Author Archive

Documenting the meltdown on Leiter and bad tactics in rankings

September 30, 2014 Leave a comment

If you are a philosopher in the English speaking world, you no doubt know that the old self-appointed emperor has lost his clothes. As of this writing, more than 520 philosophers (including the original signatories at the top) have signed a statement that they will decline to support his Philosophical Gourmet Report so long as he’s running it.  Twenty-four members of his board have asked him to relinquish management. Since I’ve been one of the characters in this tale, I’ve been keeping up with all the talk in the philosophy blogosphere.  For those interested in what’s going on, Leigh M Johnson has been keeping track here.  Also Richard Heck is starting to collect accounts and analyses of what is wrong with the methodology of rankings in general and the Philosophical Gourmet Report in particular on his blog here.

Sign on to the September Statement

September 26, 2014 Leave a comment

The list of philosophers unwilling to take part in the Philosophical Gourmet Report so long as Brian Leiter is editing it keeps growing: .  Any philosophy professor with an academic appointment is invited to join the list.  You need not be someone who would have been likely to be an evaluator.

If you wish to add your name to those declining for these reasons to volunteer their services to the PGR while under the control of Brian Leiter, please email with your name and affiliation.

Please use your verifiable university email account to avoid confusion.

A Search Engine for Philosophy

September 26, 2014 1 comment

Emory Philosophy Placements

September 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Congrats to our brilliant PhDs for the positions they are getting:

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Seminar on Habermas & His Critics

September 22, 2014 Leave a comment

This semester I am teaching a graduate seminar on Habermas & His Critics.  Putting the syllabus together was quite a feat, and so I want to share it with my dear readers.  Feel free to offer ideas for the next time I teach this.  And also feel free to borrow liberally for your own teaching.


Fall 2014

McAfee, Tu 2:00PM – 5:00PM

Office Hours: Bowden Hall 302, MW 10-noon and by appointment


Jürgen Habermas is easily one of the most important and influential philosophers of the past half century. The most prominent member of the second generation of Frankfurt School critical theory, he has made huge strides in contemporary intellectual thought. At the same time, Habermas may be as controversial as he is famous. A self-professed intellectual continuing “the project of the Enlightenment,” he has raised the ire of many contemporary philosophers who would just as soon dispense with the Enlightenment. Despite his critics, Habermas’s work has been enormously influential and helpful in democratic theory, the social sciences, globalization studies, aesthetics, epistemology, and philosophy of language. The purpose of this graduate seminar is two-fold: (1) to provide an opportunity to develop a comprehensive view of his work and (2) to examine how this work has touched off controversies with his contemporaries and how these controversies have been met (sometimes with an apology).


Barker, McAfee, and McIvor, eds. Democratizing Deliberation.

Dussel, Enrique Dussel: Ethics of Liberation: In the Age of Globalization and Exclusion, Duke 2013. Available as an electronic book through Emory Library’s DiscoverE catalog.

Habermas, Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action, ISBN (MCCA)

Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, ISBN 0-262-58102-7 (PDM)

Habermas, Between Facts and Norms, ISBN 0-262-58162-0 (BFN)

Passerin d’entreves and Benhabib, eds., Habermas and the Unfinished Project of Modernity, MIT 1997 (HUPM)

Thomassen, ed., The Derrida-Habermas Reader, Chicago 2006. (DHR)

Other readings available through course reserves (CR).

Grading: Weekly participation and short response papers. Final seminar paper.


Sept. 2 / Introduction

Sept. 9 / The Public Sphere

  • Habermas, “The Public Sphere” (CR, 6 pp)
  • Fraser, “Rethinking the Public Sphere” (CR, 24 pp)
  • Habermas, Excerpt from TCA on system, lifeworld, and colonization thesis (TCA, Vol. 2, pp. 318-331) (CR)
  • Habermas, Between Facts and Norms, ch. 8, Civil Society and the Political Public Sphere, 329-387
  • Friedland et al., “The Networked Pubic Sphere” (CR, 22 pp)

Sept. 16 / Modernity, Temporalization, Enlightenment, and the idea of Europe

Sept. 23 / Modernity & Postmodernity I / Habermas v. Derrida on philosophical discourse

  • Habermas, “Excursus on Leveling the Genre Distinction between Philosophy and Literature,” PDM, 185-210
  • Derrida, “Is there a philosophical language?” DHR, 35-45
  • Rorty, “Habermas, Derrida, and the Functions of Philosophy,” DHR, 46-65
  • Norris, “Deconstruction, Postmodernism, and Philosophy: Habermas on Derrida,” HUPM, 97-123
  • Hoy, “Splitting the Difference: Habermas’s Critique of Derrida,” HUPM, 124-146

Sept. 30 / Modernity & Postmodernity II / Ethics & Politics

  • Bernstein, “An Allegory of Modernity/Postmodernity: Habermas and Derrida,” DHR, 71-97
  • Critchley, “Frankfurt Impromptu – Remarks on Derrida and Habermas, 98-110
  • Derrida, “Performative Powerlessness – A Response to Simon Critchley,” DHR, 111-114
  • Habermas, “How to Respond to the Ethical Question,” DHR, 115-127
  • Benhabib, “Democracy and Difference: Reflections on the Metapolitics of Lyotard and Derrida,” DHR, 128-156

Oct. 6 / Foucault & the Critique of Reason

  • Foucault, excerpts from Madness and Civilization and The Birth of the Clinic (CR)
  • Habermas, Lectures IX and X of PDM
  • Schmidt, “Habermas and Foucault,” HUPM, ch. 5, 147-171

Oct. 14 / FALL BREAK

Oct. 21 / The Foucault-Habermas “Debate”

  • Foucault, “Critical Theory/Intellectual History,” Critique and Power: Recasting the Foucault/Habermas Debate, ed. Michael Kelly (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994) 124–25 (CR)
  • Habermas, “Taking Aim at the Heart of the Present,” Critique and Power: Recasting the Foucault/Habermas Debate, ed. Michael Kelly (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994) (CR)
  • Allen, “Discourse, Power, and Subjectivation: The Foucault/ Habermas Debate Reconsidered,” Philosophical Forum 2009 (CR)
  • Koopman, “Revising Foucault: the history and critique of modernity,” Philosophy & Social Criticism, June 2010 36: 545-565

Oct. 27 / Discourse Ethics / Dussel on Habermas

  • Habermas, “Discourse Ethics” in MCCA (63pp)
  • Dussel, The Ethics of Liberation, excerpts (CR)
  • Sorenson, “Dussel’s Critique of Discourse Ethics as Critique of Ideology,” Public Reason 2010 (16 pp) (CR)
  • Dussel, “The Architectonic of the Ethics of Liberation,” Philosophy & Social Criticism (36pp) (CR)

Nov. 4 / Psychoanalysis & the Unconscious

  • Eric Fromm, “Marxism, Psychoanalysis, and Reality.”
  • Habermas, excerpts from Knowledge and Human Interests
  • Castoriadis, excerpts from The Imaginary Institution of Society (CR)
  • Habermas, excursus on Castoriadis, PDM, 327-335
  • Whitebook, “Intersubjectivity and the Monadic Core of the Psyche: Habermas and Castoriadis on the Unconscious,” HUPM, 172-193

Nov. 11 / Identity & Difference: Rights, Tolerance and Political Space

  • Honig, “Dear Rights, Live Futures: On Habermas’s Attempt to Reconcile Constitutionalism and Democracy, DHR, 161-175
  • Thomassen, “’A Bizarre, Even Opaque Practice’: Habermas on Constitutionalism and Democracy,” DHR, 176-194
  • Habermas, “Religious Tolerance – The Pacemaker for Cultural Rights,” DHR, 195-207
  • Derrida, “Hostipitality,” DHR, 208-230
  • Morris, “Between Deliberation and Deconstruction: The Condition of Post-National Democracy,” DHR, 231-253

Nov. 18 / Deliberative Democracy I / Gilligan, Kohlberg, the Good & the Right

  • Gilligan, excerpt TBD
  • Habermas, “Moral Consciousness & Communicative Action,” MCCA, 116-194
  • BFN excerpt TBD

Nov. 25 / Deliberative Democracy II / Consensus, Dissensus, & Differends

  • Lyotard, The Differend: Phrsases in Dispute, excerpt TBD
  • Habermas, “Three Models of Democracy”
  • Ziarek, An Ethics of Dissensus, ch. 3 (CR)
  • Young, “Communication and the Other,” from Intersecting Voices (CR)

Dec. 2 / Deliberative Democracy III

  • Readings from Democratizing Deliberation (Young, Mansbridge, McAfee, Drizek)

Dec. 9 / Beyond the Nation-State: Europe, Cosmopolitanism, and International Law

  • Derrida & de Cauter, “For a Justice to Come: An Interview with Jacques Derrida, DHR, 259-269
  • Habermas and Derrida, “February 15, or What Binds Europeans Together: A Plea for a Common Foreign Policy, Beginning in the Core of Europe, DHR, 270-277
  • Matustik, Between Hope and Terror: Habermas and Derrida Plead for the Im/Possible, DHR, 278-296
  • Derrida, “Honesty of Thought,” DHR, 300-306
  • Habermas, “A Last Farewell: Derrida’s Enlightening Impact,” DHR, 307-308

December 19, noon, seminar papers due

Other Resources

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Habermas:

The Habermas Forum – good site for recent texts

Essay by Doug Kellner on Habermas

Blog post on Derrida and Habermas’s reconciliation

James Schmidt’s blog posts on the Foucault-Habermas debate-that-never-was: (this is the first of several posts)

Book on communicative ethics controversy

Intro (pdf) of Calhoun’s edited volume on the public sphere

IEP entry on the Frankfurt School


Open Rank Position in African-American Philosophy at Emory

August 22, 2014 Leave a comment

EMORY UNIVERSITY, ATLANTA, GA. AOS: African-American Philosophy. AOC:  Africana philosophy, philosophy of race, and ability to deepen existing strengths in American philosophy/philosophy of the Americas.  Rank: Open (Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor, tenure-track or tenured), beginning Fall 2015. Four courses/year, beginning undergraduate to graduate level. Usual advising, committee, and other non-teaching duties. Ph.D. required by beginning of appointment. Review of applications begins October 20, 2014. Applications received up to 30 days after review begins will be given full consideration. Videoconference interviews will take place no later than mid-December 2014; finalists will visit campus no later than early February 2015. Only electronic applications will be accepted.  Applicants for the position at the rank of Assistant Professor should send a cover letter that addresses the position description, a current CV, a writing sample, a teaching portfolio, and (separately) three confidential letters of reference. Applications for the position at the rank of Associate of Full Professor should send a letter of interest and a CV. Send applications to  Nominations are invited. Emory University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.


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Lefteris Kretsos on the crisis in Greece

Noelle McAfee:

So it has been a long while since my traumatic post of Spring 2014 on being incarcerated. That unfortunate experience has led to much interest in our totally fucked up incareral state, which I’ll blog about soon. But also I am currently very interested and worried about the neoliberal austerity measures that are destroying much of southern europe, including my own country of Greece. I’m writng about this and have recently been in correspondence with the social scientist Lefteris Kretsos. Hence this reblog.

Originally posted on Marketization in Europe:

Over the past four years, Greece has been “rescued” on countless occasions. Over the past four years, state legislators across the country and supranational institutions have launched an unprecedented series of reforms aimed at lowering labor standards, weakening trade unions, and eroding workplace and welfare protections. The country has become almost a byword for “structural adjustment” and drastic labour market reforms across Europe. Financial support from the Troika and especially the IMF has been conditional on reductions in public deficits and public spending, initiating drastic labour market reform and a welfare state retrenchment unprecedented in the post war period. Structural reforms and labour market restructuring policies have been undertaken in line with the loan agreements based on the Troika’s premise that labour market regulation and social protection in Greece constituted a significant barrier to growth and a main driver of public debt.

The rest of the summary is here

View original 6 more words

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