"It was interesting to see Habermas back down so easily on this and other matters; indeed, throughout the presentation you simply wouldn't have known just how famous (and deservedly so) he is. His modesty was extremely attractive -- and was a model for all of us. He didn't assume he had an answer for everything -- and his dialogue mirrored the paper's emphasis on learning from one another. One area where he was especially coy was when he was pressed for institutional design ideas or practical ways to police the sort of reason-giving he thinks critical to the public political sphere. For a colloquium in a law school, he was notably short on practical ideas. This didn't seem to matter much to him; it seemed clear that he just thinks there is a division of labor in the academy and it isn't his role to specify how to bring his ideas into a workable set of legal rules. It was interesting especially for me -- since the tone of my first book is very aggressive toward Habermas's talking big about deliberative democracy without making any effort to offer real, practical ways to imagine one."
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