The Ends of Solidarity

Discourse Theory in Ethics and Politics

By Max Pensky

Subjects: Philosophy, Democracy, Ethics, Political Philosophy, Sociology
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791473641, 276 pages, January 2009
Hardcover : 9780791473634, 276 pages, March 2008

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Table of contents

1. Solidarity
The Adventures of a Concept between Fact and Norm
2. “No forced Unity”
Cosmopolitan Democracy, National Identity, and Political Solidarity
3. Migration and Solidarity
Studies in Immigration Law and Policy
4. Constitutional Solidarity and Constitutional Scope
The Dynamics of Immigration and the Constitutional Project of the European Union
5. Brussels or Jerusalem?
Civil Society and Religious Solidarity in the New Europe
6. Justice and Solidarity
Discourse Ethics
7. All that Bears a Human Face
Genetic Technologies, Philosophical Anthropology, and the Ethical Self-Understanding of the Species

An in-depth look at the theory of solidarity of German philosopher Jürgen Habermas, serving also as a comprehensive introduction to his work.


Jürgen Habermas's discourse theory demands that human beings see themselves in relations of solidarity that cross national, racial, and religious divides. While his theory has won adherents across a spectrum of contemporary debates, the required vision of solidarity has remained largely unexplored. In The Ends of Solidarity, Max Pensky fills this void by examining Habermas's theory of solidarity, while also providing a comprehensive introduction to the German philosopher's work. Pensky explores the impact of Habermasian discourse theory on a range of contemporary debates in politics and ethics, including the prospect of a cosmopolitan democracy across national borders; the solidarity demanded by the integration process in the European Union; the demands that immigration dynamics make on inclusive democratic societies; the divisive or unifying effects of religion in Western democracies; and the current controversies in genetic technology.

Max Pensky is Professor of Philosophy at Binghamton University, State University of New York. He is the author of Melancholy Dialectics: Walter Benjamin and the Play of Mourning; editor of The Actuality of Adorno: Critical Essays on Adorno and the Postmodern, also published by SUNY Press; and translator and editor of Habermas's The Past as Future: Vergangenheit als Zukunft.