Like Frege's distinction of sense and force in semantics, the central distinction of pragmatics is that between perlocutions and illocutions. All speech acts theorists offer a version of this distinction, including Habermas in his theory of communicative action. However, whether or not there is such a distinction at all remains an essentially disputed issue. In this paper I consider the importance of this distinction for analyzing both ideology and rhetoric, but in particular for analyzing one species of rhetorical speech for (...) the purpose of changing beliefs, that engaged in by the social critic. To make these substantive points, I must first consider important recent criticisms of Habermas's distinction, especially those of Erling Skjei and Allen Wood. While I agree with the core of both criticisms, I still think the distinction can be made along the lines that Strawson proposed. I argue that there is not a completely disjunctive, mutually exclusive set of properties defining each type of speech act. There are, and must be, overlapping, nontrivial features common to both. These common features are in fact crucial to the analysis of the sort of speech engaged in by social critics and emancipators. To show this, I argue for the existence of an intermediate class that I call "communicative perlocutions." This class, in turn, overcomes the traditional, Platonic enmity to rhetoric which ought not be imported unquestioned into the philosophy of language or the justification of rational social criticism. (shrink)
It is often assumed that democracies can make good use of the epistemic benefi ts of diversity among their citizenry, but difficult to show why this is the case. In a deliberative democracy, epistemically relevant diversity has three aspects: the diversity of opinions, values, and perspectives. Deliberative democrats generally argue for an epistemic form of Rawls' difference principle: that good deliberative practice ought to maximize deliberative inputs, whatever they are, so as to benefi t all deliberators, including the least eff (...) ective. The proper maximandum of such a principle is not the pool of reasons, but rather the availability of perspectives. Th is sort of diversity makes robustness across different perspectives the proper epistemic aim of deliberative processes. Robustness also offers a measure of success for those democratic practices of inquiry based on the deliberation of all citizens. (shrink)
A hallmark of recent critical social science has been the commitment to methodological and theoretical pluralism. Habermas and others have argued that diverse theoretical and empirical approaches are needed to support informed social criticism. However, an unresolved tension remains in the epistemology of critical social science: the tension between the epistemic advantages of a single comprehensive theoretical framework and those of methodological and theoretical pluralism. By shifting the grounds of the debate in a way suggested by Dewey's pragmatism, the author (...) argues that a thoroughgoing pluralism strengthens, rather than weakens, both the social scientific and political aims of critical social science. Not only does pragmatism offer a plausible interpretation of the epistemic pluralism of the social sciences, but it also provides a way of thinking about their fundamentally practical and political character. With a better normative vocabulary with which to discuss the epistemological issues of such a pluralistic mode of inquiry, the democratic role of critical inquiry and its specifically practical form of verification can be clarified. (shrink)
My goal here is to come to terms with the Enlightenment as the horizon of critical social science. First, I consider in more detail the understanding of the Enlightenment in Critical Theory, particularly in its conception of the sociality of reason. Second, I develop an account of freedom in terms of human powers, along the lines of recent capability conceptions that link freedom to the development of human powers, including the power to interpret and create norms. Finally, I show the (...) ways in which the social sciences can be moral sciences in the Enlightenment sense. This account provides us with a coherent Enlightenment standard by which to judge institutions as promoting development, understood in terms of the capabilities necessary for freedom. The relevant social science in this area might include the robust generalization that there has never been a famine in a democratic society. (shrink)
Political liberals now defend what Rawls calls the "inclusive view" of public reason with the appropriate ideal of reasonable pluralism. Against the application of such a liberal conception of toleration to deliberative democracy "the open view of toleration is with no constraints" is the only regime of toleration that can be democratically justified. Recent debates about the public or nonpublic character of religious reasons provide a good test case and show why liberal deliberative theories are intolerant and fail to live (...) up to democratic obligations to provide justifications to all members of the deliberative community. In a deliberative democracy, accommodations to religious minorities must be based on transformations in the current reflective equilibrium among the norms that make up the complex democratic ideal. This is not merely a conceptual enterprise of commensuration, since the need for any such transformation in standards of justification is due to changes in the nature of the polity itself, changes that in turn modify its regime of toleration. (shrink)
Deliberative democracy defends an ideal of equality as political efficacy. Jorge Valadez offers a defense of such an ideal given cultural pluralism of ethnopolitical groups. He develops an epistemological account of the fact of pluralism as entailing incommensurable conceptual frameworks. While his account goes a long way towards identifying the problems with neutrality and many other liberal solutions to the problem of pluralism, it is still too liberal in certain ways. First, he draws the limits of deliberation and political inclusion (...) too narrowly, giving little role for the toleration of non-liberal groups and too great a role to autonomy in deliberation. Second, incommensurability overemphasizes the theoretical nature of cultural conflicts and the need for background agreements on certain political values and thus also underappreciates practical solutions that leave disagreements intact. Finally, the contemporary fact of pluralism is not limited to relations among distinct cultures in this way, but is far more multidimensional, given multiple political memberships and the mutual interdependence and intense interaction among widely dispersed groups. Key Words: cosmopolitanism deliberation democracy pluralism toleration. (shrink)
With her conception of epistemic injustice, Miranda Fricker has opened up new normative dimensions for epistemology; that is, the injustice of denying one?s status as a knower. While her analysis of the remedies for such injustices focuses on the epistemic virtues of agents, I argue for the normative superiority of adapting a broadly republican conception of epistemic injustice. This argument for a republican epistemology has three steps. First, I focus on methodological and explanatory issues of identifying epistemic injustice and argue, (...) against Fricker, that identity prejudice fails to provide a sufficient explanatory basis for the spread and maintenance of such systematic epistemic injustice. Second, this systemic basis can be found not so much in the psychological attitudes of individual knowers, but in the relations of domination among groups and individuals in a society. Third, if such a presence of domination plays a primary explanatory role in all forms of epistemic injustice, it is likely that those who suffer from epistemic injustice will also suffer other forms of injustice and loss of status via the exercise of other forms of power and exclusion. (shrink)
This article defends methodological and theoretical pluralism in the social sciences. While pluralistic, such a philosophy of social science is both pragmatic and normative. Only by facing the problems of such pluralism, including how to resolve the potential conflicts between various methods and theories, is it possible to discover appropriate criteria of adequacy for social scientific explanations and interpretations. So conceived, the social sciences do not give us fixed and universal features of the social world, but rather contribute to the (...) task of improving upon our practical knowledge of on-going social life. After arguing for such a thorough-going pluralism based on the indeterminacy of social action, I defend it from the post-modern and hermeneutic objections by suggesting the possibility of an epistemology of interpretive social science as a form of practical knowledge. (shrink)
The practice of confessing one's sexual sins has historically provided boys and men with mixed messages. Engaging in coercive sex is publicly condemned; yet it is treated as not significantly different from other transgressions that can be easily forgiven. We compare Catholic confessional practices to those of psychoanalytically oriented male writers on masculinity. We argue that the latter is no more justifiable than the former, and propose a progressive confessional mode for discussing male sexuality.
The author of this paper compares Kant’s notion of cosmopolitan right with contemporary liberal cosmopolitanism of such theorists like JamesBohman (Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University) and David Held (Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science). These two theorists bring Kant’s cosmopolitan right and reshape it by taking into consideration the process of globalization and the fact of pluralism. It is necessary to investigate how far these authors have changed the insight into Kant’s (...) cosmopolitan right and its implications as well as how deeply the authors reshape the classical liberal political vocabulary. (shrink)
Presentazione del curatore italiano (C.Corradetti): È possibile conciliare il pluralismo culturale con la dimensione pubblica della deliberazione? Partendo dall’analisi critica di Rawls e Habermas, JamesBohman offre una risposta innovativa alla questione dell’accordo democratico. In tale proposta, parallelamente al rigetto di soluzioni meramente strategiche, viene riabilitata la nozione di compromesso morale nel quadro di un accordo normativo. Mantenendo fede ad una prospettiva composta da elementi normativi e fattuali, l’autore si propone di ampliare le opportunità democratiche nella riconciliazione tra (...) conflitti culturali profondi propri delle società contemporanee. L’elemento civico partecipativo risulta essere dunque una componente essenziale per la produzione di una sfera pubblica vibrante. Ne emerge una ricostruzione convincente volta non solo a respingere le critiche degli scettici sulle reali possibilità d’inclusività democratica, ma diretta soprattutto a suggerire un più efficace modello deliberativo per la garanzia della stabilità sociale. Questo testo è diventato ormai un riferimento internazionale classico nella discussione sul tema della deliberazione pubblica. L’autore ha inoltre sviluppato in ambito post-nazionale il suo modello deliberativo senza tuttavia ridiscutere i fondamenti concettuali della sua proposta teorica qui enunciati.Vista la rilevanza del tema e considerata la centralità del testo proposto, sembrerebbe dunque auspicabile rendere il testo disponibile anche al lettore italiano. (shrink)
JamesBohman has succeeded in reinvigorating the old debate over explanation and understanding by situating it within contemporary discussions about sociological indeterminacy and complexity. I argue that Bohman's preference for a paradigm based on Habermas's theory of communicative action is justifiable given the explanatory deficiencies of ethnomethodological, rational choice, rule-based, and functionalist methodologies. Yet I do not share his belief that the paradigm is preferable to less formalized models of interpretation.
In recent writings, both John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas address how to ensure that all reasonable citizens have the capacity to live a good life when there exist in modern society a wide variety of competing conceptions thereof. Yet, according to JamesBohman, both thinkers in fact fail to resolve this “dilemma of the good.” He offers a deliberative conception of democracy intended to make up for their shortcomings. I argue, however, that Bohman’s conception covertly relies upon (...) moderately perfectionist values that cause him to fall prey to what Bert van den Brink calls the “tragic predicament” of liberalism: he cannot articulate howa resolution to the dilemma of the good can (seem to) be achieved without defending ideals that let some doctrines of the good life appear more worthy of state promotion than others. But far from undermining Bohman’s conception, explicit acknowledgement of his moderate perfectionism can, ironically, serve to strengthen it. (shrink)
rgen Habermas' response to the European Union democratic deficit calls for a minimal threshold of democratic legislation through an explicit constitutional founding. He defends a model of freedom as autonomous self-determination by proposing to tie basic rights in the EU to a univocal form of European-wide popular sovereignty. Instead of constructing a common European political identity, I appeal to the novel democratic potential of institutions in the EU such as the Open Method of Coordination for mediating overlapping sovereignties in accord (...) with freedom as non-domination. The concluding example of basic rights to effective participation for immigrants and permanent minorities illustrates the strengths of Iris Young's and JamesBohman's republican views of non-domination over Habermas' call for a European-wide collective willing. Key Words: JamesBohman democratic deficit European Union freedom Jurgen Habermas non-domination Open Method of Coordination republicanism sovereignty Iris Young. (shrink)
In response to the attractive moral and politicalmodel of cosmopolitanism, this paper offers anoverview of some of the conceptual limitations to thatmodel arising from computer-mediated, interest-basedsocial interaction. I discuss JamesBohman''sdefinition of the global and cosmopolitan spheres andhow computer-mediated communication might impact thedevelopment of those spheres. Additionally, I questionthe commitment to purely rational models of socialcooperation when theorizing a computer-mediated globalpublic sphere, exploring recent alternatives. Andfinally, I discuss a few of the political andepistemic constraints on participation in thecomputer-mediated (...) public sphere that threaten thecosmopolitan ideal.``Nature should be thanked for fostering socialincompatibility, enviously competitive vanity, andinsatiable desires for possessions and even power.Without these desires, all man''s excellent naturalcapacities would never be roused to develop.'''' Theultimate destiny for mankind, according to Kant whowrote these words in 1784, is to achieve through theuse of reason a `cosmopolitan existence'' or ``thematrix within which all the original capacities of thehuman race may develop.'''' Ironically, however, as Habermas andothers have realized, Kant''s carefully developedvision for `perpetual peace'' among nations and `worldcitizenship'' is now murky even as the electronicallymediated infrastructure of that matrix is rapidlydeveloping. Globalization as a process has intensifiedto the point where a new social, political, andeconomic condition has taken hold in the global arena.Recently this condition has been termed ``globality'''' –a term denoting a networked world characterized byspeed, mobility, risk, insecurity, andflexibility. And a debate is forming around thequestion of whether we are still in late modernity andexperiencing the culmination of modernity''s inherentlyglobalizing tendency or instead we have entered thenetworked age, in which the tension between collectiveand transformative identities and the networking logicof dominant institutions and organizations heralds theend of civil society. Inthis paper assume the latter but wish to explorefurther the political and epistemic constraints onparticipation in the computer-mediated public sphere.These constraints seem certain to impact the viabilityof a cosmopolitan public sphere. In the first sectionI shall discuss JamesBohman''s definition of theglobal and cosmopolitan spheres and howcomputer-mediated communication (hereafter CMC) mightimpact the development of those spheres. In the secondsection, I question the commitment to purely rationalmodels of social cooperation when theorizing a globalpublic sphere. I explore recently proposed alternativeways of thinking about this issue in section three.And finally, I discuss a few of the political andepistemic constraints on participation in thecomputer-mediated public sphere that threaten thecosmopolitan ideal. (shrink)
On most accounts of global democracy, human rights are ascribed a central function. Still, their conceptual role in global democracy is often unclear. Two recent attempts to remedy this deficiency have been made by JamesBohman and Michael Goodhart. What is interesting about their proposals is that they make the case that under the present circumstances of politics, global democracy is best conceptualized in terms of human rights. Although the article is sympathetic to this ‘human rights approach’, it (...) defends the thesis that human rights are not enough for global democracy. It argues that insofar as we hold on to the general idea of democracy as a normative ideal of self-determination (self-rule) that is, of people determining their own lives and ruling over themselves, the concept of democracy accommodates two necessary conditions, namely, political bindingness and political equality. Further, it argues that neither Bohman’s nor Goodhart’s accounts fulfills these conditions and that one explanation for this could be traced to a lack of clarity concerning the distinction between democracy as normative ideal and democracy as decision method or rules (for example, institutions, laws and norms) for regulating social interactions. This ambiguity has implications for both Goodhart and Bohman. In Goodhart’s work it manifests itself as a vagueness concerning the difference between political agency and democratic agency; in Bohman’s work it becomes unclear whether he contributes a normative democratic theory or a theory of democratization. Although this article develops both a conceptual and a normative argument against their proposals, the aim is not to find fault with them but to point to questions that are in need of further elaboration to make them more convincing. (shrink)