Jürgen Habermas claims to be continuing the Left Hegelian project of an immanent critique of modern society. This paper discusses the way in which Habermas draws on Hegels concept of recognition in formulating a discourse ethics. While Hegels concept of recognition establishes a close link between normativity and identity, Habermas is not able to integrate this aspect of Hegel into his theory due to the ambition of articulating a moral point of view. His ethical minimalism restricts Habermas to a formal concept of recognition that cannot explain why people accept certain norms or why they choose to act in accordance with them. The refusal to grant any normative role to subjectivity, i.e. to individual self-understanding, makes Habermas unable to grasp the nature of human actions. It is argued that Habermas cannot avoid this kind of deep normativity. Only by returning to Hegel can we achieve an alternative account of human agency that makes it possible to see the unity of action and identity.
Axel Honneth–alongside with Charles Taylor–is criticized by Nancy Fraser for reducing political philosophy to a politics of recognition. In this article, I argue that if Honneths theory of recognition is reframed as a theory of democracy, quite another picture will appear. To do this, I systematically reconstruct Honneths stance as a radical and multidimensional theory of democracy. The research question I discuss is in what manner Honneths framework combines the three dimensions of democratic deliberation, the democracys pre-political precondition, and political conflict? I then discuss Honneths theory of radical democracy from both a deliberative and an agonistic viewpoint. How one understands the way in which Honneth combines the three above mentioned dimensions is depending on which one of these two approaches one may find the most plausible. I hold that when taken together, these three dimensions is the grounding of a democratic understanding of a struggle for recognition.
What is the place of worldviews in general and indigenous philosophy in particular in legal-political discussions on the regulation of the relationship between states and indigenous peoples? Canadian aboriginal philosopher Dale Turner provides the starting-point for the discussion of this issue. Turner takes a restrictive view of the use of arguments based on worldviews understood as indigenous spirituality and indigenous philosophy in the public use of reason. According to Turner, it is difficult to translate such arguments, based on worldviews, but they must be incorporated somehow in the public political debate. Turners position is examined, based on John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas thoughts on public use of reason in the political community. The article concludes with a discussion of Turners delimitation of philosophy and metaphysics.
This article presents a critique of two influential interpretations of Hegels concept of spirit: Jürgen Habermass and Charles Taylorss. Habermass interpretation focuses on the break he sees Hegel undertaking when moving from the early to the late Jena-period. Hegel, Habermas claims, first formulates, but then abandons, a «detranscendentalized» and intersubjective conception of spirit, essentially regressing to a pre-critial mentalistic metaphysics. I argue that there is no such break and that Hegels conception of spirit includes a strong conception of both singular consciousness and intersubjectivity. Against Charles Taylors interpretation of Hegel concept of spirit as cosmic spirit, I argue that this cannot be a spirit that reduces individuality to a part of an all-encompassing whole. I finally try to combine insights from Habermass and Taylors interpretations in a short exposition of Hegels concept of spirit as a process of self-manifestation. This reveals a fundamental tension in Hegels system and points to a need for revisiting ontological readings of it.
Davidson and Chomsky, though differing on much in the study of language, are united in the view that the traditional notion of a shared language, such as English or Norwegian, has no part to play in a scientific or philosophical understanding of linguistic competence and communication. Davidson accepts Chomskys ideas about our linguistic ability as underpinned by dedicated and possibly hard-wired aspects of the mind/brain, but does not see this as relevant to a constitutive account of meaning and communication; Chomsky sees Davidsons philosophy of language, like all others based on semantic notions, as doomed to obscurity. Against this background I subject Davidsons argument from malapropisms for the view that there are no such things as languages to critical scrutiny. I conclude that it fails to show that communication does not rest on shared languages, but only that we speak a lot more such languages than we are ordinarily inclined to suppose. This consequence, of interest in its own right, also seems absurd. In the context of a Chomsky-Davidson debate, in which one is sceptical of the traditional concept of a language, this provides a corresponding lift for Chomskys overall perspective on language and the study thereof.