By Matthew G. Specter

ISBN-10: 0521488036

ISBN-13: 9780521488037

This e-book follows postwar Germany's prime thinker and social philosopher, Jürgen Habermas, via 4 many years of political and constitutional fight over the form of liberal democracy in Germany. Habermas's so much influential theories - of the general public sphere, communicative motion, and modernity - have been decisively formed by means of significant West German political occasions: the failure to de-Nazify the judiciary, the increase of a strong Constitutional court docket, scholar rebellions within the past due Nineteen Sixties, the altering fortunes of the Social Democratic celebration, NATO's choice to station nuclear guns, and the unforeseen cave in of East Germany. In flip, Habermas's writings on kingdom, legislation, and structure performed a serious position in reorienting German political idea and tradition to a innovative liberal-democratic version. Matthew Specter uniquely illuminates the interrelationship among the philosopher and his tradition.

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While he never went as far as Schmitt in contrasting liberalism and democracy, he clearly saw a tension between the two. At times, Habermas was sceptical of German democracy’s “precommitment” to basic rights because this commitment appeared to freeze the democratic process. 72 This was so for Habermas when the concept of the free democratic basic order was instrumentalized in the Cold War and again in the context of German reunification. Habermas’s political philosophy is universalist but not foundationalist: The rhetoric of human dignity that forms the heart of the constitution does not possess a sacred, foundational quality for him.

Hegel, Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts (Hamburg: F. Meiner, 1967). 52 Horst Ehmke, Wirtschaft und Verfassung (Karlsruhe: C. F. Müller, 1961), 5. 53 Author’s conversation with Günther Frankenberg, professor of public law, legal philosophy and comparative law at the J. W. Goethe University, June 25, 2005, Frankfurt am Main. 54 Habermas, “Ziviler Ungehorsam – Testfall für den demokratischen Rechtsstaat. Wider den autoritären Legalismus in der Bundesrepublik,” in Die Neue Unübersichtlichkeit (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1985), 38.

83 Denninger, “Judicial Review,” 1023. Blair, “Law and Politics,” 361. 80 Denninger, “Judicial Review,” 1031. 81 Kommers, “German Constitutionalism,” 840. A total of 78,000 individuals filed complaints with the Federal Constitutional Court from its founding until 1990. Judges in lower courts cannot rule something unconstitutional but must refer it to the Federal Constitutional Court. 82 Article 94, Section 1. Party membership on the Bundestag’s Judicial Selection Committee is proportionate to the strength of each party in the Bundestag as a whole.

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Habermas: An Intellectual Biography by Matthew G. Specter


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