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The New Restoration

Onora O’Neill

22 November 1990
The New Conservatism: Cultural Criticism and the Historians’ Debate 
by Jürgen Habermas, translated by Shierry Weber Nicholsen.
Polity, 270 pp., £29.50, February 1990, 0 7456 0679 2
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... aloof and distanced posture, like Plato after his early political disappointments, who views concern with this-worldly affairs as (at best) a conscientious return from the heights to ‘the cave’? JürgenHabermas and John Rawls are surely the two most distinguished political philosophers of our day, and their work exhibits many parallels: but on this deeply political matter they are worlds apart ...
13 May 1993
Faktizität und Geltung: Beiträge zur Diskurstheorie des Rechts und des demokratischen Rechtsstaats 
by Jürgen Habermas.
Suhrkamp, 667 pp., October 1992, 3 518 58127 9
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... the Greens) repudiated the speaker, and the furore occupied the local press for a fortnight afterwards. These events illustrate the drawback of one possible interpretation of Faktizität und Geltung, JürgenHabermas’s new book on the philosophy of law and the theory of the constitutional state. Under the headline ‘JürgenHabermas makes peace with the constitutional state’, a pre-publication ...
8 May 1997
Between Facts and Norms 
by Jürgen Habermas, translated by William Rehg.
Polity, 631 pp., £45, July 1996, 0 7456 1229 6
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... on offer was rein deutscher Herkunft – of pure German origin; grim photos in Der Spiegel showed British bovines being shoved into Topf-style incinerators. Irony, or even memory, was at a discount. JürgenHabermas has witnessed the republic’s divagations from Weimar through Nazism and partition to reunification, and in some measure his intellectual progress has mimicked that of Germany itself. With ...
16 November 1995
The Curious Enlightenment of Professor Caritat 
by Steven Lukes.
Verso, 261 pp., £14.95, November 1995, 1 85984 948 2
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... Saxon philosophers are notable for their penchant for jokes, satiric gibes, homespun examples, dotty anecdotes, as German Neo-Hegelians on the whole are not. One would not rush to open a novel by JürgenHabermas, but Richard Rorty no doubt has a few suave short stories inside him. There are philosophical idioms which are inherently anti-fictional – positivism, for instance – and those which lend ...
20 April 1995
German Ideology: From France to Germany and Back 
by Louis Dumont.
Chicago, 259 pp., £25.95, March 1995, 0 226 16952 9
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... to orthodox Marxism in the post-war years, the Germans leaned towards sociology, the French towards anthropology. In part, this choice was dictated by political events. The Frankfurt sociology of JürgenHabermas became prominent in the wake of the Wirtschaftswunder, while the structural anthropology of Claude Lévi-Strauss spoke to French misgivings about the colonial experience. In both countries ...

Invented Communities

David Runciman: Post-nationalism

19 July 2001
Democracy in Europe 
by Larry Siedentop.
Penguin, 254 pp., £8.99, June 2001, 0 14 028793 0
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The Postnational Constellation: Political Essays 
by Jürgen Habermas, translated by Max Pensky.
Polity, 216 pp., £45, December 2000, 0 7456 2351 4
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... is conceiving how this politics will emerge from the parties we have at present, all of which are unavoidably detained in fighting their own corners in the national politics that concern them. JürgenHabermas articulates the problem as follows: ‘This legitimation process’ – of a federal European politics – ‘has to be supported by a European party system that can develop to the degree ...

Short Cuts

Jan-Werner Müller: Playing Democracy

18 June 2014
... was never any reason to think that people would rush out to ratify the EU as it currently operates and whistle the ‘Ode to Joy’ on the way home from the polling station. Yet it seems that only JürgenHabermas, still the most prominent defender of the EU on the left, has seen the positive side, his position summed up by Occupy’s slogan from a different moment: this is what democracy looks like ...
9 February 2012
... could make the whole thing collapse. There is an obvious alternative to hegemony: more democracy in the EU, and Germany’s absorption into Europe – not necessarily in the form of a federal state. JürgenHabermas keeps pushing for a proper European constitution. Europe has been a major concern for two decades now, but his main justification for supporting the EU has shifted somewhat. Initially he saw ...
19 October 1995
Hannah Arendt/Martin Heidegger 
by Elzbieta Ettinger.
Yale, 139 pp., £10.95, October 1995, 0 300 06407 1
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Essays in Understanding, 1930-1954: Uncollected and Unpublished Works 
by Hannah Arendt, edited by Jerome Kohn.
Harcourt Brace, 458 pp., $39.95, May 1994, 0 15 172817 8
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Hannah Arendt: A Reinterpretation of Her Political Thought 
by Margaret Canovan.
Cambridge, 298 pp., £12.95, September 1995, 0 521 47773 5
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Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy 
edited by Carol Brightman.
Secker, 412 pp., £25, July 1995, 0 436 20251 4
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Hannah Arendt/Karl Jaspers: Correspondence, 1926-1969 
edited by Lotte Kohler and Hans Saner, translated by Robert and Rita Kimber.
Harcourt Brace, 821 pp., $49.95, November 1992, 0 15 107887 4
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... after The Origins of Totalitarianism established her international reputation, Hannah Arendt looms larger than ever – as a philosopher, as a political theorist, as an exemplary analyst of history. JürgenHabermas has expressed admiration for her, as have avowed Post-Modernists, who share her declared freedom from metaphysical and moral presuppositions. Democratic intellectuals in Eastern Europe – ...

Against Solitude

Martin Jay: Karl Jaspers

8 June 2006
Karl Jaspers, a Biography: Navigations in Truth 
by Suzanne Kirkbright.
Yale, 352 pp., £25, November 2004, 0 300 10242 9
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... Who now still reads Karl Jaspers? Compared to the other still influential giants of 20th-century German philosophy – Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer, Adorno, Habermas, Arendt, Cassirer and Wittgenstein (I’m including Austrians) – he has faded from the canon. At least in the English-speaking world, Jaspers is now remembered more for his writings on other ...

Ideal Speech

Geoffrey Hawthorn

19 November 1981
Hegel contra Sociology 
by Gillian Rose.
Athlone, 261 pp., £18, May 1981, 0 485 11214 0
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The Political Philosophy of the Frankfurt School 
by George Friedman.
Cornell, 312 pp., £9.50, February 1981, 9780801412790
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by Garbis Kortian, translated by John Raffan.
Cambridge, 134 pp., £12.50, August 1980, 0 631 12779 8
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The Idea of a Critical Theory 
by Raymond Geuss.
Cambridge, 99 pp., £10, December 1981, 0 521 24072 7
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The Politics of Social Theory 
by Russell Keat.
Blackwell, 245 pp., £12.50, August 1981, 0 631 12779 8
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Critical Hermeneutics 
by John Thompson.
Cambridge, 257 pp., £17.50, September 1981, 9780521239325
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Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences 
by Paul Ricoeur, translated by John Thompson.
Cambridge, 314 pp., £20, September 1981, 0 521 23497 2
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... Optimists, though, will protest. Like Rousseau only when he sat down to write The Social Contract, and perhaps not even then, they will want a proof of possible freedom. Hence their interest now in JürgenHabermas, that ‘unifying force’, as Gillian Rose grandiloquently describes him, ‘in the international world of sociological reason’. He produces a reasoned reflection on our collective ...
19 June 1980
Turning-Points in World History 
by Geoffrey Barraclough.
Thames and Hudson, 96 pp., £4.50, November 1979, 0 500 25067 7
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... in the end at least have been drawn to the currently much-debated question of structural changes within late 20th-century capitalism. A good deal of work has been done on this – by, for example, JürgenHabermas, James O’Connor, Claus Offe and Alan Wolfe – which could have been brought into even the very brief summary view that Turning-Points affords, but it is not mentioned. Without it, the ...
4 October 1984
The Theory of Communicative Action. Vol. One: Reason and the Rationalisation of Society 
by Jurgen Habermas, translated by Thomas McCarthy.
Heinemann, 456 pp., £25, May 1984, 0 435 82391 4
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... philosophers were equally ready to dismiss analytical philosophy in its Anglo-Saxon form as flippant and trivial. It is a measure of how far things have changed for the better that Professor Habermas of Frankfurt not only commands a substantial following in the English-speaking world but is himself as willing to proffer a citation from Austin or Ryle as from Husserl or Heidegger. He is a frequent ...

Laid Down by Ranke

Peter Ghosh: Defending history

15 October 1998
In Defence of History 
by Richard J. Evans.
Granta, 320 pp., £8.99, October 1998, 1 86207 068 7
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... the people we call Post-Modern or Post-Structuralist’ This was, at least, a carefully stated uncertainty. One of the two original formulations of the term ‘Post-Modern’ was in a speech made by JürgenHabermas in 1980, published in English under the heading ‘Modernity v. Post-Modernity’. Having displayed a distinctively German preoccupation with ‘modernisation’ in the Sixties and Seventies ...


Richard Rorty

3 September 1987
Der Philosophische Diskurs der Moderne: Zwölf Vorlesungen 
by Jürgen Habermas.
Suhrkamp, 302 pp., £54, February 1985, 3 518 57702 6
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... task. Hegel never quite recovered from Marx’s description of his social and historical role. Nietzsche is still reeling from Heidegger’s description of him as ‘the last metaphysician’. If Habermas has his way, we shall, from now on, have to think of Heidegger, Derrida and Foucault as philosophers who tried and failed to achieve something which they were doomed never to achieve, warped as they ...

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