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Critical Theory and the Seducement of the "Art of the Possible"

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2003

Omid A. Payrow Shabani
Affiliation:
New School University, New York, NY

Extract

In order to remedy the difficulties arising from his lifeworld/system distinction, such as the inability of his theory to account for the possibility of legitimate political power, Jürgen Habermas' attention turned toward greater abstraction through an appeal to legal theory as the basis of political consensus in the face of problems of diversity, complexity and pluralism in the modern world. This turn is made possible by an appropriation of some concepts of liberal theory, specifically John Rawls's ideas of "overlapping consensus" and "reflective equilibrium." The author argues that Habermas' insufficiently critical appropriation of these concepts leads to an inadequate account of political power that takes the existing political order as already legitimate, thereby compromising the critical thrust of his own theory.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Canadian Political Science Association (l'Association canadienne de science politique) and/et la Société québécoise de science politique

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