Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Rethinking Critical Theory

International Journal of Philosophical Studies has published an special issue on critical theory and its future. Here is the details of contributions with their abstracts:

Suffering Injustice: Misrecognition as Moral Injury in Critical Theory

J.M. Bernstein
A1 New School for Social Research, New York, USA

It is the persistence of social suffering in a world in which it could be eliminated that for Adorno is the source of the need for critical reflection, for philosophy. Philosophy continues and gains its cultural place because an as yet unbridgeable abyss separates the social potential for the relief of unnecessary human suffering and its emphatic continuance. Philosophy now is the culturally bound repository for the systematic acknowledgement and articulation of the meaning of the expanse of human suffering within technologically advanced societies that are already committed to liberal ideals of freedom and equality.

Disclosing Possibility: The Past and Future of Critical Theory1

Nikolas Kompridis
A1 York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

In this paper I indicate the reasons why critical theory needs an alternative conception of critique, and then I sketch out what such an alternative should be. The conception of critique I develop involves a time‐responsive redisclosure of the world capable of disclosing new or previously unnoticed possibilities, possibilities in light of which agents can change their self‐understanding and their practices, and change their orientation to the future and the past.

We, Heirs of Enlightenment: Critical Theory, Democracy and Social Science

James Bohman

A1 St Louis University, St Louis, Missouri, USA

My goal here is to come to terms with the Enlightenment as the horizon of critical social science. First, I consider in more detail the understanding of the Enlightenment in Critical Theory, particularly in its conception of the sociality of reason. Second, I develop an account of freedom in terms of human powers, along the lines of recent capability conceptions that link freedom to the development of human powers, including the power to interpret and create norms. Finally, I show the ways in which the social sciences can be moral sciences in the Enlightenment sense. This account provides us with a coherent Enlightenment standard by which to judge institutions as promoting development, understood in terms of the capabilities necessary for freedom. The relevant social science in this area might include the robust generalization that there has never been a famine in a democratic society.

Avoiding Authoritarianism: On the Problem of Justification in Contemporary Critical Social Theory

Maeve Cooke
A1 University College Dublin, Ireland

Critical social theories look critically at the ways in which particular social arrangements hinder human flourishing, with a view to bringing about social change for the better. In this they are guided by the idea of a good society in which the identified social impediments to human flourishing would once and for all have been removed. The question of how these guiding ideas of the good life can be justified as valid across socio‐cultural contexts and historical epochs is the most fundamental difficulty facing critical social theories today. This problem of justification, which can be traced back to certain key shifts in the modern Western social imaginary, calls on contemporary theories to negotiate the tensions between the idea of context‐transcendent validity and their own anti‐authoritarian impulses. Habermas makes an important contribution towards resolving the problem, but takes a number of wrong turnings.

No comments:

Locations of visitors to this page