In this much-needed introduction Kenneth Baynes engages with the full range of Habermas’s philosophical work, addressing his early arguments concerning the emergence of the public sphere and his initial attempt to reconstruct a critical theory of society in Knowledge and Human Interests. He then examines one of Habermas’s most influential works, The Theory of Communicative Action, including his controversial account of the rational interpretation of social action. Also covered is Habermas’s work on discourse ethics, political and legal theory, including his views on the relation between democracy and constitutionalism, and his arguments concerning human rights and cosmopolitanism. The final chapter assesses Habermas’s role as a polemical and prominent public intellectual and his criticism of postmodernism in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, in addition to his more recent writings on the relationship between religion and democracy.
Habermasis an invaluable guide to this key figure in contemporary philosophy, and suitable for anyone coming to his work for the first time.
Habermas and Pragmatism considers the influence of pragmatism on Habermas's thought and the tensions between Habermasian social theory and pragmatism. Essays by distinguished pragmatists, legal and critical theorists, and Habermas cover a range of subjects including the philosophy of language, the nature of rationality, democracy, objectivity, transcendentalism, aesthetics, and law. The collection also addresses the relationship to Habermas of Kant, Peirce, Mead, Dewey, Piaget, Apel, Brandom and Rorty.
By analyzing the historical and political context for debates over the compatibility of human rights with Christianity, Islam, and "Asian Values," Flynn develops a philosophical approach that is continuous with and a critical reflection on the intercultural dialogue on human rights. He reframes the dialogue by situating it in relation to the globalization of modern institutions and by arguing that such dialogue must address issues like the legacy of colonialism and global inequality while also being attuned to actual political struggles for human rights.
One of the distinctive features of Habermas's work has been its approach to the problem of political legitimacy through a sustained reflection on the dual legitimating and regulating function of modern legal systems. Extending his discourse theory of normative validity to the legal-political domain, Habermas has defended a proceduralist conception of deliberative democracy in which the burden of legitimating state power is borne by informal and legally institutionalized processes of political deliberation. Its guiding intuition is the radical democratic idea that there is an internal relation between the rule of law and popular sovereignty. In these essays he brings this discursive and proceduralist analysis of political legitimacy to bear on such urgent contemporary issues as the enduring legacy of the welfare state, the future of the nation state, and the prospects of a global politics of human rights.
This book will be essential reading for students and academics in sociology and social theory, politics and political theory, philosophy and the social sciences generally.