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. (shrink)
Jean-Philippe Deranty, Beyond Communication: A Critical Study of Axel Honneth's Social Philosophy Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 497-500 Authors Jørgen Pedersen, The Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, Bergen, Norway Journal Critical Horizons: A Journal of Philosophy & Social Theory Online ISSN 1568-5160 Print ISSN 1440-9917 Journal Volume Volume 11 Journal Issue Volume 11, Number 3 / 2010.
The Pareto principle is in fact the fundamental concept of welfare economics. However, it has serious analytical and heuristic limits, is selective and conservative in nature and use, and is heavily normative notwithstanding the pretensions by advocates of its positive character.
The aim of this paper is to elaborate on the phenomenological approach to expertise as proposed by Dreyfus and Dreyfus and to give an account of the extent to which their approach may contribute to a better understanding of how athletes may use their cognitive capacities during high-level skill execution. Dreyfus and Dreyfus's non-representational view of experience-based expertise implies that, given enough relevant experience, the skill learner, when expert, will respond intuitively to immediate situations with no recourse to deliberate actions (...) or mental representations. The paper will subsequently outline some implications and consequences of such an approach and will also examine to what extent Dreyfus and Dreyfus's skill model is capable to resist different attacks that have been made against their view, and in particular regarding the practical application of their approach to the skill domain of competitive sport. (shrink)
J|rgen Habermas is the most renowned living German philosopher. This book aims to give a clear and readable overview of his philosophical work. It analyzes both the theoretical underpinnings of Habermas's social theory, and its more concrete applications in the fields of ethics, politics, and law. Finally, it examines how Habermas's social and political theory informs his writing on real, current political and social problems. The author explores Habermas's influence on a wide variety of fields--including philosophy, political and social theory, (...) cultural studies, sociology, and literary studies. He uses a problem-based approach to explain how Habermas's ideas can be applied to actual social and political situations. The book also includes a glossary of technical terms to further acquaint the reader with Habermas's philosophy. Unlike other writing on Habermas, this Introduction is accessibly written and explains his intellectual framework and technical vocabulary, rather than simply adopting it. (shrink)
Jürgen Habermas’s theories have received enormous attention in the public sphere as well as in political science. It is therefore surprising that his method, rational reconstruction, is not more debated. In political science the method is of particular interest because of its ambition to bridge the gap between empirical and normative approaches. In this article the author traces Habermas’s interest in rational reconstruction by going back to his writings on theory and practice and subsequently shows what the method’s main principles (...) are. He then specifies how this methodological conception is used in Habermas’s political theory. Finally, the introduction of an empirical design allows the author to discuss one of the fundamental tensions in Habermas’s approach: the hypotheses arrived at through rational reconstruction are empirical hypotheses but cannot be tested by empirical means. (shrink)
Given the prominent position Habermas' philosophy has gained, it is surprising that his method, rational reconstruction, has not caused more debate. This article clarifies what this method consists of, and shows how it is used in two of Habermas' research programs. The method is an interesting, but problematic way of confronting some of the basic epistemological questions in the social sciences. It represents an alternative to both the empirical-analytical and the hermeneutic tradition. On the basis of this methodology, Habermas' work (...) is situated between the transcendental and the empirical approach. A fundamental problem is that it remains unclear how to test the hypothesis put forward through rational reconstruction. (shrink)
We generalize the concept of Nash equilibrium in mixed strategies for strategic form games to allow for ambiguity in the players' expectations. In contrast to other contributions, we model ambiguity by means of so-called lower probability measures or belief functions, which makes it possible to distinguish between a player's assessment of ambiguity and his attitude towards ambiguity. We also generalize the concept of trembling hand perfect equilibrium. Finally, we demonstrate that for certain attitudes towards ambiguity it is possible to explain (...) cooperation in the one-shot Prisoner's Dilemma in a way that is in accordance with some recent experimental findings. (shrink)
This article examines John Stuart Mill’s influential proposal of how to tax wealth transfers. According to Mill, every person should be free to bequeath but not to receive bequest. Mill proposed an upper limit on how much each person could receive from wealth transfers. We discuss three objections against this proposal. The nonseparability objection holds that it is not possible to separate the freedom to give from the freedom to receive. The objection from private property holds that private property includes (...) an unlimited right to dispose of one’s assets and that this right is violated under Mill’s scheme. The objection from incentives holds that Mill’s scheme would have negative effects on people’s willingness to work and save. We argue that these objections can be met and that taxing bequeathed wealth according to Mill’s scheme is more just and more efficient compared to systems that rely less on wealth transfer taxation. (shrink)