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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Jürgen Habermas’s Between Facts and Norms purports to offer a new way of understanding law and democracy in liberal orders. The scale and ambition of the book matches Hegel’s Philosophy of Right but the take-home message is neo-Kantian: our future depends on getting the right balance between the protection of individual autonomy and the promotion of collective solidarity in the democratic self-organization of our political communities. This chapter unpacks and demystifies the difficult arguments of this book and offers a sympathetic interpretation of Habermas’s political philosophy, including its theory of legitimacy and its connection to his discourse ethics. The core claim assessed in this chapter is that the modern legal system cannot function properly without the support of radical democracy.

Keywords: Jürgen Habermas, democracy, law, legitimacy, discourse ethics

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