This provocative collection of essays seeks to clarify and redefine mainstream political and social concepts whose meaning is problematic. Their touchstone is the relation between polis and praxis—the public-political space and the political action that maintains and is conditioned by that space. The result is a stimulating and original contribution to current political discourse that explores and advocates the manifold possible levels of active political life below and above the level of the state.
In an open philosophical inquiry, the author conducts a dialogue with many of this century's seminal thinkers as he takes up such topics as the plausibility of friendship as a model for political relations, the relation between political praxis and "experience," Heidegger's ontology of freedom, Foucault's treatment of power, and the merits and disadvantages of Habermasian critical theory.
This timely reader in moral philosophy addresses a controversy that strongly affected recent European reflections on the relevance of ethics for theories of democratic institutions and democratic legitimacy. The debate centers around the idea of a communicative ethics as articulated by Jürgen Habermas and Karl-Otto Apel, and it is representative both of recent attempts to bridge the gap between Continental and Anglo-American philosophy and of the turn to language that has characterized much of recent philosophy.
The Communicative Ethics Controversy illustrates philosophical dialogue in action, moving from theses to counterarguments to rejoinders. Theoretical statements by Habermas, Apel, and two of their leading students, Dietrich Böhler and Robert Alexy, are followed by a series of five arguments by their leading critics, who represent viewpoints ranging from Kantian idealism to Wittgensteinian ordinary-language theory. Fred Dallmayr's introduction and Seyla Benhabib's incisive conclusion place the debate in perspective, bringing it up to date and relating it to the Anglo-American context.
Seyla Benhabib is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Fred Dallmayr is Packey Dee Professor of Government at the University of Notre Dame.
Contributors: Robert Alexy. Karl-Otto Apel. Seyla Benhabib. Dietrich Bohler. Jurgen Habermas. Otfried Hoffe. KarlHeinz Ilting. Hermann Lubbe. Herbert Schnadelbach. Albrecht Wellmer.