Democracy and Right in Habermas’s Theory of Facticity and Value

  • Howard Williams


Habermas theorizes in the grand philosophical manner. Although himself not a Kantian, Hegelian or a Marxist he engages continuously, in the German mode, with his own philosophical tradition. For this reason his new book on the philosophy of right Faktizität und Geltung invites comparison with the theories of right (or justice) of Kant and Hegel.1 This book represents a new departure for Habermas, since it is the first of his works to deal exclusively with politics. For the most part, Habermas weaves in this book between the conclusions drawn by Kant and those drawn by Hegel on the nature of right and politics, trying to build upon their insights and integrate them into his own theory. In one respect, however, Habermas differs most markedly from his two predecessors and this is in his assessment of the value of democracy in nurturing and safeguarding justice. Whereas both Kant and Hegel advance differing criticisms of the role of democracy in realizing right or justice Habermas regards radical democracy as an essential condition for the existence and flourishing of right.


International Relation Political Theory Minor Premiss Ideal Speech Situation Legislative Assembly 
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    Cf. S. Lukes, Marxism and Morality, Oxford University Press, 1985, pp. 146–7Google Scholar
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    J. S. Mill, On Liberty, Oxford University Press, 1971, pp. 92–3Google Scholar
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    I. Berlin, Four Essays on Liberty, Oxford University Press, 1971, p. 129Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Howard Williams 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of International PoliticsUniversity of WalesAberystwythUK

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