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Jürgen Habermas

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:: Habermas at Northwestern University (15-08-2005 21:00)
This fall Jürgen Habermas is teaching two courses at The Department of Philosophy, Northwestern University:

Topics in Social and Political Philosophy

Course description:
Starting from classical authors of the contractualist tradition (Locke, Rousseau and Kant), I will first analyse the liberal and republican roots of contemporary Political Liberalism (John Rawls). A critical assessment of this theory is to yield the normative background for a discussion of various models of democracy which prevail in political science. Of these “elitist”, “social-democratic”, “pluralist” and “deliberative” models each stresses one of several characteristic features of modern political systems (the organizational complexity of civil society, socio-economic stratification, religious and cultural pluralism, and the political impact of media and information networks). These models are still tailor-made for nation states and reveal specific limitations in view of the present post-national constellation. I will, therefore, extend our discussion on recent changes in international law, provide exemplary analyses of international organisations and transnational networks, and finish with an outlook on competing visions of a “new world order”.

Seminar: Special Topics

Course description:
Progress in biogenetics, neurology and robotics has sparked a wider reaching discussion on what it means to conceive of human beings as an integral part of nature. In this context the kind of naturalism for which science counts as “the measure of all things” deserves second thoughts. Whereas Winfrid Sellars wrote still in the wake of the Unified Science movement, Quine is the main source for a scientism that informed the orthodox view in Anglo-Saxon philosophy. With reference to this background I propose a discussion of the deviating views of Putnam, Rorty, Davidson, Mc Dowell and others. With regard to recent voices in psychology and neurology in favour of a naturalist self-objectivation of persons, I am moreover interested in the long standing problem of Freedom and Determinism: Is our intuitive understanding of agency and of the practice of reason-giving up for revision?
Thomas Gregersen