David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Continental Philosophy Review 34 (3):321-338 (2001)
Identifying self-empowerment as the normative core of the liberal democratic project, Habermas proceeds to dilute the revolutionary character of that project. After describing Habermas' views about legitimation problems in the West, the author examines critically Habermas' claim that democratic practices of self-empowerment must be self-limiting, arguing that under some circumstances (which cannot be specified in advance), more radical forms of self-empowerment may be justified. The author also argues that Habermas' own acknowledgement of the revolutionary character of liberal democracy, along with his criticisms of the manifestly unconstitutional circulation of power which characterizes existing liberal democratic states, may themselves provide the basis for a more radical conception of self-empowerment than Habermas will currently allow.
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