This means that societies governed by instrumental reason, particularly those of twentieth-century industrial capitalism, were filled with detached and atomized individuals, who nihilistically saw themselves as the source of all value in the world and were often tempted to deny any value to others. I'm no egg head, but I've had a few falls in my life. This is the first PT I've had since learning of Ken's death and it is weighing heavily on me. If progressives and liberals could become more familiar with the history and features of different traditions, they might be able to reduce some of the animosity religious conservatives feel towards liberal and progressive defenders of modernity. Is rational argument the key to democracy? p. cm. Habermas notes that too many liberal and progressive thinkers have dismissed these concerns about meaning as irrational or anachronistic. Ray and Ken reach for consensus with Matthew Specter from Central Connecticut State University, author of Habermas: An Intellectual Biography. I wonder if he or Jurgen would say that today. According to Habermas, law is legitimate only to the extent that it emerges from a broadly inclusive process of participatory democracy. One more homage to Ken then let me finish this feedback. Freedom may never be conceived merely negatively, as the absence of compulsion. To get a good grasp of general criticism and current approaches towards an up-to-date understanding of what and in which ways public opinions are shaped, general ter… If we conceive of the modernization of public consciousness … as a learning process that affects and changes religious and secular mentalities alike by forcing the tradition of the Enlightenment, as well as religious doctrines, to reflect on their respective limits, then the international tensions between major cultures and world religions also appear in a different light. That path leads through philosophy and all who practice it in their daily lives. We decided that because our values and laws and institutions had allowed 5000 people to die, we had just better put those values and laws and institutions aside and put our faith in violence. Sociology––Methodology. But should we be so optimistic? Habermas’ early intellectual sympathies were with the critical theories of the Frankfurt School as pioneered by Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer and others. Faith in one ‘true’ religion often entails rejection of all... Matthew Specter, Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University. Democracy. I don’t know where it goes from here, but I will be there with you. The development of systematic approaches to mathematics among other new sciences formed during the Scientific Revolution, and the subsequent philosophical developments of the Enlightenment contributed to the decline of the religious authority. Without this, there is no equal participation in the public sphere. Because interviewers and the guest were clearly wrestling the concepts and applying some real time thought. Against the arguments that Habermas’s framework is too optimistic in our current political climate, Matthew offers one clarification: Habermas’s theory is actually modest. He also admits that, while modernity has achieved tremendous feats in securing greater freedom and equality for all, it has also been characterized by declining faith in religious traditions that provided millions with a sense of purpose and meaning. That is a confused twist of thought but such is the world at the moment. Jürgen Habermas’s position seems to be, although it is never quite stated in such straightforward terms, that the lack of a positive project, to promote democracy in the era of expanding neoliberal capitalism, allowed for the growth of … 3. But may I suggest you egg heads try to apply too high a bar in seeking the total, full, encompassing everything, theory. While in general agreement, I propound a series of side notes to — and critical remarks on — Prof. Habermas’ arguments on the need to preserve modernity’s [pro]positions on identity. He observes that too many liberals and social democrats put their faith purely in institutions and law to keep the forces of anti-modernity at bay, when so much more is required. According to Matthew, Habermas is not positing a static, utopian ideal for us to measure against the present. We are not rearticulating Habermas' ideas in this process as Matt might say. Now I've made the coffee and would listen to some PT while I drink it. To that, I too say yeah! Ironically, this deepened the crisis of legitimation the populists pretended they could resolve—as they created even more animosity, spread disinformation and appealed to exclusionary nostalgia for a homogeneous ethnonational or religious past, in lieu of egalitarian democratic inclusion. From the internal perspective, a new way to think the relationship between system and It's a big world out there and in here and no theory is going to put it all in it's place - or avoid being impacted by things not present inside the bubble of the theory. When Phillip from San Francisco calls in and asks about value exchange, a better example of Ken at his best could not be found. This has produced understandable, albeit misdirected, resentments. But is this ideal too idealistic to be pragmatic? My heart which springs from my mind and not my chest, is beaming with the path Habermas would have us lead. 1. Like the attackers did. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of a continual critical reappropriation and reinterpretation. We had to go extra judicial and invade and trash another sovereign country against all morality and law. This sense of meaning has faded and the loss is compounded by the increasing unresponsiveness of democratic institutions and deepening political polarization. Or the Question? 12 quotes from Jürgen Habermas: ... human rights and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. 4. And how should we reform our liberal democracies to make them more democratic? Any help appreciated. If the latter I think most people will piss and moan for and Answer. If not, if you are not my people... well then... let's do a little communicative rationalization and be done with this. On the other, he insists that resisting anti-modernism means translating the concerns of reactionaries into a more secular language, which can be accommodated by ever more egalitarian and democratic institutions and practices. One wonders, however, how one could be optimistic on Habermas’ behalf in the age of Brexit and Donald Trump's isolationist policies. Habermas’ theory of democracy, as formulated chiefly in Facts and Norms, is an attempt to overcome the tension between “the social facticity of observable political processes” and “the normative self-understanding of the constitutional State, as explained in discourse-theoretic terms” (Habermas … The most insidious consequence of all this is a deep apathy towards democracy: a belief that the game is so rigged that there is no point trying to improve it—all you can do is try to get the best deal possible for yourself and for those who think like you. Undoubtedly you share my sadness. Increasingly ensconced in partisan bubbles, in which people repeated simplistic and easily digestible narratives, few were ever exposed to alternative viewpoints, and so were primed to embrace an antagonistic politics that pinned all the blame for social problems on political enemies. Apologies for a trivial question. Democracy is actually an ochlocracy, little more than mob rule. Habermas, Jürgen. Democratic politics depends on a robust and ongoing discussion in the so called public sphere, which emerged in the late seventeenth century as a fluid space where ideas were put forward, evaluated and won disciples and opponents. I do think, at show's end where Matt says that Habermas' better angels are at work to fix Brexit and the corruption that is Washington, this is the answer that Ken and Ray would explore to justify democratic governance. Democracy and liberty are not the same. Neoliberal economic policies that insulate economic interests and concerns from democratic pressures lead to ever deeper anger about globalization, the increasing influence of money in politics and the hegemony of business and cultural elites—Thomas Piketty’s “nativist and merchant” right and the “Brahmin left”—who dominate parties and policy in developed countries. Instrumental reason sets itself up as purely scientific, as taking the world simply as it materially is. But democracy is so much more: it is about constructing a shared world on the basis of mutual respect and a commitment to the moral equality of all. Can reason win over propaganda? This is well said, and I wish the show had gotten to this. For example, what are the norms that govern rational discourse? I'm happy I did and sad. Let me (1) remind you the opposite features of these two established models. Habermas does not share the same cynicism on the role of specialized knowledge. As I write, the impeachment articles are being prepared for our President. Habermas on democracy and human rights Habermas' approach to democracy is above all procedural. The Nuremberg Trials were a key formative moment thatbrought home to him the depth of Germany's moral and politicalfailure under National Socialism. Habermas thinks that democracy is grounded in communicative rationality; however, Ray wants to interrogate the nature of communication. Rather, he is explicating the extant, normative core of our democracy, which is to elucidate already existing logics and practices of our discourse. Well, yes. Habermas: discourse and democracy. Jürgen Habermas refers to his democratic theory as a “discourse theory of democracy”. Why does Habermas have faith in our ability to establish this so-called rational communication and to reach consensus? No one is free until we are all free.—Jurgen Habermas, Essays on Reason, God and Morality It's a good theory but I would argue not a complete one. One thinker who provides a subtle and often panoramic take on these themes is Jurgen Habermas. For starters, Habermas advises for material equality that would form the basis of social solidarity. If this is not Habermasian learning by disaster then nothing is. So it should come as no surprise that millions turn to authoritarian reactionaries like Viktor Orban and Donald Trump who promise to wind back the clock to an allegedly better time while quashing the so-called cultural enemies of the people. The meaning of liberal democracy is certainly to guarantee all citizens the same private and public freedoms. Habermas believes that genuine democracy is rooted in the principles of communicative rationality. Jürgen Habermas is a radical democrat. I … And he was right to do so: as Nate Hochman has pointed out, Adorno and Horkheimer’s pessimistic leftist narrative of decline and fall has a surprising amount in common with the doom and gloom of anti- or post-liberal conservative critics of modernity like Robert Nisbet, Alasdair Macintyre and Patrick Deneen. What does it take to have a mind? He starts from the idea that politics allows people to organize their lives together and decide what common rules they will live by. A member of the Frankfurt School, Habermas argues that humans can have rational communication that will lead to the democratization of society and consensus. All Rights Reserved. But as an aid and tool in understanding and making decisions about democracy, Habermas's theory seems one of the best. Through open public argument and discourse, complex societies can engage in moral and political decision-making. Philosophy Talk is produced by KALW on behalf of Stanford University. We must, I believe, allow the individual units making up a democracy to assume some risk and responsibility for themselves. Sunday at 11am (Pacific) on KALW 91.7 FM, San Francisco, and rebroadcast on many other stations nationwide, Full episode downloads via Apple Music and abbreviated episodes (Philosophy Talk Starters) via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. That appears to be what the interviewers want. Democracy has all too often been cast, not least by liberals, in purely procedural terms—as mostly about voting for certain candidates and parties to get one’s desired policy outcomes. With that allowance comes the distinct possibility of failure and of unplanned pain, anguish and death. The above comment is not from “Anonymous”, but from liberavoce.home.blog at WordPress. © 2020 by Philosophy Talk and PhilosophyTalk.org. Instead, they should try to find ways to allay these anxieties, using a less metaphysically loaded language than those deployed by the faithful and encouraging their dialogue partners to do the same. I've spent a great portion of my night reading. Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit. They allowed many illiberal postmodern conservatives, who claimed to be the real voice of the people, to sweep to power and implement a variety of authoritarian reforms. If you enjoy our articles, be a part of our growth and help us produce more writing for you: Matt McManus is a Professor of Politics at Whitman College and the author of The Rise of Post-Modern Conservatism amongst other books. Was that your take when you heard this the first time in 2017? I am new to this. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation. In Between Facts and Norms, Habermas suggests that the two major competing theories of democracy, the liberal view which sees the democratic process as being a form of com-promises among competing individual interests in a society that is in large measure economic, and the republican view which treats democracy as being an ethical community of In Reasonable Democracy, Simone Chambers describes, explains, and defends a discursive politics inspired by the work of Jürgen Habermas. This has special relevance given the importance of questions of faith in countries like France and the United States. Freedom conceived intersubjectively distinguishes itself from the arbitrary freedom of the isolated individual. Insofar as they act in their role as citizens, secularized citizens may neither fundamentally deny that religious worldviews may be true nor reject the right of devout fellow citizens to couch their contributions to public discussions in religious language. Bin Laden has won - he destroyed a value system. Because Habermas took the magic word of democracy so seriously, he found himself disenchanted not only with established conservative intellectuals but also political elites who preferred to keep their mouths shut about their Nazi entanglements, and for whom Germany’s new liberal order was primarily about stability and security, not democratic self-government. Habermas accepted many elements of the critique of instrumental reason into his own work, but disagreed with the pessimism that underpinned this critique. Do you want God to give you the Answer? This argumentative procedure's most important prerequisite is … On the one hand, he encourages the defenders of modernity to become more adaptable in their interests and engagements. Jürgen Habermas presents a case for a European democracy that rests on the heterarchical relationship between the double sovereigns of the European citizens and the European peoples/states. I will have to think about this a little more. One of the big disappointments resulting from 9/11 was the complete failure of our leaders and people to maintain faith in our values and legal system. Unfair death, even. Habermas locates the bases of democracy in a general, "post-metaphysical" conc theory of human reason, which he presents in the theory of communicative life c action, and of argumentation as the reflective form of such action. Introduction . Jürgen Habermas : democracy and the public sphere / Luke Goode. 16 In its place is the authority of reason. The paper explores ways to bring the approaches of J. Habermas and M. Foucault into a productive dialogue. In papers such as “Modernity: The Incomplete Project” and books like The Divided West, Habermas chides liberals and progressives for their complacency in assuming that, after the fall of first fascist and then Soviet totalitarianism in the 1940s and 1980s, everything would be smooth sailing. For Habermas, democracy is this sprawling conversation, in which all citizens are equal participants and all are committed not to the force of arms, or the power … This is one of my favorite podcasts and even blogs - though I am a sometimes poster there. I have listened to PT since it started having bumped into it early... came back to it and have since listened to every show. It's a slightly rougher world don't you think - today? Habermas on Law and Democracy A collection of provocative, in-depth debates between Jurgen Habermas and a wide range of his critics relating to the philosopher's contribution to legal and democratic theory as published in his book BETWEEN FACTS AND NORMS. A member of the Frankfurt School, Habermas argues that humans can have rational communication that will lead to the democratization of society and consensus. The trove intuitive idea is that democracy… The fascists promised to restore a sense of deeper meaning at the price of total submission to the party and the elimination of liberal permissiveness and tolerance of difference, which were associated with decadence and decline. The Lies About France’s Alleged War on Islam, What the Left Can Learn from Right-Wing Thinkers, Conservative Cancel Culture: Paul E. Gottfried et al’s “The Vanishing Tradition: Perspectives on American Conservatism”, Schools Don’t Have to Adopt Critical Education Theory to be Inclusive or Just, Media Bubbles and the Polarization of American Society, Upstream Approaches to Health and Wellness, Mandatory “Anti-Oppression” Training at a Canadian Legal Charity, Black People, Racism and Human Rights in the UK, Julian Assange and the Cowardice of the Modern Media, When scientists hoax publishers - Cosmos Magazine, Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship, Enlightenment Thought: A Very Brief Primer. 2. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, these figures have often been carelessly lumped together with various postmodern critics of reason, which deeply misunderstands their ambitions. Yeah! What does it take to have subjective experiences of the world? For individuals to remain committed to modernity, they need to see themselves as not just beneficiaries of liberal and economic rights, but as democratic participants in an ongoing civic project. When hyper-partisans abandon or seek to erode the public sphere through conspiracy theorizing, manic polemic and relentless antagonism, they’re doing more than just riling up their base and discrediting their enemies—more even than establishing insular bubbles, where people have little exposure to opposing points of view, leading to what Marcuse would call distorted and one-dimensional visions of the real world. Matthew responds that, for Habermas, these cases do not falsify his theory but are instances that support his theory, for they result from the conditions that he argues have yet to be realized today. Habermas Against the Fascists. I am on Firefox in case this matters. A social structure and belief system does not mean we all bliss out all the time. I would hear what Ken has to say about Habermas post discussion. Matthew is an Historian, an Intellectual Historian to be precise, which gives him cred to talk about a living philosopher. Born outside Düsseldorf in 1929, Habermas came of age inpostwar Germany. Jürgen Habermas is regarded as one of the last great public intellectuals of Europe and a major contributor to the philosophy of democracy. Adorno and Horkheimer were not criticizing reason in general but specifically “instrumental reason”—the tendency to understand the world purely in terms of objects to be manipulated for subjective purposes. Horkheimer and Adorno believed that this contributed to the rise of reactionary fascism. As democracy has fallen by the wayside over the past few decades, we have become increasingly insular and unable to recognize ourselves in a world that is being designed for us. Ok… so… now that - that - is over… that was actually my instrumental rationality trying to get us all to contribute to PT. I've held off on listening to this show because it is a repeat and life is busy. Habermas's various analyses in his by now astoundingly prolific and monumental work recognizes these two sides of democracy, but does not adequately delineate the normative character of the media in democracy and does not develop a notion of radical democracy in which individuals organize to democratically transform the media, technology, and the various institutions of social life. The source of that self‐designation is that his conception of democracy—what he calls “discursive democracy”—is founded on the ideal of “a self‐organizing community of free and equal citizens,” coordinating their collective affairs through their common reason. There never was a Democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” Further, you seem to account for a lot of problems stemming from capitalism, ignoring the fact that capitalism is not a system, but a result of a free market, which in turn is a result of freedom itself. As noted above, post-structuralists viewed the concepts of truth, knowledge, and reason as little more than the intellectual instruments of established power. This is a serious problem because maintaining democracy depends on far more than simply enabling voters to cast a ballot once every few years. Matthew doesn't understand Phillip’s question only to have Ken succinctly rephrase it in terms of equality. The US was never conceived as a democracy, but a Republic established to preserve and protect liberty, the sanctity and sovereignty of the individual. The public sphere plays a vital role in both the ongoing legitimation of democracy and the establishment of a common culture of civic friendship and reciprocity. In dense books like Between Naturalism and Religion, Habermas defends secular modernity, while recognizing its roots in prominent strands of monotheistic humanism. Repeated studies have shown that, in many developed states, most of the general public perceive the media as biased in some way. The downside, however, is that there are no guarantees that democratic discourse will produce the most just or best laws. The faithful have watched as secular liberal globalists have arrogantly pushed an ever more permissive agenda, while dismissing them as relics clinging to their guns and religion. Leftists have seen their mid-century ambition to establish greater economic democracy rolled back by anti-unionization, skyrocketing inequality and the influence of money in politics. On these points, Habermas sounded the alarm many decades ago, warning that declining public faith in institutions and the media meant that millions of citizens no longer saw the existing order as sufficiently legitimate. I've learned so much from Ken. Duh! Second, Habermas’s focus on learning, deliberation, and translation offers a convincing alternative to the one-dimensional concepts of the “culture wars” or the “clash of civiliza-tions.” The desideratum of a deliberative democracy made up of citizens-translators has News that life might exist or have existed on Mars or somewhere else in our universe excites many. How does that relate to Habermas? Certainly conversations with communicative rationality are the bread and butter of democratic hope. Though I think it is very much an open question whether rational argument can ever take place in a democracy—especially one like ours that seems very far from what Habermas envisions—I do hold out some hope that we may eventually be able to design a public sphere in which reason regularly wins out over power and propaganda. Jürgen Habermas is regarded as one of the last great public intellectuals of Europe and a major contributor to the philosophy of democracy. This was reflected in their politics: buried beneath the calls for a radically new and more equal society were the nostalgia and elitist snobbery revealed by their disdain for mass society and plebian entertainment. Page numbers in the text refer to this edition. A liberal political culture can even expect its secularized citizens to participate in efforts to translate relevant contributions from the religious language into a publicly acceptable language … This observation paves the way for a dialectical understanding of cultural secularization. Thanks for this show. Having come of age during the period of German reconstruction and deep soul searching that followed the Second World War, his experiences watching a society first tear itself apart over the Nazis and then spend decades trying to come back together inform his rich, dense theoretical project: the explanation and justification of political and economic democracy. As both Ray and Ken said... it was just getting good when it all came to an end. This is heart wrenching to hear his erudition, his focus, his self effacing honest yet extremely deep philosophical focus of conversation. Ray and Ken are joined by Matthew Specter, author of Habermas: An Intellectual Biography and Associate Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University. I found the "Listen" button on the top of the page, but there does not seem to be a way to wind back and to listen again (or to jump ahead, for that matter). In particular, it argues that Habermas's concept of deliberative democracy can and should be complemented by a strategic analysis of the state as it is found in Foucault's studies of governmentality. identifying communicative freedoms,” Habermas writes, “constitutional democracy mobilizes citizens’ participation in public confrontations over issues that concern every-one.”12 Habermas thus holds that a decision-making process based on verbal exchange brings people together, not only because it obliges them to seek rational solutions Habermas does not have much hope about a better argument winning a debate or of people broadening their points of view.