Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Karl-Otto Apel Dies at 95

The German philosopher Karl-Otto Apel died on May 15, 2017. He was 95.

Obituaries:

Detlef Horster - "Bestreiten heißt anerkennen" (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

Uwe Justus Wenzel - "Die Vernunft arbeitet in der Sprache" (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

Jochen Hörisch - "Äußerste Ernsthaftigkeit, das war sein Programm" (Deutsclandsfunk)

Markus Schwering - "Der Letztbegründer" (Frankfurter Rundschau)

Christian Geyer - "Ein liebenswürdiger Argumentierer" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

Thomas Assheuer - "Leidenschaft der Sprache" (Die Zeit)

Rainer Forst - "Goethe-Universität trauert um Karl-Otto Apel" (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier offers his condolences to the widow of Karl-Otto Apel

Alexander Riebel - "Zu universal" (Die Tagespost)

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Habermas' Deliberative Multiculturalism

An interesting PhD Thesis by Jonas Jakobsen (The Arctic University of Norway):

"The Claims of Freedom: Habermas' Deliberative Multiculturalism and the Right to Free Speech" (2017)

Abstract

"The thesis analyzes and discusses Jürgen Habermas’ political philosophy, focusing on his theories of multiculturalism and deliberative democracy. This implies an assesment of strengths and weaknesses in Habermas' theory, and an attempt to overcome the weaknesses through some revisions and reinterpretations. More specifically, I apply Habermas' framework to a particular question to which he himself has not paid systematic attention, namely how we should justify and use free speech in culturally diverse democracies. The first part of this question (how to justify free speech) pertains to how we should justify constitutional free speech as political philosophers. Here, I advocate robust free speech guarantees, based on a reading of Habermas' normative theory of (reflexive, political, and private) freedom. I argue that legal regulations of hate speech (i.e. racist speech) may be legitimate, but not regulations of blasphemy and religious offense. The second part (how to use free speech) pertains to the citizens’ use of free speech in culturally diverse contexts, and thus transcends the focus on mere legality. Here, I argue that the same concern with freedom that justifies free speech as a constitutional right also limits free speech - in a pragmatic and moral sense. The pragmatic sense refers to how hate speech and misrecognition harm the social preconditions for freedom, in particular the freedom of members of weak or marginalized groups. The moral sense in which freedom limits freedom refers to norms of equal recognition that guide (or should guide) public deliberation between persons who respect each other as free and equal. Even though the imperative of equal recognition does not require us to recognize others' cultural identities or respect their religious feelings as such, it does require us to take their cultural attachments into account when interacting - and deliberating - with them."


Saturday, May 06, 2017

New book by Habermas: "Philosophical Introductions"

Forthcoming book in English by Jürgen Habermas:

"Philosophical Introductions: Five Approaches to Communicative Reason"
(Polity Press, September 2017; 200 pages)

Description:

On the occasion of Habermas’s 80th birthday, the German publisher Suhrkamp brought out five volumes of Habermas’s work - "Philosophische Texte" - that spanned the full range his philosophical work, from the theory of rationality to the critique of metaphysics. For each of these volumes, Habermas wrote an introduction that crystallized, in a remarkably clear and succinct way, his thinking on the key philosophical issues that have preoccupied him throughout his long career. 

In the five chapters that make up this volume, Habermas discusses the concept of communicative action and the grounding of the social sciences in the theory of language; the relationship between rationality and the theory of language; discourse ethics; political theory and problems of democracy and legitimacy; the critique of reason and the challenge posed by religion in a secular age. 

The book will also be publlshed in a French translation by Gallimard.