Habermas: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed)
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Jürgen Habermas' work ranges across critical theory, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, the philosophy of science, citizenship and democracy, religion and psychoanalysis, forging new paradigms and engaging with other key thinkers.
Habermas: A Guide for the Perplexed is the ideal starting point for anyone studying Habermas. It follows Habermas's critical and philosophical project through all the stages of its development - the early critical theory, the linguistic turn, communicative action and discourse ethics, the theory of deliberative democracy -building up a complete overview of his work, and offering close and incisive analysis throughout.
reason can be applied to all areas of society, including areas that had so far been the preserve of the ruler, state or church. Anything that could be construed as of common concern was to be subject to the public use of reason. Third, the public sphere was ‘in principle inclusive’ (ibid., 37). The public sphere is obviously biased and based on exclusions: of women, of the poor, of non-whites, of the illiterate and so on. However, Habermas (1992a, 425–7) claims that the exclusions were not
rights and collective popular sovereignty, even if there is widespread disagreement about just what such a balance entails. Given that both constitutionalism and democracy are seen as essential, it is then a question of how exactly to balance the two and of whether one should enjoy priority over the other. The relationship between constitutionalism and democracy is important for a number of reasons, for instance the role of judicial review and the relationship between the courts and parliament;
disobedience should not seek to further private interests or conceptions of the good life – it should, rather, appeal to justice, to what is right. As an argument, civil disobedience should appeal to everybody. Third, civil disobedience should only be used as a last resort and in cases of grave injustice, and it must appeal to the principles of constitutional democracy, that is, the system of rights that Habermas reconstructs in Between Facts and Norms. To be justified, civil disobedience must be
2006a, chapter 4) – that, although the past is past and must be treated as such, it forms part of who we are as a collective, for instance as a nation. Or, to be more precise, the way we relate to the past forms part of, and define, who we are and who we want to be as a collective. Thus, for Habermas, the break in 1945 was important and must be understood as liberation and not as defeat. Habermas again and again stresses that Germany should orient itself towards the western intellectual
trans. Maeve Cooke. Cambridge: Polity Press. —(1998b) , The Inclusion of the Other: Studies in Political Theory, trans. C. Cronin. Cambridge: Polity Press. —(1999), ‘Zweifellos: Eine Antwort auf Peter Handke’, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 112, 18 May, 17. —(2001a) , On the Pragmatics of Social Interaction: Preliminary Studies in the Theory of Communicative Action, trans. B. Fultner. Cambridge: Polity Press. —(2001b) , The Postnational Constellation: Political Essays, trans. M. Pensky.