asca-fgw on Tue, 28 Nov 2006 07:25:13 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-nl] Maeve Cook: What's the Point of Critical Theory?

Lecture-Series on Philosophy and Public Affairs

Organized by the ASCA- Program Philosophy and Public Affairs

A common characteristic of many contemporary social and political problems is the uncertainty about the extent in which these problems are public affairs, and thus where, by whom and how they have to be dealt with in a liberal democracy. This is particularly pressing with questions about, for instance, religious diversity and fundamentalism, biotechnology and modern medicine.

In spite of their obvious differences in content, taken together, these problems seem to call for serious reconsideration of political and ethical concepts and theories which for a long time were perceived as unproblematic. At stake are the principles of liberalism and democracy, distinctions like the ones between the private and the public, fact and value, science and politics, and between individual morality and the normative neutrality of liberal democracies. Established institutions and practices dealing with public concerns need to be re-evaluated. These include the sovereignty of the national state, the autonomous individual as the basic unit in normative theory, the view that democratic politics is an execution of aggregated individual preferences, and the role of expertise in democracy.

With this series of lectures by prominent political philosophers both from inside and outside the Netherlands, we want to shed light on different aspects of the broad problematic, from perspectives more theoretically oriented as well as perspectives more interested in conrete social and political problems of contemporary western societies. 

The following speakers will participate in the series:

4.12.2006 Maeve Cooke (Dublin)

29.1.2007 Ingrid Robeyns (Nijmegen)

19.2.2007 Stefan Gosepath (Giessen)

 26.3.2007 Veit Bader (Amsterdam)

 23.4.2007 Annemarie Mol (Twente)

21.5.2007 Axel Honneth (Frankfurt/Main)

The first lecture will be held by Maeve Cooke; she is Professor of Philosophy at University College Dublin, and  currently Visiting Professor at the University of Konstanz. She will hold visiting appointments at Yale University and at the New School for Social Research in Spring 2007. Maeve Cooke is the author of Re-Presenting the Good Society (MIT Press, 2006) and Language and Reason: A Study of Habermas’s Pragmatics (MIT Press, 1994). In addition, she has published numerous articles in contemporary social and political philosophy and, as editor, Jürgen Habermas: On the Pragmatics of Communication (MIT Press, 1998). She is currently working on  questions relating to the relation of philosophy and religion and the place of religion in contemporary democratic societies.

The title of her lecture will be: "What's the Point of Critical Theory?"

It will take place on Monday, december 4th, at the Bungehuis, room 101, from 16.00 - 18.00.

If you have questions concerning the lectures, or the program, please contact the ASCA office or the programme director Beate Roessler.

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