New issue of "Public Reason"

A new issue of the online journal "Public Reason" (Vol. 2, No 2) is available. It includes

Modus Vivendi, Consensus, and (Realist) Liberal Legitimacy
Enzo Rossi (University of Wales)

“Scales of Justice” and the Challenges of Global Governmentality
Ina Kerner (Humboldt University of Berlin)

The Basis of Universal Liberal Principles in Nussbaum’s Political Philosophy
Matthias Katzer (University of Siegen)

Dussel’s Critique of Discourse Ethics as Critique of Ideology
Asger Sørensen (University of Aarhus)

Amartya Sen, The Idea of Justice (pdf)
Reviewed by Stefan Bird-Pollan (University of Kentucky)


Mendieta on Habermas's forthcoming book on religion

In a new essay on Habermas's thoughts on "Rationalization, modernity and secularization", Eduardo Mendieta gives us some information about Habermas's forthcoming book on religion:

"In autumn 2008, Habermas gave a series of lectures at Yale, which were followed the next autumn by another set of lectures, and a seminar at Stony Brook University on "Political Theology". That same autumn a workshop was organized on Habermas's recent work on religion for which he made available several large manuscripts of what appears to be the working draft for a book on religion. The workshop yielded a large manuscript of essays engaging Habermas's comprehensive rethinking of some of his earlier ideas and formulations on religion. One of the centrepieces of this working draft is a critique of modernization theory that links social progress to secularization. Here Habermas aims to show why secularization theory has been mistaken on several accounts and why we must attenuate and revise some of its major claims. At the very least if we are to hold on to the basic claims of modernization theory, we must uncouple them from strong "secularist" assumptions.This critique of modernization theory is matched by a turn towards the latest work on anthropology, ethnography and archeology that is theorizing the relationship between ritual, the emergence of mythological narratives and the evolution of human mind. These is also a long chapter on the Axial Age and the simultaneous emergence of universal, monotheistic religions and world-transcending philosophical perspectives."

Eduardo Mendieta's essay is published in Barbara Fultner (ed): Jürgen Habermas - Key Concepts (Acumen, 2011), pp. 222-238. See my post on the book here.

Eduardo Mendieta is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. In 2002, he edited Jürgen Habermas's "Religion and Rationality. Essays on Reason, God, and Modernity" (MIT Press & Polity Press, 2002), which includes Mendieta's famous interview with Habermas: "A Conversation About God and the World" from 1999. Later this year a new book on "Habermas and Religion" will come out on Polity Press, edited by Craig Calhoun, Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan vanAnwerpen.

Also see Mendieta's interview with Jürgen Habermas "A Postsecular World Society?" (2009) [pdf]


New introduction to John Rawls

Rawls Explained
From Fairness to Utopia

by Paul Voice

(Open Court, 2011)

176 pages


This book introduces the reader to the political theories of the American philosopher John Rawls. Rawls Explained sets out Rawls’s complex arguments in a way that makes them accessible to first-time readers of his hugely influential work. This book is both clear in its exposition of Rawls’s ideas and is true to the complex purposes of his arguments. It also attends to the variety of objections that have been made to Rawls’s arguments since it is these objections that have shaped the progression of his work.

Contents [preview]


Part I: A Theory of Justice

1. Two Introductory Ideas
2. The Analytic of Justice
3. The Practicum of Justice
4. The Theoretical Basis of Justice
5. Objections and Responses

Part II: Political Liberalism

1. The Good in Political Liberalism
2. The Justfication of the Principles Reconsidered
3. The Right and the Good Revisited
4. Objections and Responses

Part III: The Law of Peoples

1. Ideal Theory - An Analytic of International Justice
2. The Practicum of International Justice
3. Objections and Responses


Paul Voice teaches philosophy at Bennington College, Vermont. He is the author of "Morality and Agreement: A Defense of Moral Contractarianism" (Peter Lang, 2002).

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