The Politics of Autonomy and the Challenge of Deliberation: Castoriadis Contra Habermas

Thesis Eleven 64 (1):1-19 (2001)
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Abstract

Contemporary Anglo-American political thought is witnessing a revival of theories of deliberative democracy. The principle of public argumentation, according to which the legitimation of a general norm is predicated upon a rational and open dialog among all those affected by this norm, constitutes their common underlying assumption. This assumption is itself grounded in the metatheoretical claim that arguing is the defining activity of a demos of free and equal members. Habermas' well-known formulation of communicative or discursive democracy represents one of the earliest, most discussed, and indeed most emblematic versions of the existing models of deliberative democracy. It is here, I believe, that Castoriadis' political theory can prove exceptionally important as it provides a starting point and a solid ground for articulating one of the most incisive and convincing critiques of the limits and flaws of communicative democracy. Although Castoriadis himself never directly discussed deliberative democracy as such, we can try to approximate from various parts of his work what he might have thought about, especially when it comes to Habermas' model

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After virtue: a study in moral theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1981 - Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.
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