Niklas Luhmann, 1927–1998

Obituary Systemic supertheorist of the social Niklas Luhmann, 1927–1998 Openly dreaming of eternal life, Gaston Bachelard conceived of paradise as one huge library with miles of stacks, crammed with books. For Niklas Luhmann, the great German sociologist and metaphysician who recently died at the age of 70, after a protracted period of sickness, paradise probably […]

Constitutional state and democracy

In his Between Facts and Norms, [1] Jürgen Habermas offers a justification of the ʻdemocratic constitutional stateʼ from the viewpoint of his communicative or discourse theory, and gives a thorough exposition of his conception of democratic politics. In what follows I will attempt to give a general outline of Habermasʼs political philosophy and to suggest […]

The paradox of ‘the people’

The current discussion of a future juridical structure for the European Union is turning into a quest for a new European political culture. [1] Along with the discussion of the juridical structure an image of ʻEuropean valuesʼ is emerging, according to which the European continent comprises tolerant, democratic and peace-loving citizens. As well as being […]

Globalization and modern philosophy

While the need for the renovation of critical social theory has been evident for decades, radical critique has disappeared among leading philosophical schools. Mainstream social criticism, having silently accepted the rules of the game, has turned itself to the other side of the same, to a ʻcritical allyʼ of capitalism. As one modern critic puts […]

Remembering Adorno

Remembering Adorno John abromeit In his sociology of religion, but also in his analyses of bureaucracy in modern societies, Max Weber analysed the process by which ideas that aim for qualitative change, for a transvaluation of values, are worn down in the historical process, codified and routinized by interpreters, gradually brought back into line with […]

Ruptured formalism

Ruptured formalism The challenge of bioethics and the limits of moral formalism Konstantinos kavoulakos When one of the most famous living philosophers takes a stand on certain moral dilemmas that arise from the current boom in developments in the biosciences, it is natural that it should provoke great interest – all the more so as […]

Nihilism and faith

Nihilism and faith Rose, Bernstein and the future of Critical Theory Tony gorman In a succession of books the late Gillian Rose and Jay Bernstein have sought to defend and elaborate upon the Adornian inheritance both within Critical Theory, contra Habermas, [1] and beyond Critical Theory, contra post-structuralist and postmodernist thought. [2] In these works, […]

‘The journalists of Jyllands-Posten are a bunch of reactionary provocateurs’

Commentary ‘The journalists of JyllandsPosten are a bunch of reactionary provocateurs’ The Danish cartoon controversy and the self-image of Europe Heiko henkel As the controversy over the Danish ʻMuhammad cartoonsʼ gathered momentum, the apparent ease with which the cartoons – or rumours about them – were able to mobilize ʻcivilization-speakʼ, and occasional violence, around the […]

An immanent transcendental

An immanent transcendental Foucault, Kant and critical philosophy keith robinson Every philosophy conceals a philosophy; every opinion is also a hiding place, every word also a mask. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and EvilThe relation of Foucaultʼs work to philosophy remains an unsettled issue. Indeed, Foucault sometimes preferred to present himself as ʻthe masked philosopherʼ. Much like […]

Walter Benjamin and the Red Army Faction, Part 2

Critique of Violence: the deposing of the law Walter Benjamin and the Red Army Faction, Part 2 Irving wohlfarth Things fal apart; the centre cannot hold;Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. W.B. Yeats, ‘The Second Coming’The ‘Critique of Violence’ (1921, hereafter abbreviated to ‘Critique’) is the only published statement of Benjamin’s on politics and […]