Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Philosophy of the First-Person Singular: Vincent Descombes


According to Emile Benveniste, there are only 2 grammatical persons (the first and the second) because being a grammatical person is a matter of taking part actively in a dialogical act of speech. The so-called third person should rather be called the nonperson, the ‘‘absent’’ of the dialogue. Paul Ricoeur has questioned this interpretation of the third person in so far as it meets a philosophical dogma once maintained by Jean-Paul Sartre in his theory of the novel. Sartre claimed that the author of a novel when introducing a character into the narrative should choose between the first-person point of view and the third-person one. Ricoeur has rightly argued that this was not the case, as it is obviously possible to use the grammatical third person in order to present the personal thoughts and feelings of somebody else. If one could not do that, it would not be possible to consider ‘‘oneself as another.’’

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Habermas and/against the Internet

Some interesting comments here

Political Communication in Media Society

Political Communication in Media Society: Does Democracy Still Enjoy an Epistemic Dimension? The Impact of Normative Theory on Empirical Research1

Jürgen Habermas
Philosophy Department, Johann-Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt, GermanyJürgen Habermas1 Philosophy Department, Johann-Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany


I first compare the deliberative to the liberal and the republican models of democracy, and consider possible references to empirical research and then examine what empirical evidence there is for the assumption that political deliberation develops a truth-tracking potential. The main parts of the paper serve to dispel prima facie doubts about the empirical content and the applicability of the communication model of deliberative politics. It moreover highlights 2 critical conditions: mediated political communication in the public sphere can facilitate deliberative legitimation processes in complex societies only if a self-regulating media system gains independence from its social environments and if anonymous audiences grant a feedback between an informed elite discourse and a responsive civil society.

Communication Theory
Volume 16 Issue 4 Page 411 - November 2006

Monday, March 5, 2007

Habermas and Violence

Panel "Habermas and Violence" - during the Political Theory Workshops, Fourth Annual Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, 3 - 5 September 2007

We are currently looking for contributions to the panel on "Habermas and Violence" to be held at the Fourth Annual conference of the Political Theory Workshops (see We are specifically looking at the writings of Jurgen Habermas not only because he is one of the most prominent political thinkers and public intellectuals of our era, but also because he has continuously attempted to bring critical theory to bear on contemporary political affairs. The aim of this panel is thererefore precisely to investigate what problems we encounter when applying his normative models of discourse ethics and communicative action to concrete situations. Do the idealising structures have a totalising and repressive effect on the concrete content? What kind of relationship exists beteen the real and the ideal? We are, therefore, particularly interested in exploring the application of Habermas in a variety of contexts relating to violence, including but not limited to: feminist critiques of his discursive model, conflict and International Relations, issues of civil disobedience, and questions of Otherness. Our definition of violence in this panel is necessarily quite broad. We are interested in the application of Habermas's framework to external affairs as a form of conflict resolution as well in the potential problems of 'violence' that permeate Habermas's own work.

Should you be interested in submitting a short abstract and presenting a paper during the conference, then please contact us. Or should you wish to discuss an idea, then please also feel free to contact either Vivienne Boon, University of Liverpool (vivienne DOT boon AT liverpool DOT ac DOT uk) or Naomi Head, University of Leeds (naomi DOT head AT talk21 DOT com).