Introduction: the foundation of justice -- Practical reason and justifying reasons: on the foundation of morality -- Moral autonomy and the autonomy of morality : toward a theory of normativity after Kant -- Ethics and morality -- The justification of justice: Rawls's political liberalism and Habermas's discourse theory in dialogue -- Political liberty: integrating five conceptions of autonomy -- A critical theory of multicultural toleration -- The rule of reasons: three models of deliberative democracy -- Social justice, justification, and power (...) -- The basic right to justification: toward a constructivist conception of human rights -- Constructions of transnational justice: comparing John Rawls's the law of peoples and Otfried Höffe's democracy in an age of globalisation -- Justice, morality, and power in the global context -- Toward a critical theory of transnational justice. (shrink)
The concept of toleration plays a central role in pluralistic societies. It designates a stance which permits conflicts over beliefs and practices to persist while at the same time defusing them, because it is based on reasons for coexistence in conflict - that is, in continuing dissension. A critical examination of the concept makes clear, however, that its content and evaluation are profoundly contested matters and thus that the concept itself stands in conflict. For some, toleration was and is an (...) expression of mutual respect in spite of far-reaching differences, for others, a condescending, potentially repressive attitude and practice. Rainer Forst analyses these conflicts by reconstructing the philosophical and political discourse of toleration since antiquity. He demonstrates the diversity of the justifications and practices of toleration from the Stoics and early Christians to the present day and develops a systematic theory which he tests in discussions of contemporary conflicts over toleration. (shrink)
Does it transform conflicts into productive tensions, or does it perpetuate underlying power relations? To what extent does tolerance hide its involvement with power and act as a form of depoliticization?
The same as with many other concepts, once one considers the concept of power more closely, fundamental questions arise, such as whether a power relation is necessarily a relation of subordination and domination, a view that makes it difficult to identify legitimate forms of the exercise of power. To contribute to conceptual as well as normative clarification, I suggest a novel way to conceive of power. I argue that we only understand what power is and how it is exercised once (...) we understand its essentially noumenal nature. I claim that the real and general phenomenon of power is to be found in the noumenal realm, that is, in the space of reasons, understood as the realm of justifications. On that basis, I defend a normatively neutral notion of power that enables us to distinguish more particular forms of power, such as rule, coercion, or domination. The analysis aims to prepare the way for a critical theory of power. (shrink)
_Contexts of Justice,_ highly acclaimed when it was published in Germany, provides a significant new intervention into the important debate between communitarianism and liberalism. Rainer Forst argues for a theory of "contexts of justice" that leads beyond the narrow confines of this debate as it has been understood until now and posits the possibility of a new conception of social and political justice. This book brings refreshing clarity to a complex topic as it provides a synthesis of traditions and theories (...) that leads to a truly original approach. Forst makes a four-part distinction to decipher the debate between communitarianism and liberalism. These four parts concern the constitution of the self, the neutrality of law, the ethos of democracy, and the opposition between universalism and contextualism. He shows that a comprehensive theory of justice needs to take these different contexts adequately into account. He discusses recent debates about discursive democracy and feminist critiques of liberalism, and addresses such topics as multiculturalism and civil society. (shrink)
The term “toleration”—from the Latin tolerare: to put up with, countenance or suffer—generally refers to the conditional acceptance of or non-interference with beliefs, actions or practices that one considers to be wrong but still “tolerable,” such that they should not be prohibited or constrained. There are many contexts in which we speak of a person or an institution as being tolerant: parents tolerate certain behavior of their children, a friend tolerates the weaknesses of another, a monarch tolerates dissent, a church (...) tolerates homosexuality, a state tolerates a minority religion, a society tolerates deviant behavior. Thus for any analysis of the motives and reasons for toleration, the relevant contexts need to be taken into account. (shrink)
In this collection of essays, the first translation into English of the ground-breaking 'Normativität und Macht' (Suhrkamp 2015), Rainer Forst presents a new approach to critical theory. Each essay reflects on the basic principles that guide our normative thinking. Forst's argument goes beyond 'ideal' and 'realist' theories and shows how closely the concepts of normativity and power are interrelated, and how power rests on the capacity to influence, determine, and possibly restrict the space of justifications for others. By combining insights (...) from the disciplines of philosophy, history, and the social sciences, Forst revaluates theories of justice, as well as of power, and provides the tools for a critical theory of relations of justification. Translated from German. (shrink)
This chapter explores the relationship between republican democracy and justice by comparing Philip Pettit's notion of neo-republicanism with that of Immanuel Kant. It begins by describing a republican, political conception of justice as nondomination and explaining why the discourse of republicanism and that of theories of justice often remain at odds with one another. It then considers the basis of a republican conception of justice as nondomination and locates it within the principle of justification, along with Pettit's idea of autonomy (...) and respect. It also examines the notions of ‘arbitrariness’ and ‘domination’ as well as Pettit's ‘negative republicanism’ and its emphasis on legally and politically secure freedom of choice. The chapter argues that a Kantian interpretation of modern republicanism is more convincing than Pettit's ‘negative republicanism’. (shrink)
Rainer Forst develops a critical theory capable of deciphering the deficits and potentials inherent in contemporary political reality. This calls for a perspective which is immanent to social and political practices and at the same time transcends them. Forst regards society as a whole as an ‘order of justification’ comprising complexes of different norms referring to institutions and corresponding practices of justification. The task of a ‘critique of relations of justification’, therefore, is to analyse such legitimations with regard to their (...) validity and genesis and to explore the social and political asymmetries leading to inequalities in the ‘justification power’ which enables persons or groups to contest given justifications and to create new ones. Starting from the concept of justification as a basic social practice, Forst develops a theory of political and social justice, human rights and democracy, as well as of power and of critique itself. In so doing, he engages in a critique of a number of contemporary approaches in political philosophy and critical theory. Finally, he also addresses the question of the utopian horizon of social criticism. (shrink)
This article argues that alienation should be understood as a particular form of individual and social heteronomy that can only be overcome by a dialectical combination of individual and collective autonomy, recovering a deontological sense of normative authority. If we think about alienation in Kantian terms, the main source of alienation is a denial of standing or, in the extreme, losing a sense of oneself as a rational normative authority equal to all others. I call the former kind of alienation, (...) where persons deny others equal standing as a normative authority in moral or political terms, first order noumenal alienation, as there is no proper mutual cognition and recognition of each other in such a social context. I call the latter kind of alienation, where a subject does not consider themselves an equal normative authority – or an ‘end in oneself’ – second order noumenal alienation. In this sense, alienation violates the dignity of humans as moral and political lawgivers – a dignity seen by Rousseau, Kant and Marx as inalienable: It can be denied or violated, but it cannot be lost. (shrink)
This paper argues for a conception of transnational justice that provides an alternative to globalist and statist views. In light of an analysis of the transnational context of justice, a critical theory is suggested that addresses the multiple relations of injustice and domination to be found in this context. Based on a universal, individual right to reciprocal and general justification, this theory argues for justifiable social and political relations both within and between states. In both of these contexts, it distinguishes (...) between minimal and maximal justice and stresses the interdependence of domestic and transnational justice. On both levels, minimal justice calls for a discursive structure of justification, whereas maximal justice implies a fully justified basic social structure. (shrink)
This article suggests a Kantian reading of Rawls’s Political Liberalism. As much as Rawls distanced himself from a presentation of his theory in terms of a comprehensive Kantian moral doctrine, we ought to read it as a noncomprehensive Kantian moral-political theory. According to the latter approach, the liberal conception of justice is compatible with a plurality of comprehensive doctrines as long as they share the independently defined and grounded essentials of that conception of justice—that is, as long as they are (...) “reasonable,” to use the term that does most of the Kantian work. (shrink)
In the practice of social criticism, the concept of human dignity has played and still plays an important role. In philosophical debates, however, we find widely divergent accounts of that concept, ranging from views based on a conception of human needs to religious approaches trying to explain the ‘inviolability’ of the person. The view presented here reconstructs the basic claim of human dignity historically and normatively as resting on the moral status of the person as a reason-giving, reason-demanding and reason-deserving (...) being. The person as holding a basic moral right to justification is the true ground for the claim of having one’s dignity respected: as someone who must not be subjected to norms, rules, or institutions which cannot be properly justified to that person in appropriate practices of justification. To possess human dignity means being an equal member in the realm of subjects and authorities of justification and to be respected as such. This is the moral ground of social criticism, implied in particular social and political demands raised in given historical contexts. Thus, critical theory has to be reoriented towards a critique of the relations of justification in a given social order of justification. (shrink)
This article argues that the civic virtue of tolerance has to be understood as a virtue of justice. Based on an analysis of the concept of toleration and its paradoxes, it shows that toleration is a 'normatively dependent concept' that needs to take recourse to a conception of justice in order to solve these paradoxes. At the center of this conception of justice lies a principle of reciprocal and general justification with the help of which a distinction between moral norms (...) and ethical values is possible. While the former are strictly binding and define the realm of the tolerable, the latter are subject to reasonable disagreement that calls for toleration. Essentially, the virtue of tolerance is the capacity and willingness to accept the principle and criteria of justification of generally binding norms in an ethically pluralist society.This virtue is analyzed with respect to its normative and epistemological components. Finally, the idea of a 'tolerant character' is discussed. (shrink)
This article analyses the debate between Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth in a dialectical fashion. Their controversy about how to construct a critical theory of justice is not just one about the proper balance between `redistribution' and `recognition', it also involves basic questions of social ontology. Differing both from Fraser's `twodimensional' view of `participatory parity' and from Honneth's `monistic' theory of recognition, the article argues for a third view of `justificatory monism and diagnosticevaluative pluralism', also called the `first-things-first' approach. According (...) to it, theories of recognition provide an essential sensorium for analyses of social suffering and of injustice, while with respect to the justification of justice claims, a discursive conception of justification is required. This, however, does not imply a purely `formal' account of justice; rather, it leads to a substantive understanding of the `grammar of justice', motivationally, socially and institutionally. Such an account of a critical theory of justice aims at a multidimensional critique of social and political `relations of justification'. (shrink)
In this article, I address the various objections raised by Simone Chambers, Stephen White and Lea Ypi concerning my version of a critical theory of politics. I explain the basic assumptions that inform my account of a critique of relations of justification, its particular method and aims.
Over the past 15 years, Rainer Forst has developed a fundamental research programme within the tradition of Frankfurt School Critical Theory. The core of this programme is a moral account of the basic right of justification that humans owe to one another as rational beings. This account is put to work by Forst in articulating - both historically and philosophically - the contexts and form of justice and of toleration. The result is a powerful theoretical framework within which to address (...) issues such as transnational justice and multicultural toleration. In this volume, Forst sets out his ideas in an extended essay, which is responded to be influential interlocutors including: Andrea Sangiovanni, Amy Allen, Kevin Olson, Anthony Laden, Eva Erman and Simon Caney. The volume concludes with Forst's response to his interlocutors. (shrink)
Wie kommt es, dass sich Menschen an normative Ordnungen halten, und aus welchen Normen bestehen diese? Die Frage nach deren bindender Kraft beleuchten die philosophischen Beiträge dieses Bandes. Ergänzend wird aus historischer Sicht untersucht, wie sich unterschiedliche Rechtfertigungsweisen von Ordnungen entwickelt haben. Der Konstruktion neuer internationaler Rechtsordnungen gehen die rechtswissenschaftlichen Beiträge nach. Aus politikwissenschaftlicher Perspektive wird schließlich gezeigt, auf welchen Prinzipien die institutionelle Gestaltung unserer politischen Welt beruht beziehungsweise beruhen sollte.
This paper discusses John Horton’s influential theory of toleration. Starting from his analysis of the paradoxes of toleration, I argue that the avoidance of these paradoxes requires a moral justification of toleration based on practical reason. I cite the conception of toleration that Pierre Bayle developed to support this claim. But Horton is skeptical of such a moral justification, and this creates problems for his account of toleration.