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)
Jurgen Habermas' construction of a critical social theory of society grounded in communicative reason is one of the very few real philosophical inventions of recent times that demands and repays extended engagement. In this elaborate and sympathetic study which places Habermas' project in the context of critical theory as a whole past and future, J. M. Bernstein argues that despite its undoubted achievements, it contributes to the very problems of ethical dislocation and meaninglessness it aims to diagnose and (...) remedy. Bernstein further argues that the precise character of the failures of Habermas' program demonstrate the necessity for a return to the first generation critical theory of Adorno. Reading across nearly the whole range of Habermas' corpus, Recovering Ethical Life traces the development of the theory of communicative reason from its inception in Knowledge and Human Interests through its elaboration in The Theory of Communicative Action and into its defense against postmodernism in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity . In separate chapters Habermas' readings of Freud, Durkheim amd Mead, Adorno and Foucault, Castoriadis and Taylor are critically examined. The focus of Bernstein's analyses, however, is always problem centered and thematic rather than textual psychoanalytic theory as an account of self knowledge, the competing claims of ethical identity and moral reason, the place of judgment in practical reason, and the debate between philosophies of language based communities versus those oriented towards world-disclosure. Critical theory is unique among current philosophies in engaging with the problems of social injustice and nihilism by siding with an abstract moral reason that forfeits the processes of intersubjective recognition it intended to salvage. Even in the fine grain of Habermas' account of performative contradictions and the theory of discourses of application, Bernstein perceives a squandering of the resources of an ethical life in need of transfiguration. (shrink)
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)
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)
This is the first systematic assessment of the work of J[um] rgen Habermas - the key theorist of the later Frankfurt School, whose writing has had a major impact on social theory and sociology. These four volumes comprise the key secondary literature on Habermas. Edited by David Rasmussen and James Swindal, leading commentators on Habermas's work, this will be the standard reference work on one of the canonical theorists of the 20th century. VOLUME ONE: The Foundations of (...)Habermas's Project VOLUME TWO: Law and Politics VOLUME THREE: Ethics VOLUME FOUR: Communicative Rationality, Formal Pragmatics, Speech Act Theory and Truth. (shrink)
The Rawls–Habermas debate is having a revival. In this article I argue that both philosophers develop different freestanding conceptions of political legitimacy, and show how they diverge when it comes to how political legitimacy can be justified. Habermas is looking for a deeper justification than Rawls will allow for. I then proceed to show how the different meta-ethical positions yield two different versions of democratic theory, focusing in particular on rights and popular sovereignty. I demonstrate how both conceive (...) of the co-originality of private and public autonomy, and subsequently take issue with Habermas’ reading of Rawls. I argue that Rawls should not be understood as a natural rights theorist, that Habermas misunderstands the role of the original position, and that Rawls cannot be considered a strong constitutionalist. Thus, the real difference between Rawls and Habermas revolves around their different conceptions of political legitimacy. (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)
Social philosophy is a somewhat broad and imprecise term. In this article I discuss the social philosophy of Habermas, Foucault and Honneth, arguing that the latter’s work is an interesting, but not unproblematic, conception of the discipline. Following Habermas and Honneth, I argue that social philosophy should be reconstructive, but incorporate insights from Foucault. Specifically, reconstructive social philosophy can be both normative and descriptive, and at the same time establish a dialectical relationship between philosophy and the social sciences, (...) thus fulfilling the ambition for social philosophy originally put forward by Horkheimer. The thesis I defend in this article is that reconstructive social philosophy in Habermasian or Honnethian fashion has the resources available to accomplish this ambitious task. (shrink)
In this article, an anthropological definition of literature is attempted. Since all communities seem to have some kind of literature (including its simple forms: myth, folktale, fable, proverb, and song), literature is claimed to be a human universal. Hence, literary discourse should be added to the four basic discourses that Habermas has pointed out and discussed; namely, theoretical, practical, historical, and technical discourses. Five characteristics of literary discourse are pointed out here: fictionality, poeticity, inquisitoriality, poetic licence, and contemplation. It (...) is not claimed that every text that is classified as literary necessarily contains all five features, but a vast majority of them do. Finally, it is argued that literary discourse is special because it redefines Habermas' four so-called ‘universal-pragmatic validity’ claims: understandability, truth, normative rightness, and sincerity. These claims are not altogether suspended, but they are given new meanings and attenuated in literary discourse. (shrink)
Der Horizont der Moderne verschiebt sich -- Metaphysik nach Kant -- Motive nachmetaphysischen Denkens -- Handlungen, Sprechakte, sprachlich vermittelte Interaktionen und Lebenswelt -- Zur Kritik der Bedeutungstheorie -- Bemerkungen zu J. Searles "Meaning, communication, and representation" -- Die Einheit der Vernunft in der Vielfalt ihrer Stimmen -- Individuierung durch Vergesellschaftung : zu G.H. Meads Theorie der Subjektivität -- Philosophie und Wissenschaft als Literatur? -- Rückkehr zur Metaphysik? : eine Sammelrezension.
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)
Existential-Ontologie und historischer Materialismus bei Herbert Marcuse, von A. Schmidt.--Das Ganze und das ganz Andere; zur Kritik der reinen revolutionären Transzendenz, von W.F. Haug.--Technik und Eindimensionalität; eine Version der Technokratiethese? Von C. Offe.--Technologische Rationalität und spätkapitalistische ökonomie, von J. Bergmann.--Die geschichtliche Dimension des Realitätsprinzips, von H. Berndt und R. Reiche.--Marcuse and the New Left in America, by P. Breines.--Ausgewählte Bibliographie der Schriften Herbert Marcuses (p. 155-).
Jürgen Habermas, représentant majeur de l'Ecole de Francfort, est devenu un auteur classique mais son oeuvre complexe et multiforme, composée d'une cinquantaine d'ouvrages et d'un millier d'articles, continue d'être mal identifiée. Comment saisir la diversité de ses intérêts, des théories de l'action et du langage à la morale et au droit? C'est aussi un acteur, qui intervient régulièrement dans la presse et les débats publics. Comment articuler ces prises de position avec ses travaux proprement théoriques? Dialogues avec Jürgen (...) class='Hi'>Habermas, issu d'un colloque international, offre un panorama complet du parcours intellectuel de Habermas, depuis ses premiers écrits jusqu'aux plus récents. L'espace public, l'agir communicationnel, la modernité, la démocratie, l'autonomie, les intérêts de connaissance, etc. sont ici discutés. Plus largement, c'est l'actualité même de sa pensée qui est soulignée et interrogée à propos de thèmes qui font débat : les effets du droit sur la société, la compréhension que l'on peut avoir des crises du capitalisme, ou encore le rapport complexe de la modernité aux religions. Cet ouvrage comprend deux textes inédits du philosophe, un texte d'ouverture sur l'Europe et un texte de clôture où il répond aux intervenants. (shrink)
Between the two World Wars, Jørgen Jørgensen was a central figure in Danish philosophy and internationally recognized, as his teacher Harald Høffding had been before World War 1. When in the late 1920s Jørgensen established contact with the movement that would later be called logical positivism, he found a group of philosophers of his own age who advocated empiricism, the tools of formal logic and the Unity of Science, and who shared his anti-metaphysical approach to philosophy. He became one of (...) the movement’s organizers and wrote its history, but he was only for a short period influenced by especially Rudolf Carnap’s philosophy of logic. Although Jørgensen was never an uncritical member of the movement, he is often considered as a central representative of logical positivism in Scandinavia. (shrink)
"Jürgen Habermas", so schrieb der amerikanische Philosoph Ronald Dworkin zum 80. Geburtstag des grossen europäischen Denkers, "ist nicht nur der berühmteste lebende Philosoph der Welt. Sein Ruhm selbst ist berühmt." Nach mehrjährigen Forschungen, intensiver Recherche und ausführlichen Gesprächen mit Weggefährten, Zeitzeugen sowie mit Habermas selbst legt Stefan Müller-Doohm nun die erste umfassende Biographie des bedeutendsten Intellektuellen unserer Zeit vor. Sie beleuchtet sowohl das Zusammenspiel von philosophischer Reflexion und intellektueller Intervention als auch das Wechselverhältnis von Lebens- und Werkgeschichte vor (...) dem Hintergrund historischer Ereignisse. Deutlich wird so das Bild eines einzigartigen Denkers, zu dessen wichtigsten philosophischen Errungenschaften eine Theorie verständigungsorientierten Handelns gehört, der, wenn er den Eindruck gewinnt, dass die Gesellschaft hinter ihren Möglichkeiten zur Gestaltung freier und gerechter Lebensverhältnisse zurückbleibt, zum unnachgiebigen Kritiker wird. (shrink)
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)
The Danish critic Georg Brandes (1842–1927) visited Warsaw in 1885 and 1886, with the pretext of lecturing—in French—on modern literature, making thereby the Polish cause for freedom his own. It was his endeavor not to take sides in the smoldering strife between radical and catholic circles, freedom from the brutal Russian regime being the chief common issue. During his second visit he lectured on Polish literature, though only knowing it through translations. This demonstration of solidarity was received with enthusiasm.In his (...) book Impressions from Poland—Danish 1888, in English, German and Polish 1898—he gives a vivid description of the Polish passion for freedom, not hiding more negative sides of the national character as he found them, such as improvidence and bohemianism. The book was understood as an act of solidarity, and during a visit to Krakow in 1898 he was hailed as the spokesman of freedom and one of the few West-European supporters of the Polish cause.When, by November 1914, Brandes learned about Polish religious pogroms he did not hesitate to condemn them in two articles born by indignation. The articles, immediately published in many languages, aroused much attention worldwide, at the same time costing him most of his Polish popularity. (shrink)
Intuition has increasingly been considered as a legitimate foundation for decision-making, and the concept has started to find its way into military doctrines as a supplement to traditional decision-making procedures, primarily in time-constrained situations. Yet, absent inside the military realm is a critical and level-headed discussion of the ethical implications of intuitive behaviour, understood as an immediate and situational response with no recourse to thoughtful or deliberate activity. In this article the author turns to phenomenological philosophy, and in particular to (...) the works of Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus, to elaborate on the ethical implications and consequences of intuitive behaviour. Dreyfus and Dreyfus understand moral behaviour as a skill, and as such they claim that it is possible to develop this capability through practice. They even claim that intuitive behaviour is the hallmark of the way experts respond to situations. The article seeks to investigate if the prerequisites for development of experience-based intuition are fulfilled inside the frames of military operations. The possible implications and consequences of utilizing such a capability are also emphasized. The article's empirical materials are qualitative and build mainly upon extracted information from interviews and informal conversations with Norwegian soldiers and officers serving in Afghanistan under ISAF's Regional Command North in 2007 and 2008. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant’s essay on Perpetual Peace contains a rejection of the idea of a world government. In connexion with a substantial argument for cosmopolitan rights based on the human body and its need for a space on the surface of the Earth, Kant presents the most rigorous philosophical formulation ever given of the limitations of the cosmopolitan law. In this contribution, Kant’s essay is analysed and the reasons he gives for these restrictions discussed in relation to his main focus: to (...) project a realistic path to perpetual peace. (shrink)
The traditional square of opposition is generalized and extended to a cube of opposition covering and conveniently visualizing inter-sentential oppositions in relational syllogistic logic with the usual syllogistic logic sentences obtained as special cases. The cube comes about by considering Frege–Russell’s quantifier predicate logic with one relation comprising categorical syllogistic sentence forms. The relationships to Buridan’s octagon, to Aristotelian modal logic, and to Klein’s 4-group are discussed.GraphicThe photo shows a prototype sculpture for the cube.
Läuchli and Pincus showed that existence of algebraic completions of all fields cannot be proved from Zermelo‐Fraenkel set theory alone. On the other hand, important special cases do follow. In particular, I show that an algebraic completion of can be constructed in Zermelo‐Fraenkel set theory.
Berkeley’s criticism of Locke’s distinction between primary and secondary qualities is a challenge to epistemologists. Do we experience a mind-independent reality, even though we do it with the help of senses bound to give us subjective experiences? Berkeley – or a straw man by that name – played an important part as sparring partner for an influential development of Danish theoretical philosophy in the second half of the 20th century. The protagonists here are Peter Zinkernagel and David Favrholdt. Zinkernagel held (...) an extraordinary appointment as research fellow at the University of Copenhagen. Favrholdt was the founding father of the Philosophical Institute at Odense University. This essay focuses on the constructive moments in Zinkernagel’s alternative to immaterialism, being based on a distinction between perception and action, and on Favrholdt’s development of a reconstruction of the distinction between primary and secondary qualities. (shrink)