Saturday, April 27, 2013

Habermas - "Democracy, Solidarity, and the European Crisis" (video)

Video of the Leuven Conference of Professor Jürgen Habermas, April 26, 2013:

Habermas - "Democracy, Solidarity, and the European Crisis"

See the papers here:
- Herman Van Rompuy's introductory speech
- Jürgen Habermas's lecture

Van Rompuy's introductory speech to Habermas

Herman Van Rompuy's introductory speech to the Leuven Conference of Professor Jürgen Habermas on April 26, 2013:

"Introductory Speech" [pdf]


"... I was so pleased to have the opportunity to meet you in my current capacity, last September. You came to me, with one main question – a crucial one. You had been following closely the political response to the crisis, regularly commenting on it, and you wanted to know: "Are European leaders aware that they face historic choices today?"
My answer to you then was (and still is): Yes they do. Maybe not all leaders were fully aware of their role all-of-the-time, and each had his own concerns, but jointly they were (and still are) capable of taking big decisions, which later will be seen as of historical importance. [......]

You also told me how you worried about countries tempted to go it alone, including your own country Germany. What left me the most lasting impression was the emotion you shared when talking about your country. I could suddenly see you as young man, aged fifteen when the Second World War ended, and a life from then on dedicated to a cause. To bring more ethics into politics…
This deep motif was bound to bring Europe on your path. For no country more than for your own, has Europe been such a source of redemption. A new beginning, a promise. For me also, it has been the most inspiring idea. Reconciliation and togetherness. From "us versus they" to "You and me". Ich und Du."

Herman Van Rompuy is President of the European Council.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Habermas's lecture on European Union (Leuven, April 2013)

On April 26, 2013, Jürgen Habermas talked in Leuven, Belgium, on the European Crisis. The lecture is available here:

"Democracy, Solidarity, and the European Crisis"

"....the German government holds the key to the fate of the European Union in its hand. If there is one government among the member states capable of taking the initiative to revise the treaties then it is the German government. [.....] In the wake of the shock of the defeat of 1945 and the moral catastrophe of the Holocaust, prudential reasons of regaining the international reputation destroyed by its own actions already made it imperative for the Federal Republic of Germany to promote an alliance with France and to pursue European unification. In addition, being embedded in a context of neighboring European countries under the hegemonic protection of the United States provided the context in which the German population at large could develop a liberal self-understanding for the first time. This arduous transformation of a political mentality, which in the old Federal Republic remained captive to fateful continuities for decades, can not be taken for granted. That shift in mindset occurred in tandem with a cautiously cooperative promotion of European unification. Moreover, the success of this policy was an important precondition for solving a more long-standing historical problem that I am concerned with in the first place.
After the foundation of the German Empire in 1871, Germany assumed a fatal “semi-hegemonic status” in Europe — in Ludwig Dehios’s words, it was “too weak to dominate the continent, but too strong to bring itself into line”. It is in Germany's interest to avoid a revival of this dilemma that was overcome only thanks to European unification. This is why the European question, which has been intensified by the crisis, also involves a domestic political challenge for Germans. The leadership role that falls to Germany today for demographic and economic reasons is not only awakening historical ghosts all around us but also tempts us to choose a unilateral national course, or even to succumb to power fantasies of a “German Europe” instead of a “Germany in Europe”. We Germans should have learned from the catastrophes of the first half of the twentieth century that it is in our national interest to avoid permanently the dilemma of a semi-hegemonic status that can hardly held up without sliding into conflicts. Helmut Kohl’s achievement is not the reunification and the reestablishment of a certain national normality per se, but the fact that this happy event was coupled with the consistent promotion of a policy that binds Germany tightly into Europe."

See my previous post on the event here.

See also Herman Van Rompuy's introductory speech to Habermas.

See a short video from the event here.

And a video of Van Rompuy's introduction and Jürgen Habermas's lecture here.

New papers by Richard Arneson on Egalitarianism and Justice

Richard J. Arneson has updated his entry on "Egalitarianism" in "Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy".

See also four new papers by Arneson:
* "Rethinking Luck Egalitarianism and Unacceptable Inequalities" [pdf] (2013)
* "From Primary Goods to Capabilities to Well-Being" [pdf] (2013)
* "Theories, Types, and Bounds of Justice" [pdf] (2012)
* "Justice" [pdf] (2012)

Richard J. Arneson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Does Deliberative Democracy Need Deliberative Democrats?

In the new issue of "Contemporary Political Theory" (May 2013):

"Does deliberative democracy need deliberative democrats?" [pdf]
Revisiting Habermas’ defence of discourse ethics

by Nick O'Donovan

"Many political theorists today appeal to, or assume the existence of, a political culture in which the public values of Western liberal democracies are embedded – a political culture that is necessary to render their ideas plausible and their proposals feasible. This article contrasts this approach with the more ambitious arguments advanced by Jürgen Habermas in his original account of discourse ethics – a moral theory to which, he supposed, all human beings were demonstrably and ineluctably bound by the communicative constitution of collective life. Although these arguments have been largely discredited, I argue that Habermas’ analysis can be enlisted in defence of a weaker claim: namely, that principled commitment to discussion is not always necessary for genuine deliberative engagement to occur. As a result, there may be hope for democratic deliberation in contexts where a liberal democratic political culture is lacking."

See also three recent papers by Nick O'Donovan here.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Neues Buch: "Immanente Kritik"

Immanente Kritik
Elemente einer Theorie sozialer Praktiken

von Titus Stahl

(Campus Verlag, 2013)

475 S.



Wenn wir Kritik an unserer Gesellschaft üben wollen, auf welche Normen können wir uns stützen? Nur auf moralische Argumente, die wir von außen an sie herantragen? Eine Alternative zu "externen" Herangehensweisen bietet die Methode der "immanenten Kritik", die Normen mobilisiert, die bereits in einer Gesellschaft zu finden sind. Obwohl sich die Tradition der Kritischen Theorie dieser Kritikform verpflichtet fühlt, sind ihre Grundlagen bisher nie geklärt worden. Die Studie erläutert die Möglichkeit immanenter Kritik unter Rückgriff auf aktuelle Theorien kollektiven Handelns und sozialer Praktiken. Titus Stahl entwickelt ein Modell der Kritik, das die Potenziale herausstellt, die in alltäglichen Formen wechselseitiger Anerkennung existieren.


Einleitung [pdf]

Teil I: Von der immanenten Kritik zur Sozialontologie

1. Gesellschaftskritik
2. Interpretation und immanente Kritik
3. Kritische Theorie der Gesellschaft und immanente Kritik

Teil II: Die sozialontologischen Voraussetzungen immanenter Kritik

4. Kollektive Intentionalität
5. Die immanenten Normen sozialer Praxis

Teil III: Von der Sozialontologie zur immanenten Kritik

6. Die Möglichkeit immanenter Kritik
7. Immanente Kritik
8. Verdinglichungskritik

Schluss: Sozialer Konflikt und soziale Hoffnung

Titus Stahl, Dr. phil., ist akademischer Rat a.Z., Institut für Philosophie, Göethe Universität Frankfurt am Main.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Critical Republicanism: Habermas & Mouffe

Forthcoming in "Contemporary Political Theory":

"Critical Republicanism: Jürgen Habermas and Chantal Mouffe" [pdf]
by Gulshan Khan

"Jürgen Habermas’s theory of ‘discourse ethics’ has been an important source of inspiration for theories of deliberative democracy and is typically contrasted with agonistic conceptions of democracy represented by theorists such as Chantal Mouffe. In this article I show that this contrast is overstated. By focusing on the different philosophical traditions that underpin Mouffe’s and Habermas’s respective approaches, commentators have generally overlooked the political similarities between these thinkers. I examine Habermas’s and Mouffe’s respective conceptions of democratic politics and argue that they cannot be so neatly distinguished from each other. I show that much of Mouffe’s criticism of Habermas’s theory does not hold up to careful scrutiny, and discourse ethics shares important points of similarity with her own democratic theory. By using critical republican theory to show the similarities in their work, I push beyond the agonistic versus deliberative debate, and show that at the heart of both of these approaches is a critical republican emphasis on the need for civic solidarity, on the constructive role of conflict in democratic politics and on the vital importance of self-government. These are crucial ingredients for the regeneration of democracy in contemporary pluralistic societies."

Gulshan Khan is Lecturer at the School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Van Parijs & Offe on "Social Justice in the European Union"

Philippe Van Parijs delivered a lecture at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin on April 3:

"Social Justice in the European Union: Four Views" (video, 50 minutes)

Commentary by Claus Offe and discussion: Video (45 minutes)

Philippe Van Parijs is Professor at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium.

See Philippe Van Parijs's discussion with John Rawls on Rawls's "The Law of Peoples" here: "Three letters on The Law of Peoples and the European Union" [pdf].

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

New Book: Kant on Practical Justification

Kant on Practical Justification

Ed. by Mark Timmons and Sorin Baiasu

(Oxford University Press, 2013)

400 pages



This volume of new essays provides a comprehensive and structured examination of Kantian accounts of practical justification. This examination serves as a starting point for a focused investigation of the Kantian approach to justification in practical disciplines (ethics, legal and political philosophy or philosophy of religion). The recent growth of literature on this subject is not surprising given that Kant's approach seems so promising: he claims to be able to justify unconditional normative claims without recourse to assumptions, views or doctrines, which are not in their turn justifiable. Within the context of modern pluralism, this is exactly what the field needs: an approach which can demonstrably show why certain normative claims are valid, and why the grounds of these claims are valid in their turn, and why the freedom to question them should not be stifled. Although this has been a growth area in philosophy, no systematic and sustained study of the topic of practical justification in Kantian philosophy has been undertaken so far.

Contents [preview]

Introduction - Sorin Baiasu

1. Kant's Rechtfertigung and the Epistemic Nature of Practical Justification - Sorin Baiasu
2. Why Ought Implies Can - Sebastian Rödl
3. Kant on Practical Reason - Allen Wood
4. Constructing Practical Justification - Larry Krasnoff
5. Anthropology and Metaphysics in Kant's Categorical Imperative of Law - Otfried Höffe
6. Kant, Moral Obligation and the Holy Will - Robert Stern
7. Is Practical Justification in Kant Ultimately Dogmatic? - Karl Ameriks
8. Constructivism and Self-constitution - Paul Guyer
9. Formal Approaches to Kant's Formula of Humanity - Andrews Reath
10. Kant's Grounding Project in the Doctrine of Virtue - Houston Smit & Mark Timmons
11. Kant and Libertarianism [abstract] - Howard Williams
12. Kant's Practical Justification of Freedom - Henry E. Allison
13. The Place of Kant's Theism in His Moral Philosophy - John Hare
14. Freedom, Temporality and Belief - A. W. Moore

Several of the essays are based on papers presented at the UK Kant Society Annual Conference in 2007.

Mark Timmons is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona. He is the author of "Morality without Foundations" (Oxford University Press, 1999).

Sorin Baiasu is Reader in Philosophy at Keele University.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

John Tomasi in Copenhagen April 9

Professor John Tomasi will speak on his recent book "Free Market Fairness" at a meeting in Copenhagen April 9.

More information here.

He will also speak at an arrangement at the Faculty of Law, Copenhagen University. See here.

See my post on John Tomasi and his book here (with links to lectures and book reviews).

John Tomasi is a Professor of Political Science at Brown University. He is the author of "Liberalism Beyond Justice: Citizens, Society and the Boundaries of Political Theory" (Princeton University Press, 2001) and ""Free Market Fairness" (Princeton University Press, 2012).

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Paper on Political vs. Justificatory Liberalism

Enzo Rossi has posted a new paper at SSRN:

"Legitimacy, Democracy and Public Justification: Rawls’ Political Liberalism vs Gaus’ Justificatory Liberalism"
[forthcoming in "Res Publica"]

"Public justification-based accounts of liberal legitimacy rely on the idea that a polity’s basic structure should, in some sense, be acceptable to its citizens. In this paper I discuss the prospects of that approach through the lens of Gerald Gaus’ critique of John Rawls’ paradigmatic account of democratic public justification. I argue that Gaus does succeed in pointing out some significant problems for Rawls’ political liberalism; yet his alternative, justificatory liberalism, is not voluntaristic enough to satisfy the desiderata of a genuinely democratic theory of public justification. Moreover I contend that — pace Gaus — rather than simply amending political liberalism, the claims of justificatory liberalism cast serious doubts on the sustainability of the project of grounding liberal-democratic legitimacy through the idea of public justification."

Enzo Rossi is Senior Research Fellow in Social Philosophy at the University of Wales, Newport.

Axel Honneth in Beijing

Axel Honneth will give three lectures in Beijing April 1-2, 2013.

Honneth will also receive an honorary professor title at the Faculty of Philosophy, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

More information here.

See a report on Honneth's visit to China here:
"Freiheit, Gerechtigkeit und Anerkennung: Axel Honneth in Beijing".