Public Realm, The
Essays on Discursive Types in Political Philosophy
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This book offers a collection of essays in contemporary political philosophy from a wide range of Continental viewpoints. The authors include some of the most prominent European and European-oriented philosophers and political thinkers of our day.
Two sections out of four focus on the debate between prescriptive and descriptive types of political thinking. On the prescriptive or normative side, Karl-Otto Apel, Robert Paul Wolff, Robert Spaemann, Hans Jonas, and Jean-Francois Lyotard discuss current forms of legitimating political life via some ultimate grounding. On the descriptive or phenomenological side, Bernhard Waldenfels, Michel Henry, William J. Richardson, Jürgen Link, and Vincent Descombes argue that an understanding of praxis is always implied as one reaches insights into the life-world; there is no need to either construe or set normative standards for action.
The remaining two sections deal with transcendental and institutional types of political philosophy, respectively. Manfred Riedel, Stanley Rosen, Thomas Seebohm, and Ludwig Siep develop Kant's search for "a priori" conditions in the public realm; explicitly or implicitly, they confront the ancient Greek with the modern Enlightenment conceptions of life in public. Lastly, Agnes Heller, Alain Touraine, Reinhart Koselleck, and Bertram Schefold put to work many ways of looking at the life of our institutions.