Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Philosophical foundations of Habermas’ critique of American foreign policy


Many critics have noted the sharp tone of Habermas’ critique of the Bush administration’s policies and actions in the wake of September 11 and the invasion of Iraq. Few have, however, noticed how far Habermas’ critique is anchored in his specific philosophical and theoretical outlook. The occasional and journalistic character of Habermas’ political interventions is likely to hide this theoretical basis of his critique. In this paper I shall argue that Habermas’ critique of the Bush administrations’ foreign policy emanates from and is founded upon his conception of Modernity specifically his views about the relationship between “particularity” and “generality.” The purpose of this essay is to make explicit how Habermas’ critique can be read as a critique of “particularism,” which Habermas sees operating behind American (and British) foreign policy, which in his view compromises the key achievements of Modernity (specially in its Kantian version).

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