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Most philosophical theories are judged by their internal consistency and coherence. However, they can also subject to criticism if readers do not share the view of the author on what philosophy should be. Hence, we may judge specific theories differently dependent upon the view on philosophy itself. According to Amartya Sen, Western philosophy can be divided into the two distinct traditions within political philosophy, namely «transcendental institutionalism» and «realization-focused comparison.» This article discusses Nancy Frasers theory of justice in the light of the two differing traditions of political philosophy. The analysis discloses that the theory of Fraser is subject to critique when seen from the perspective of «transcendental institutionalism,» while it does fine when regarded from the other perspective. While the two-dimensional aspect of the theory easily deals with the pragmatic and empirical issues of injustice that we face in modern societies, it fails to come up with the stringent relation between cause and effect that is required from the perspective of «transcendental institutionalism.»
John Rawls is often seen as the archetypal abstract Theoretician within political philosophy. Some will also find his theory utopian and rationalist, in the negative sense. In this paper, though, the aim is to demonstrate that Rawls political philosophy is deeply practical. This is done by an interpretation of three different elements in his thought: Philosophical method, the original position, and publicity. The interpretations of Richard Rorty and Burton Dreben are criticized, whereas the thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Pierre Hadot, and Stanley Cavell are used to clarify Rawls project.
The speech Habermas gives receiving the Frankfurt City Adorno Price in 1980 describes modernity as an unfinished project, and as part of this Surrealism, where everything is art and everyone an artist, as a false sublation of culture. Suggesting an alternative, namely looking at aesthetic experience as a form of communicative action, Habermas argues for social modernisation. This paper describes my own experiences of some of Piet Mondrians paintings in Habermas perspective where aesthetic experience becomes part of a lifeworld (Husserl), and thereby connects all three value spheres in the communicative action: the cognitive-instrumental, the moral-practical and the aesthetic-expressive, and not just one of them. Martin Jay criticises Habermas concept aesthetic-practical rationality, posing the question of what kind of learning process Habermas has in mind. I pick some points in the debate between them from the 80s, and relate the debate to some of Mondrians paintings. In doing this I pose two questions: Where is the feeling I get looking at Mondrians paintings coming from? and Can we regard this as communication in a way covered by Habermas concept of communicative action?