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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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... affairs as (at best) a conscientious return from the heights to ‘the cave’? Jürgen Habermas 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. John Rawls’s writing is scrupulously, evenly distant from ...

Agreeing what’s right

Peter Dews, 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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... events illustrate the drawback of one possible interpretation of Faktizität und Geltung, Jürgen Habermas’s new book on the philosophy of law and the theory of the constitutional state. Under the headline ‘Jürgen Habermas makes peace with the constitutional state’, a pre-publication review in Der Spiegel sought to ...

Love thy neighbourhood

Terry Eagleton, 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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... as German Neo-Hegelians on the whole are not. One would not rush to open a novel by Jürgen Habermas, 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 themselves naturally to literature. It is no accident that ...

The Sober Science

Mark Lilla, 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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... In part, this choice was dictated by political events. The Frankfurt sociology of Jürgen Habermas 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 these disciplines became as much means of engaging in politics as ...

Gassing and Bungling

Glen Newey, 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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... being shoved into Topf-style incinerators. Irony, or even memory, was at a discount. Jürgen Habermas 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 his recent work now barely distinguishable from orthodox ...

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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... detained in fighting their own corners in the national politics that concern them. Jürgen Habermas 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 that existing political parties, at first in their own respective ...

Short Cuts

Jan-Werner Müller: Playing Democracy, 18 June 2014

... the ‘Ode to Joy’ on the way home from the polling station. Yet it seems that only Jürgen Habermas, 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. Or does it? There are at least two problems with this somewhat ...

Congenial Aspirations

W.G. Runciman, 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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... 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 visitor to the philosophy departments of American ...

Thinking without a Banister

James Miller, 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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... ever – as a philosopher, as a political theorist, as an exemplary analyst of history. Jürgen Habermas 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 – Vaclav Havel, for one – have endorsed a distinction first ...

What do Germans think about when they think about Europe?

Jan-Werner Müller: Germany’s Europe, 9 February 2012

... and Germany’s absorption into Europe – not necessarily in the form of a federal state. Jürgen Habermas 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 the purpose of European integration as preserving the postwar ...

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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... 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 thinkers, such as Nietzsche or Weber, and his complex ...

Barraclough’s Overview

C.B. Macpherson, 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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... 20th-century capitalism. A good deal of work has been done on this – by, for example, Jürgen Habermas, 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 picture of the world we live in, the forces at work in it, and the ...

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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Metacritique 
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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... not even then, they will want a proof of possible freedom. Hence their interest now in Jürgen Habermas, that ‘unifying force’, as Gillian Rose grandiloquently describes him, ‘in the international world of sociological reason’. He produces a reasoned reflection on our collective biography in which he claims to reveal our rational will. There ...

Bring on the hypnotist

Neal Ascherson, 12 March 1992

After the Fall: The Failure of Communism and the Future of Socialism 
edited by Robin Blackburn.
Verso, 327 pp., £32.95, November 1991, 0 86091 540 9
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... has to be at the centre of socialist thinking. This is an assumption on which Professor Jürgen Habermas, a great authority among the German radical young back in 1968, now turns ferociously. Like En-zensberger, he dismisses the 1989 upheavals as ‘revolutions of recuperation’ with a ‘total lack of ideas that are either innovative or oriented towards ...

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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... One of the two original formulations of the term ‘Post-Modern’ was in a speech made by Jürgen Habermas 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, he sought to impose the Post-Modern label on a wide range of ...

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