Jürgen Habermas's book here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Interview with Habermas on philosophy and solidarity

On December 14, 2012, Jürgen Habermas will receive the Heine Prize of the city Düsseldorf. The laudatio will be held by Alexander Kluge. See my previous post on the event here.

In this connection, "Rheinische Post" has published an interview with Jürgen Habermas: 

"Vom Schwinden der Solidarität"

"Welche Bedeutung hat Ihrer Einschätzung nach Philosophie heute noch abseits des wissenschaftlichen Diskurses? Gibt es eine Rückkopplung des philosophischen Denkens zur alltäglichen Wirklichkeit – abseits von TV-Sendungen mit pseudo-philosophischem Anstrich?"

"Philosophen sollten öfter in öffentliche Debatten eingreifen, vor allem, wenn es um normative Fragen geht. Sie haben eben das Beispiel der Bioethik erwähnt. Philosophen haben gelernt, wie man gute von schlechten Argumenten unterscheidet und wie man Begriffe klärt. Weil sie zwischen den Expertenkulturen und der Lebenswelt hin- und hergehen, können sie auch etwas Substantielles zum Selbstverständnis moderner Gesellschaften beitragen. Aber den Schlüssel zum Sinn des Lebens halten sie nicht mehr in der Hand. Sie sind keine Gurus und bilden für religiöse Heilswege keine Konkurrenz. Sie zeigen bestenfalls, wie man über existentielle Fragen des eigenen oder des kollektiven Lebens vernünftig reden kann. Kurzum, Philosophen besitzen kein Weltanschauungswissen; sie verwalten auch kein "wissenschaftliches Weltbild", wie einige meiner Kollegen immer noch meinen."

(Thanks to Burkard Kircher for the pointer!)

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Zofia Stemplowska on Luck Egalitarianism

Zofia Stemplowska has written an introduction to "luck egalitarianism" for "The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy", which came out in November.

An earlier version of Stemplowska's introduction is available at her website:

"Luck Egalitarianism" [pdf]

Zofia Stemplowska is Lecturer at the University of Oxford. She is co-editor (with Carl Knight) of "Responsibility and Distributive Justice" (Oxford University Press, 2011). See my post on the book here. The introduction is available here [pdf].

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Habermas receives Munich culture award

On January 22, 2013, Jürgen Habermas receives the Munich Culture Award 2012.

Habermas is given the award because of his critical voice in the public debate and his continuation of the Enlightenment project.

Here is the statement of the committee:

"Diesseits des Atlantiks ist der deutsche Soziologe und Philosoph Jürgen Habermas (geboren 1929) die geistige Gestalt, die der politischen Philosophie eine bis heute anhaltende Renaissance bescherte, und sowohl das ethische wie auch das philosophische Denken in den vergangenen Dekaden am stärksten geprägt hat. Versehen mit einem interdisziplinären Hintergrund, ist Jürgen Habermas von allen zeitgenössischen Philosophen der einzige, dessen Oeuvre von der Wissenschaftstheorie der Sozialwissenschaften über die Sprachphilosophie und die Soziologie der Sprache, die Handlungstheorie, Diskurstheorie und Diskursethik bis hin zur Rechtsphilosophie und Kulturtheorie reicht. Der herausragende Denker Jürgen Habermas hat sich immer sowohl als Wissenschaftler wie auch als engagierter Bürger verstanden und in beiden Funktionen die innerakademische und die öffentliche Debatte in Deutschland, Europa und - vor allem seit Anfang der 90er Jahre - auch den internationalen Diskurs in hohem Maße beeinflusst.
Mit Jürgen Habermas ehrt die Landeshauptstadt München den bedeutendsten lebenden politischen Philosophen, dessen Lebensmittelpunkt nur wenige Kilometer von München liegt, seitdem er zusammen mit Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker zehn Jahre lang (1970 - 1980) das Max-Planck-Institut zur Erforschung der Lebensbedingungen der wissenschaftlich-technischen Welt leitete. Sie würdigt Habermas vor allem auch in seiner Rolle als kritische Stimme in öffentlichen Debatten - etwa seine Kritik des Geschichtsrevisionismus im Historikerstreit, seine Kritik des neuen Naturalismus und des Instrumentalismus im Umgang mit neuen Biotechnologien, sein Aufruf zu einem verständnisvollen Umgang zwischen religiösen und nichtreligiösen Sichtweisen in der säkularen Gesellschaft, seinen beständigen Einsatz für die Fortführung des großen Projekts der europäischen Aufklärung.

Past award winners include Martin Buber, Alexander Mitscherlich, Golo Mann, Alexander Kluge, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Hans Werner Henze, Ulrich Beck, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Papers by Fabienne Peter on Political Liberalism and Deliberation

Two new papers by Fabienne Peter are now available online:

* "Epistemic Foundations of Political Liberalism" [pdf]
(Journal of Moral Philosophy, forthcoming)

"In a nutshell, I shall argue that the significance of public justification can be explained by the possibility of reasonable disagreement. In a reasonable disagreement, the parties hold mutually incompatible beliefs, but each is justified to hold the belief they do. I shall use the notion of a reasonable disagreement to explain the possibility of an irreducible pluralism of moral and religious doctrines and, on that basis, why the justification of political institutions has to be public. My argument assumes moral realism. I accept the metaphysical claim that there are fundamental moral and/or religious truths that exist independently of our attitudes. So my argument is not based simply on the dismissal of the metanormative claims made by some of Rawls’ critics. Instead I will show that the possibility of reasonable disagreements about fundamental moral and religious beliefs implies that the received understanding of justification is not sufficient for establishing political legitimacy."

"The paper is organized as follows. In section 2 I give a brief characterization of political liberalism. I shall focus on Rawls’ Political Liberalism, the most influential articulation of the idea.But what I shall have to say in subsequent sections will not be limited to Rawls’ conception of it and in fact presents a way of thinking about political liberalism that differs from Rawls’ conception. I then present my epistemic argument for the significance of public justification. This argument is rooted in some premises from the epistemology of disagreement (section 3). I then draw out the implications of these premises for the realm of political normativity (section 4)."

* "The Procedural Epistemic Value of Deliberation" [pdf]
(Synthese, May 2012).

"Collective deliberation is fuelled by disagreements and its epistemic value depends, inter alia, on how the participants respond to each other in disagreements. I use this accountability thesis to argue that deliberation may be valued not just instrumentally but also for its procedural features. The instrumental epistemic value of deliberation depends on whether it leads to more or less accurate beliefs among the participants. The procedural epistemic value of deliberation hinges on the relationships of mutual accountability that characterize appropriately conducted deliberation. I will argue that it only comes into view from the second-person standpoint. I shall explain what the second-person standpoint in the epistemic context entails and how it compares to Stephen Darwall’s interpretation of the second-person standpoint in ethics."

Fabienne Peter is Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick. She is the author of "Democratic Legitimacy" (Routledge, 2008).

Neues Buch von Hauke Brunkhorst: "Legitimationskrisen"

Verfassungsprobleme der Weltgesellschaft

von Hauke Brunkhorst

(Nomos Verlag, 2012)

482 S.



Die Weltwirtschaftskrise hat Europa und Weltgesellschaft in eine Legitimationskrise gestürzt. Anlass genug, in den ersten beiden Kapiteln den Begriff der Krise wiederaufzunehmen, neu zu bestimmen und ins Zentrum einer Evolutionstheorie der Gesellschaft zu rücken. Das Legitimationsproblem besteht in der gleichzeitigen Abhängigkeit und Unvereinbarkeit von Kapitalismus und Demokratie. Im Zuge der Globalisierung hat die Demokratie verloren, was der Kapitalismus gewonnen hat. Sie kann ihren drohenden Untergang nur vermeiden, die mittlerweile dramatischen Verluste ausgleichen und das kapitalistische System wieder unter Kontrolle bringen, wenn ihre Verfassung sich vom Nationalstaat ablöst. Ob und wie das möglich ist, ist Thema des dritten, vierten und fünften Kapitels.


Vorwort [pdf]

1.  Wiederkehr der Krise

2.  "Machbarkeitsillusionen", "feierliche Erklärungen" und "Gesänge"
3.  Globalisierung der Politik

4.  Der lange Schatten des Staatswillenspositivismus
5.  Verfallsgeschichten
6.  Verfassung ohne Staat?
7.  Weltstaat
8.  Legitimationskrise der Weltgesellschaft

Recht und Revolution
9.  Die globale Rechtsrevolution
10.  There Will Be Blood
11.  Hans Kelsen und die Völkerrechtsrevolution des 20. Jahrhunderts

Europa: Vom kollektiven Bonapartismus zur demokratischen Neugründung?
12.  Demokratie ohne Staat?
13.  Legitimationskrise der Europäischen Union
14.  Unbezähmbare Öffentlichkeit
15.  Die Zukunft der Europäischen Verfassung
16.  Mythos des existentiellen Staats
17.  Solidarität in der Krise: Ist Europa am Ende?

Hauke Brunkhorst ist Professor für Soziologie an der Universität in Flensburg. Bücher und Herausgeberschaften: "Recht auf Menschenrechte" (Suhrkamp Verlag, 1999), "Solidarität. Von der Bürgerfreundschaft zur globalen Rechtsgenossenschaft" (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2002), "Habermas Handbuch" (Metzler, 2009), "Demokratie in der Weltgesellschaft" (Nomos, 2009), "Contemporary Perspectives on Justice" (Rainer Hampp Verlag, 2010).

Online papers:
* "Dialectical Snares: Human Rights and Democracy in the World Society" (2009)
* "Democracy under Pressure. The Return of the Dialectic of Enlightenment in the World Society" [pdf] (2010)
* "Taking Democracy Seriously. Europe after the Failure of its Constitution" [pdf] (2011)

Friday, November 30, 2012

"John Rawls: Past, Present, Future"

New papers on John Rawls from a conference on "John Rawls: Past, Present, Future" at Yale University, November 30, 2012:

Andrius Gališanka (Berkeley)
"John Rawls’s Early Positivism" [pdf]

P. MacKenzie Bok (Cambridge)
Personhood and the Nature of Morality in the Early Rawls” [pdf]

Esha Senchaudhuri (Harvard)
Political Reasonableness in a Sympathetic Liberalism” [pdf]

Timothy Waligore (McGill)
Rawls, Race, and a Historicized Difference Principle” [pdf]

Hyunseop Kim (Stanford)
What’s the Point of Rawls’s Extensions?” [pdf]

(Thanks to Reza Javaheri for the pointer!)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Habermas among top 100 "Global Thinkers"

Jürgen Habermas is listed by the Foreign Policy magazine amongst the Top 100 "Global Thinkers" 2012:

"Among a generation of gloomy 20th-century European philosophers who sought to tear down reason and justice as instruments of oppression, Jürgen Habermas long remained an intemperate optimist. He found his inspiration in the coffeehouses and cafes of an earlier era in European history and, in 1981, coined his most famous concept: communicative rationality, the idea that the very process of talking and arguing produces agreement.

But the current crisis in Europe has beaten the optimism out of Habermas. He has described European politicians' halting response to the mess as a creeping coup d'état that has put power in the hands of faceless bureaucrats in Brussels. And as the eurozone economy imploded, the nationalism that the European Union was supposed to suppress came roaring back, with parties across the continent dabbling in a potent brew of racism and Islamophobia that has turned right-wing extremism into a political growth industry. For the first time in the EU's history, the 83-year-old Habermas told Der Spiegel, "we are actually experiencing a dismantling of democracy. I didn't think this was possible."

So what is this Europe whose decline Habermas so laments -- and how will it be saved? In his new book, The Crisis of the European Union, Habermas lays out a case for a more cosmopolitan Europe that more fully transcends its national borders, where political power vested in an EU government elected by the people of Europe would foster the kind of cross-border solidarity that the crisis has so clearly exposed as lacking. It is a bold vision of a pan-European democracy that would effectively end state sovereignty and foster a unity that no market force could undermine. In a year of stifling incrementalism, Habermas's ambitious vision is like a breath of fresh air."

See the full list here

The list also includes Michael Sandel and Martha Nussbaum.

Paper on the European Union & Carl Schmitt vs. Jürgen Habermas

Professor Christian Joerges has posted a new paper at SSRN:

"Europe's Economic Constitution in Crisis"

"The European Union is in troubled waters. Its original reliance on law as the object and agent of the integration project and the “economic constitution“ which Economic and Monetary Union as accomplished by the Maastricht Treaty were expected to complete proved to be unsustainable. Following the financial and the sovereign debt crises, Economic and Monetary Union with its commitments to price stability and monetary politics is perceived as a failed construction precisely because of its reliance on inflexible rules. The European crisis management seeks to compensate for these failures by means of regulatory machinery which disregards the European order of competences, dis-empowers national institutions, burdens, in particular, Southern Europe with austerity measures; it establishes pan-European commitments to budgetary discipline and macroeconomic balancing. The ideal of a legal ordering of the European economy is thus abolished while the economic and social prospects of these efforts seem gloomy and the Union’s political legitimacy becomes precarious. The present critical constellation is addressed in a fictitious dispute between Carl Schmitt and Jürgen Habermas, in which a number of Schmittian notions seem alarmingly realistic. The essay pleads for a more modest Europe committing itself to “unity in diversity,” the motto of the ill-fated Constitutional Treaty of 2003."

Christian Joerges is Professor of European Economic Law at ZERP, Centre for European Law and Politics at the University of Bremen. He is co-editor of "Jürgen Habermas vol. 1 +2", International Library of Essays in the History of Social and Political Thought (Ashgate, 2011) and of "Law, Democracy and Solidarity in a Post-national Union" (Routledge, 2008).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Interview with Ronald Dworkin in "Cicero"

At the website of German magazine "Cicero":

An interview with Ronald Dworkin: "Man kann auch ohne Würde leben"

"Würde ist für mich eine Verantwortung und eine Leistung. Nicht jeder besitzt sie, man kann auch ohne sie leben. Sie beinhaltet zwei Ideen: Erstens die Selbstachtung, das Bewusstsein darüber, dass das eigene Leben objektiv wichtig ist. Damit geht eine Verantwortung einher: zu identifizieren, was eine gelungene Lebensführung bedeutet, und zu versuchen, so zu leben. Zweitens die Authentizität, nämlich dass Menschen eine Verantwortung haben, das gute Leben für sich zu definieren und nicht die Definition anderer zu übernehmen. Keine Würde zu haben, bedeutet, diese ethische Selbstständigkeit nicht zu schätzen."

Ronald Dworkin is Professor of Philosophy at New York University. His latest book is "Justice for Hedgehogs" (Belknap Press, 2011). See my post on the book here.

A German edition of the book is out on Suhrkamp Verlag: "Gerechtigkeit für Igel".

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Martha Nussbaum in Frankfurt

On December 13, Professor Martha Nussbaum will deliver a lecture at the Goethe University Frankfurt:

"Development and Human Capabilities: The Contribution of a Philosophical Theory of Justice".

Introduction by Rainer Forst.

The lecture is part of a workshop on "Justice and Development", hosted by the Centre of Advanced Studies "Justitia Amplificata".

More information here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Symposium on Sebastiano Maffettone's "Rawls"

The lastest issue of "Philosophy & Social Criticism" (November, 2012) features articles on Sebastiano Maffettone's "Rawls: An Introduction" (Polity Press, 2010):

James Boettcher
Debating Rawls: Maffettone and his Critics

T. M. Scanlon
Justification and Legitimation: Comments on Sebastiano Maffettone’s "Rawls: An Introduction"

David Rasmussen
Mutual Recognition: No Justification Without Legitimation

Sebastiano Maffettone
Rawls: 40 Years Later (1971–2011)

Sebastiano Maffettone is Professor of Political Philosophy at LUISS University, Rome.

See my previous post on Sebastiano Maffettone's book here.

See also two papers by Sebastiano Maffettone:
* "Universal Duty and Global Justice" [pdf]
* "The Legacy of the Enlightment and the exemplarity of the EU Model" [pdf]

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rainer Forst on "Tolerance and Democracy" (video)

On November 8, 2012, Professor Rainer Forst presented his paper entitled "Toleration and Democracy" at the Mellon Sawyrs Seminars Series on "Democratic Citizenship and the Recognition of Cultural Differences", the City University of New York):

Rainer Forst's lecture is followed by comments by Adam Etinson (City University of New York).

Rainer Forst is Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at Goethe University in Frankfurt, and director of the research cluster on the “Formation of Normative Orders.” His most recent book in English is "The Right to Justification" (Columbia University Press, 2011). See my posts on Rainer Forst and his book.

Forst's book "Toleration in Conflict: Past and Present" is coming out on Cambridge University Press in December.

See also
* Rainer Forst's paper "Two Stories on Tolerance" (2010) [pdf]
* Paper on "Pierre Bayle's Reflexive Theory of Toleration" (2008) [pdf]

* Entry on "Tolerance" in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2012)
* Interview with Rainer Forst: "Tolerance is a fine art" (2010)
* Video: "The Power of Tolerance. A Debate with Wendy Brown and Rainer Forst" (2008).

In his comments Adam Etinson mentions Anna Elisabetta Galeotti's book "Tolerance as Recognition" (Cambridge University Press, 2002). See a discussion with Galeotti: "Has Tolerance Gone Too Far" (video, 2011).

Monday, November 12, 2012

Review of Nancy Fraser's "Scales of Justice"

In "Constellations" (vol. 19 no. 1, 2012), David Owen reviews "Scales of Justice: Reimagining Political Space in a Globalizing World" (Columbia University Press, 2009) by Nancy Fraser:

"Book Review: Scales of Justice" [pdf]

"Over the past decade, Nancy Fraser has been concerned to elaborate a critical theory of justice in which justice and democracy are fundamentally entwined through the principle of parity of participation; a reflexive criterion through which what counts as justice is to be worked out democratically by peers who can participate on an equal footing in democratic fora and where what counts as parity of participation is itself contestable within democratic fora that meet standards of minimal justice or, put another way, of ‘good enough’ conditions of democratic deliberation. For any such view, two fundamental questions arise: ‘who’ is to count as a subject of justice and ‘how’ is who counts as a subject of justice to be determined. The fundamental quest of Scales of Justice is to provide compelling responses to these two questions by setting out a theory of reflexive justice." [.....]

"[Nancy Fraser's] self-conscious effort at reconciling by synthesising insights of deliberative and agonistic approaches to democracy in a concept of reflexive justice is a significant step towards reconciling important aspects of Fraser’s work with the work of agonistic theorists such as the late Iris Young and James Tully, and opens a crucial space for productive engagement between these theoretical positions.

David Owen is Professor of Social & Political Philosophy at the University of Southampton. He is co-editor (with Bert van den Brink) of "Recognition and Power: Axel Honneth and the Tradition of Critical Social Theory" (Cambridge University Press, 2007).

See also Ina Kerner's review of Nancy Fraser's book in "Public Reason" (2010).

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Jan-Werner Müller on "Post-democracy"

In "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" (November 10, 2012), Jan-Werner Müller comments on the increasing use of the term "post-democracy" (coined by Colin Crouch):

"Karriere und Gehalt eines problematischen Schlagwortes"

"Idealerweise ist «Postdemokratie» ein Warnbegriff, der den Sinn der Bürger für Gefahren schärft, die nicht den bekannten antidemokratischen Mustern des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts entsprechen. Er könnte aber auch den Willen zum politischen Engagement schwächen – denn er legt den defaitistischen Gedanken nahe, das politische System in seiner jetzigen Form sei ja ohnehin keine Demokratie mehr. Und derlei Resignation könnte den Weg in ein wahrhaft autoritäres System ebnen – was «Postdemokratie» dann von einem vermeintlichen Erfahrungsbegriff in einen – sit venia verbo – Erfahrungsstiftungsbegriff verwandeln würde."

Jan-Werner Müller is Professor of Politics at the Department of Politics, Princeton University. He is the author of "Constitutional Patriotism" (Princeton University Press, 2007) and "Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth-Century Europe" (Yale University Press, 2011). Jan-Werner Mueller directs the Project in the History of Political Thought at the Princeton University Center for Human Values (UCHV).

See my previous post on Jan-Werner Müller here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Master class in International Law with Jürgen Habermas

In February 2013, Jürgen Habermas will give a master class in international law at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Law and International Law, Heidelberg:

"Recht und Demokratie in der postnationalen Konstellation" [pdf]


"Die Globalisierung stellt nicht nur den Staat und seine Möglichkeiten zur Ausübung legitimer Herrschaft vor reale Herausforderungen. Vielmehr nötigt die Globalisierung auch dazu, Idee und Konzept von Recht, Rechtsstaatlichkeit und Demokratie selbst zu hinterfragen. Rechtsphilosophie und Rechtstheorie sind gefordert, die Grundlagen und Grenzen legitimer Herrschaft aufgrund von staatlichem und überstaatlichem Recht in der postnationalen Konstellation zu untersuchen. Die Diskurstheorie Jürgen Habermas’ stellt dafür eine der wirkmächtigsten Konzeptionen zur Verfügung. Ihr widmet sich die 2. Max Planck Masterclass. Kernbaustein ist die kritische Diskussion des Werks „Faktizität und Geltung“ (1992) und die Analyse von dessen Bedeutung für Recht und Demokratie in der postnationalen Konstellation auch im Kontrast zu Ansätzen anderer Autoren."

The number of participants is limited in order to keep the character of a seminar.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Francis Fukuyama interviews Jürgen Habermas

In "The Global Journal" (May-June 2012), Francis Fukuyama interviews Jürgen Habermas on his book "The Crisis of the European Union" (Polity Press, 2012):

"The European Citizen: Just a Myth?"

The interview is now available online.

Habermas: "The intercultural discourse over human rights has indeed got under way over the past twenty years. My impression is that the West with its Christian-Jewish heritage (and the Arab world?) could benefit from a good dash of the kind of “communitarianism” we know from the civilizations of the East shaped by Buddhism and Confucianism. Western capitalism needs a corrective to the selective libertarian, at least liberal-individualist interpretation of liberties. I defend the position that we should stress the co-originality of liberal and democratic civil rights as well as the systematic connection between these classical civil rights and the social and cultural basic rights."


German translation: "Der europäische Bürger", Die Welt, December 8, 2012.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

50th Anniversary: "The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere"

The latest issue of "Political Theory" (December, 2012) features a 50th Anniversary Symposium on "The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere" by Jürgen Habermas:

Richard J. Bernstein
"The Normative Core of the Public Sphere"

Ira Katznelson
"On Liberal Ambivalence"

Jane Mansbridge
"Conflict and Commonality in Habermas’s Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere"

Aletta Norval
“Don’t Talk Back!” - The Subjective Conditions of Critical Public Debate"

Maeve Cooke
"Realism and Idealism: Was Habermas’s Communicative Turn a Move in the Wrong Direction?"

Amy Allen
"The Public Sphere: Ideology and/or Ideal?"

William E. Scheuerman
"Good-Bye to Radical Reformism?"

Monday, November 05, 2012

Recent videos with Ronald Dworkin

 Five recent videos with Professor Ronald Dworkin:

 * "Discussion of Justice for Hedgehogs"
(University of Buenos Aires, November 22, 2011)

* "Skepticism, Equality, and Health Care Ruling"
(Carnegie Council, December 6, 2011)

* "Religion Without God"
(Bern University, December 12-14, 2012)

* "How Universal is Liberalism?"
(University of Oxford, April 27, 2012)

* "Hate Speech"
(Oslo, June 26, 2012)

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Paper on the Methodology of Legal Philosophy

Alex Langlinais & Brian Leiter have posted a new paper at SSRN:

"The Methodology of Legal Philosophy"

This essay surveys issues about philosophical methodology as they arise in general jurisprudence. Certainly in the Anglophone world and increasingly outside it, H.L.A. Hart’s 1961 book The Concept of Law has dominated the discussion. Unsurprisingly, then, methodological debates typically scrutinize either one of two (related) methodological claims in Hart’s classic work. The first is that his theory is both general and descriptive (Hart 1994: 239). The second is that his theory is an exercise in both linguistic analysis and descriptive sociology (Hart 1994: vi). We explicate both ideas, arguing, in particular, that (1) Hart aims to give an essentialist analysis of law and legal systems (a point clearest in those who follow him like J. Raz, J. Dickson and [though less of a follower] S. Shapiro), and (2) we can make sense of the linking of linguistic (and conceptual) analysis and descriptive sociology if we understand "law" as a constructed bit of "social reality" in something like John Searle's sense. The ensuing methodological debates in legal philosophy can then be understood as arguing against either linguistic or conceptual analysis (naturalists like B. Leiter), or against the idea of a purely descriptive jurisprudence (in different ways, J. Finnis, S. Perry, M. Murphy, L. Murphy, R. Dworkin).

Alex Langlinais is a Graduate Student at University of Chicago.

Brian Leiter is Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Chicago.

New Book: "Global Political Philosophy"

Global Political Philosophy

by Mathias Risse

(Palgrave/MacMillan, 2012)

176 pages



This book focuses on normative questions that arise about globalization. Much social science research is devoted to exploring the political, legal, social and economic changes that occur all around us. This books offers an introductory treatment of the philosophical questions that arise about these changes.
Why would people have human rights? We will be looking at different answers to this question. Could there be a universal morality in the first place? This question captures a particular kind of skepticism that has also been applied to the human rights movement and needs to be addresses for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be intellectually credible. Ought there to be states? Perhaps there are more appropriate ways of organizing humanity politically. What does distributive justice require at the global level? The world in which we live is one of a striking inequality that challenges us to explore what a just world would look like. What does justice require of us with regard to climate change? We now live in a geological era sometimes called the Athropocene: it is human action that has the biggest impact on the future of all life. How should we think about fairness in trade? Trade, after all, ties people together around the world. And what does justice imply for immigration policy? Each of these questions is answered in its own chapter. Introductions to political philosophy normally focus mostly or entirely on domestic questions.

Contents [preview]


1: Universalism vs. Relativism [paper]
2: Human Rights
3: Why States?
4: Distributive Justice at the Global Level
5: Reparations for Past Injustice: Domestic and Global
6: Immigration
7: Fairness in Trade [paper]


Mathias Risse is Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He is the author of "On Global Justice" (Princeton University Press, 2012). Many of Mathias Risse's papers are available here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rainer Forst reviews Ronald Dworkin

In "Die Zeit" (October 25, 2012), Professor Rainer Forst reviews the German edition of "Justice For Hedgehogs" by Ronald Dworkin:

"Ein moderner Sokrates"

"Dworkins Buch zeigt meisterhaft, dass die Philosophie schlecht beraten ist, wenn sie die Eigenart der menschlichen Welt als eine normativ strukturierte übersieht oder szientistisch hinwegerklärt. Sie muss sich in den praktischen Dialog stellen, diesen aber reflexiv führen. Sie rekonstruiert die praktischen Rechtfertigungskontexte, in denen wir Gründe für Werturteile liefern müssen. Dabei aber stoßen wir auf eine Kontextdifferenz, die sich nicht in einer integrativen Igelsicht auflösen lässt. Die Verantwortung für das eigene Leben als etwas, das wert ist, gelebt zu werden, und die Verantwortung gegenüber dem Leben anderer sind auf vielfache Weise miteinander verbunden, aber sie folgen zwei unterschiedlichen Logiken. Vielleicht ist das der Preis, den Sokrates der Moderne entrichten muss, vielleicht hat aber der andere Igel recht, der meint, dass das schon immer wahr gewesen ist."

Rainer Forst is Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at Goethe University in Frankfurt, and director of the research cluster on the “Formation of Normative Orders.” His most recent book in English is "The Right to Justification" (Columbia University Press, 2011). See my posts on Rainer Forst and his book.

See also my previous posts on Ronald Dworkin's book:
* Justice For Hedgehogs (Belknap Press, 2011)
* Reviews of "Justice For Hedgehogs"
* Papers on "Justice For Hedgehogs"

Papers on Deepening Democracy

The most recent issue of "Polity" (October 2012) features papers on "Deepening Democracy". The papers are available online.

Among the papers are:

An Introduction [pdf]
Michael Goodhart

Human Rights-Based Approaches to Development: Concepts, Evidence, and Policy [pdf]
Varun Gauri and Siri Gloppen

Continuous Institutional Innovation and the Pragmatic Conception of Democracy [pdf]
Archon Fung

Participation, Representation, and Social Justice: Using Participatory Governance to Transform Representative Democracy [pdf]
Brian Wampler

Friday, October 26, 2012

John Rawls - Beyond the Welfare State

In "Boston Review":

"Beyond the Welfare State: Rawls’s Radical Vision for a Better America"

by Martin O’Neill & Thad Williamson

[.....] to treat Rawls simply as a defender of Democratic Party liberalism and the welfare state — as he is widely regarded — is to misread him. Rawls’s critique of contemporary capitalism — and the condition of democratic practice within American capitalism — runs much deeper. As he made especially clear in his late writings, he did not think that welfare-state capitalism could realize his theory of justice. The architecture of welfare-state capitalism, Rawls felt, enthroned the disproportionate political power of the rich and militated against a shared sense among citizens that they are bound in a common enterprise, which operates in accordance with fair rules and respects the basic interests of all.
Rawls argued that in a just society the political economy must be organized with an explicit aim of either sharing or else widely distributing wealth and capital. The sharing option corresponds to what Rawls termed “liberal socialism”: schemes of market socialism in which the bulk of capital is collectively owned, by one arrangement or another. The widely distributing option corresponds to “property-owning democracy”: a political-economic system aimed at distributing wealth and capital as widely as possible among citizens, while keeping it for the most part privately held.

Martin O'Neill is Lecturer in Moral and Political Philosophy in the Department of Politics at the University of York.

Thad Williamson is Associate Professor of Leadership Studies and Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law, University of Richmond.

See my previous post on Martin O’Neill & Thad Williamson's book: "Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond" (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) - with links to some of their papers.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Honneth speaks at NYU on October 26

On October 26, 2012, Professor Axel Honneth will give a lecture at the "Deutsches Haus" at the New York University:

"Realizing Freedom - An Ethical Concept of Democracy"

More information here.

Axel Honneth is Professor for the Humanities in the Department of Philosophy at Columbia University, and Professor of Social Philosophy, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. His most recent book is "Das Recht der Freiheit" (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2011). An English translation is coming out on Columbia University Press/Polity Press.

See two English reviews of Axel Honneth's book: here and here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Paper on Rawls & Habermas on Deliberation & Justification

Menachem Mautner has posted a new paper at SSRN:

"Religion in Politics: Rawls and Habermas on Deliberation and Justification"

John Rawls’s concept of public reason lumps together a selection of political activities (voting, deliberation, decision-making) and a set of political institutions (legislatures, courts), without sufficiently distinguishing between them or identifying the distinct normative considerations that are relevant to each. Moreover, Rawls’s concept of public reason is very ambiguous. This over-inclusiveness and ambiguity of the concept has spilled over to much of the lively discussion of Rawls’s political liberalism.

I elucidate Rawls’s concept of public reason by recasting it in terms of two major concepts that are relevant to our understanding of the political: deliberation and justification. I argue that Rawls’s public reason should be read as having to do with justification rather than deliberation, and that Jurgen Habermas’s position on public reason is superior to that of Rawls in that it is premised on a clear distinction between deliberation and justification. However, some of Habermas’s critiques of Rawls are unjustified, and there is a contradiction in Habermas’s position.

I also argue that Habermas’s and Rawls’s positions epitomize “the anthropologization of politics” that follows from the substitution of the nation-state paradigm by the multicultural paradigm of the state. The rise of the multicultural paradigm also occasions “the anthropologization of courts”: liberal courts intervening in the cultural practices of non-liberal groups need to support their rulings with justifications internal to those groups, including justifications borrowed from the human rights doctrine.

Menachem Mautner is Professor of Comparative Civil Law and Jurisprudence at the Tel Aviv University.

New Book: Beyond Habermas - Democracy, Knowledge, and the Public Sphere

Beyond Habermas
Democracy, Knowledge, and the Public Sphere

Ed. by Christian J. Emden & David Midgley

(Berghahn Books, 2012)

248 pages


During the 1960s the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas introduced the notion of a “bourgeois public sphere” in order to describe the symbolic arena of political life and conversation that originated with the cultural institutions of the early eighteenth-century; since then the “public sphere” itself has become perhaps one of the most debated concepts at the very heart of modernity. For Habermas, the tension between the administrative power of the state, with its understanding of sovereignty, and the emerging institutions of the bourgeoisie — coffee houses, periodicals, encyclopedias, literary culture, etc. — was seen as being mediated by the public sphere, making it a symbolic site of public reasoning. This volume examines whether the “public sphere” remains a central explanatory model in the social sciences, political theory, and the humanities.


Introduction - Christian J. Emden & David Midgley

Part I: Public Opinion in the Democratic Polity

1. Public Sphere and Political Experience - Richard Wilson
2. Public Opinion and Public Sphere - Gordon Graham
3. The Tyranny of Majority Opinion in the Public Sphere - Gary Wihl

Part II: Knowledge and the Public Sphere

4. Epistemic Publics - Christian J. Emden
5. The Public in Public Health - Anne Hardy
6. Geeks and Recursive Publics - Christopher Kelty 

Part III: Democracy, Philosophy, and Global Publics

7. Mediating the Public Sphere - Georgina Born
8. Critique of Public Reason - Steven G. Crowell
9. On the Global Multiplicity of Public Spheres - James Tully

Christian J. Emden is Associate Professor of German Intellectual History and Political Thought at Rice University. 

David Midgley is Reader in German Literature and Culture at the University of Cambridge.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

G.A. Cohen: Finding Oneself in the Other

Finding Oneself in the Other

by G. A. Cohen

Edited by Michael Otsuka

(Princeton University Press, October 2012)

240 pages



This is the second of three volumes of posthumously collected writings of G. A. Cohen, who was one of the leading, and most progressive, figures in contemporary political philosophy. This volume brings together some of Cohen's most personal philosophical and nonphilosophical essays, many of them previously unpublished. Rich in first-person narration, insight, and humor, these pieces vividly demonstrate why Thomas Nagel described Cohen as a "wonderful raconteur."
The nonphilosophical highlight of the book is Cohen's remarkable account of his first trip to India, which includes unforgettable vignettes of encounters with strangers and reflections on poverty and begging. Other biographical pieces include his valedictory lecture at Oxford, in which he describes his philosophical development and offers his impressions of other philosophers, and "Isaiah's Marx, and Mine," a tribute to his mentor Isaiah Berlin. Other essays address such topics as the truth in "small-c conservatism," who can and can't condemn terrorists, and the essence of bullshit. A recurring theme is finding completion in relation to the world of other human beings. Engaging, perceptive, and empathetic, these writings reveal a more personal side of one of the most influential philosophers of our time.


Editor's Preface [pdf]

1. Isaiah's Marx, and Mine
2. Prague Preamble to "Why Not Socialism?"
3. A Black and White Issue
4. Two Weeks in India
5. Complete Bullshit
6. Casting the First Stone: Who Can, and Who Can't, Condemn the Terrorists?
7. Ways of Silencing Critics
8. Rescuing Conservatism: A Defense of Existing Value [paper]
9. Valedictory Lecture: My Philosophical Development [audio]
10. Notes on Regarding People as Equals
11. One Kind of Spirituality: Come Back, Feuerbach, All Is Forgiven!

See some of my previous posts on G.A. Cohen:
* "On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice" (book with selected essays, 2011)
* Conference in 2009 in honour of G.A. Cohen (including an audio with Cohen reading poems)
* Memorial Conference in Canada 2009.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review: Nicholas Southwood on Deliberative Contractualism

At "Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews", Kevin Vallier reviews "Contractualism and the Foundations of Morality" (Oxford University Press, 2010) by Nicholas Southwood:

Review of "Contractualism and the Foundations of Morality"

Southwood tells us: "The central thesis of deliberative contractualism is that morality's foundations are to be located in facts about hypothetical, deliberatively rational agreements regarding the terms upon which we are to be permitted, forbidden, and required to conduct ourselves toward others."
Readers who detect Habermasian elements in this claim are right to do so, for Southwood acknowledges "important affinities" with Habermas and other deliberative democrats. Indeed, the book can be read as an attempt to apply the justificatory structure of deliberative democracy to contractualist moral theory.

Kevin Vallier is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University.

See my previous post on Nicholas Southwood's book here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Habermas on the Nobel Peace Prize

Jürgen Habermas has published a comment on the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the European Union:

"Oslo’s call to Europe"
(at "PressEurop", originally published in "La Repubblica", October 13, 2012)

"At the hour of the greatest crisis in its history the European Union has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Among its reasons, the Nobel Committee congratulates the Union for having "helped transform Europe from a continent at war to a continent at peace."
Certainly, it would be difficult to imagine other reasons for giving out a Nobel Peace Prize. However, it’s the circumstances of the current crisis that shed light on the significance of giving this Nobel to the European Union, or more precisely the repercussions such a decision may have on the current state of the Union.
I interpret the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU at the moment when the Union has never been weaker as a petition directed at the European political elites – those same elites who, as we all see, are conducting themselves in the crisis today with neither courage nor vision.
The Nobel Peace Prize makes it clear to the governments that are presently steering the eurozone countries that they must step out from their own shadow and so move the European project forward."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Book: "On Global Justice" by Mathias Risse

On Global Justice

by Mathias Risse

(Princeton University Press, 2012)



Debates about global justice have traditionally fallen into two camps. Statists believe that principles of justice can only be held among those who share a state. Those who fall outside this realm are merely owed charity. Cosmopolitans, on the other hand, believe that justice applies equally among all human beings. On Global Justice shifts the terms of this debate and shows how both views are unsatisfactory. Stressing humanity's collective ownership of the earth, Mathias Risse offers a new theory of global distributive justice - what he calls pluralist internationalism - where in different contexts, different principles of justice apply.

Contents [preview]

Part 1: Shared Citizenship and Common Humanity

1: The Grounds of Justice [pdf]
2: "Un Pouvoir Ordinaire": Shared Membership in a State as a Ground of Justice
3: Internationalism versus Statism and Globalism: Contemporary Debates
4: What Follows from Our Common Humanity? The Institutional Stance, Human Rights, and Nonrelationism

Part 2: Common Ownership of the Earth

5: Hugo Grotius Revisited: Collective Ownership of the Earth and Global Public Reason
6: "Our Sole Habitation": A Contemporary Approach to Collective Ownership of the Earth
7: Toward a Contingent Derivation of Human Rights
8: Proportionate Use: Immigration and Original Ownership of the Earth
9: "But the Earth Abideth For Ever": Obligations to Future Generations
10: Climate Change and Ownership of the Atmosphere

Part 3: International Political and Economic Structures

11: Human Rights as Membership Rights in the Global Order [paper]
12: Arguing for Human Rights: Essential Pharmaceuticals
13: Arguing for Human Rights: Labor Rights as Human Rights
14: Justice and Trade

Part 4: Global Justice and Institutions

15: The Way We Live Now
16: "Imagine There's No Countries": A Reply to John Lennon [paper]
17: Justice and Accountability: The State
18: Justice and Accountability: The World Trade Organization

Mathias Risse is Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Many of Mathias Risse's papers are available here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Claus Offe on the Theodor Eschenburg Prize

On September 27, 2012, Professor Claus Offe received the Theodor Eschenburg Prize from the German Association of Political Science.

Here is Offe's acceptance speech: "Rede anlässlich der Annahme des DVPW-Preises" [pdf]

Claus Offe teaches Political Sociology at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin.

See also my post on the symposium on Claus Offe in March 2012, with lectures by Jürgen Habermas, Stephen Holmes, Ulrich K. Preuss, Philippe Schmitter, and Wolfgang Streeck.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Erik O. Eriksen on Habermas's book on Europe

At "Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews", Erik O. Eriksen reviews "The Crisis of the European Union" (Polity Press, 2012) by Jürgen Habermas:

Review of "The Crisis of the European Union"

"In the present book Jürgen Habermas reconstructs the basis for the legitimacy of a democratic European Union (EU), an entity that while not a state is still more than an international organization. The EU does not fit with the conventional categories of public and international law. The immediate backdrop for the book is the financial crisis and how the "troika" -- the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) -- has handled the problems of the Eurozone. In its struggle with global financial markets the EU has lapsed into old-fashioned power politics and dictated conditions for the insolvent members of the zone. An appendix reprints some of Habermas' recent political interventions, where he accuses Europe's political leaders of inapt action and putting the whole integration project at risk."

Erik O. Eriksen is Professor of Political Science at Oslo University and Director of ARENA Centre for European Studies. He is co-author with Jarle Weigard of "Understanding Habermas: Communicative Action and Deliberative Democracy" (Continuum, 2003), and author of "The Unfinished Democratization of Europe" (Oxford University Press, 2009).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Habermas's talk at "Deutscher Juristentag" 2012

Jürgen Habermas's talk at the 69th "Deutscher Juristentag" is published in "Süddeutsche Zeitung", September 22, 2012:

"Heraus aus dem Teufelskreis" 
[not yet available online]

"Heute stellen uns ökonomische Zwänge vor die Alternative, entweder mit der Preisgabe der gemeinsamen Währung das Nachkriegsprojekt der europäischen Einigung irreparabel zu beschädigen, oder die Politische Union – zunächst in der Euro-Zone – soweit zu vertiefen, dass Transfers über nationale Grenzen hinweg demokratisch legitimiert werden können. Man kann das eine nicht vermeiden, ohne das andere zu wollen." 

At the bi-annual conference - arranged by the Association of German Jurists - Jürgen Habermas discussed the EU crisis with Luc Frieden (Minister of Finance, Luxembourg), Vassilios Skouris (President of the European Court of Justice), and Andreas Voßkuhle (President of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany). See the programme here (pdf).

See reports from the conference:
* "Badische Zeitung
* "Die Tageszeitung"
* "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung"
* "Die Welt"

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bruce Robbins on Habermas's Book on the EU Crisis

In "Los Angeles Review of Books" (September 20, 2012), Bruce Robbins reviews "The Crisis of the European Union" (Polity Press, 2012) by Jürgen Habermas:

"Europe on the Brink: Habermas and the Currency Crisis"

For Habermas, “Europe” is a good idea that has fallen into the wrong hands. It’s time for the people to take the idea back from the bankers. The politics that matters now is less a demand for more democracy within the nation, where it takes familiar forms, than a demand for democracy beyond the nation, where it remains to be invented.  
This sounds pretty good. But is Habermas really ready to push for it? When he speaks of “politics,” what he often seems to mean is laws. A law is a principle that’s been agreed on. Politics aims at agreement and sometimes gets there, but at its heart is its “in the meanwhile”: an ongoing process of disagreement.
You can see the virtues of Habermas’s respect for law in his famous slogan “constitutional patriotism.” Anti-cosmopolitans argue that real solidarity will never emerge except from ethnic, religious, and national sameness. Habermas insists that people don’t need as much sameness as they think in order to feel solidarity with each other. Beyond ethnic or religious or national identity (the sort of thing that leads to intolerance and war), powerful loyalties can also get attached to the constitution as a guarantee of the equal rights of all. But Habermas’s faith in law has a disadvantage, and it’s a big one. It discourages political struggle based on fundamental differences of perspective and interest. And it’s only serious, long-term political struggle of this sort that could ever make transnational economic solidarity into a reality.

Bruce Robbins is Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University.

See my previous posts on Jürgen Habermas's book here (German edition), here (English edition), and here (reviews).

Monday, September 17, 2012

New Book: Political Philosophy in the Twenty-First Century

Political Philosophy in the Twenty-First Century
Essential Essays

ed. by Steven M. Cahn & Robert B. Talisse

(Westview Press, September 2012)

304 pages


Moving beyond the work of Rawls and his critics, this concise collection contains critical essays in contemporary political philosophy. All have been chosen for their importance and accessibility, and some have been edited by their authors for inclusion in this work. The book covers five main topics: equality, justice, liberty, democracy, and human rights. To assist readers, the editors have also provided section introduction and study questions as well as an overall introduction explaining the background to contemporary work in political philosophy. Beginning where most other anthologies in political philosophy conclude, this book can be used alone or in conjunction with any collection of historical sources.


I. Equality
1. Ronald Dworkin, “Equality”
2. Elizabeth Anderson, “Democratic Equality”
3. Kok Chor Tan, “A Defense of Luck Egalitarianism" [preview]

II. Justice
4. G. A. Cohen “Rescuing Justice and Equality”
5. David Miller, “Justice and Boundaries” [abstract]
6. Amartya Sen, “Capabilities and Resources”

III. Liberty
7. Philip Pettit, “The Instability of Freedom as Non-Interference
8. John Christman, “Can Positive Freedom be Saved”
9. Ian Carter, “The Myth of ‘Merely Formal Freedom’” [preview]

IV. Democracy
10. Richard Arneson, “Democracy is not Intrinsically Just” [pdf]
11. Thomas Christiano, “The Authority of Democracy” [pdf]
12. Joshua Cohen, “Reflections on Deliberative Democracy”

V. Human Rights
13. Onora O’Neill “The Dark Side of Human Rights” [pdf]
14. Thomas Pogge, “World Poverty and Human Rights”
15. Martha Nussbaum, “Capabilities and Social Justice” [abstract]

Steven M. Cahn is Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

Robert B. Talisse is Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.