Seyla Benhabib
Yale University
Jürgen Habermas’s opus magnum, Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie, synthesises his impressive work of the last half century. His thesis is that the modern project of the normativity of “rational freedom” can be reconstructed as a learning process of the conflictual dialogue between reason and faith, philosophy and religion in the West. Furthermore, under conditions of a world society, cross-cultural communication across lifeworlds, based on such normative principles, is possible. I argue that Habermas’s argument recapitulates a claim first made in The Phenomenology of Spirit by Hegel, who presented the normativity of modernity through a narrative unfolding between two epistemological standpoints, namely, that of consciousness and “we.” Just like Hegel, in order to defend the idea of a Lernprozess, Habermas too must presuppose a unified subject called “we;” furthermore the development of such subjectivity unfolds in a homogeneous temporal process that is then assumed to be the same for all mankind. I call this a form of “historicism,” and juxtapose recent historical writing that presents the narrative of modernity and the emergence of world-society as a much more diverse and fractured process than Hegel’s and Habermas’s methodology. “Die Einbeziehung der Anderen,” I argue, must involve including the voices of those others who do not experience the normative of modernity as a process like the one unfolding between faith and reason in the West. Nevertheless, I conclude that this plea for a more complex narrative that “provincialises Europe,” is not a rejection of the normative legacy of modern rationality and freedom that are based on the ideals of fallibilism, refutability and revisability through a rational community of inquirers.
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DOI 10.1515/dzph-2021-0046
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Justice, Gender and the Family.Susan Moller Okin - 1989 - Hypatia 8 (1):209-214.

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