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Access_open Who is ‘we’?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2012
Keywords democracy, we, world, self-government, democratic impulse
Authors Evert van der Zweerde
AbstractAuthor's information

    Which human material forms the real basis of a democratic polity, i.e. of the preconditions of a ‘we’ that inhabits a ‘world’? How is a political ‘we’ related to the ‘we’ that is created by systemic processes of subjectivization? These questions presents themselves with new relevance in a ‘globalized’ world, in which democratic spurts and waves spread from other parts of the world to the West, and in which the liberal-democratic rule of law state appears to be undermining its own moral preconditions. The real task ahead is to find out what ‘we’ denotes politically.


Evert van der Zweerde
Evert van der Zweerde is Professor of Political Philosophy at Radboud University, Nijmegen.
Discussion

Access_open ‘We Are Also Here.’ Whose Revolution Will Democracy Be?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2012
Keywords democracy, public sphere, civil society, Arab Spring, feminism
Authors Judith Vega
AbstractAuthor's information

    Steven Winter’s argument is premised on a sharp contrast of individualist and social revolutions. I elaborate my doubts about his argument on three accounts, involving feminist perspectives at various points. First, I take issue with Winter’s portrayal of liberal theory, redirecting the focus of his concern to economic libertarianism rather than liberalism, and arguing a more hospitable attitude to the Kantian pith in the theory of democracy. Secondly, I discuss his conceptualization of democracy, adding the conceptual distinction of civil society and public sphere. Thirdly, I question his normative notion of socially situated selves as having an intrinsic relation to social freedom. I moreover consult cultural history on the gendered symbolics of market and democracy to further problematize Winter’s take on either’s meaning for social freedom.


Judith Vega
Judith Vega is Lecturer in Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.

    In this reply, Steven L. Winter adresses his critics.


Steven L. Winter
Discussion

Access_open Human Rights, and the Destructive Communications and Actions of Differentiated Society

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2011
Keywords communication, one-sided rationality, human rights, bare body and mind, inclusion, action, exclusion
Authors Wil Martens
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution raises two questions with regard to Teubner’s view on human rights. First and foremost, it asks how one might conceive of modern society as a threat to human beings. Attention is brought to bear on Teubner’s attempt to describe society as a matter of communication, and more specifically as a set of one-sided communication systems. In this regard, I scrutinise the attempt to describe the threat of society in terms of inclusion/exclusion and criticise the vacuity of the concept of inclusion. Secondly, it questions Teubner’s description of human beings that demand justice and protection by human rights. Are their demands about the bare existence of body and mind? Moreover, are these concerns identical to worries about the destruction of human presuppositions for the self-reproduction of functional social systems, as Teubner suggests? Against Teubner, I contend that human rights are actually about social human beings that ask for justice as acting beings, which claim does not coincide with presuppositions of societal subsystems.


Wil Martens
Wil Martens is Assistant Professor of Organisational Development and Senior Researcher at the Nijmegen School of Management at the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Discussion

Access_open The Destruction and Reconstruction of the Tower of Babel

A Comment to Gunther Teubner’s Plea for a ‘Common Law Constitution’

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2011
Keywords global society, constitutionalism, social systems theory, Teubner, law and order
Authors Bart van Klink
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents some critical comments concerning the conceptual, normative and institutional foundations of Teubner’s plea for a ‘common law constitution’. My comments question the desirability of the means chosen for attaining this objective as well as their efficacy. In particular, I have difficulties with the ambivalent role that is assigned to man, either as a person or as a human being; with the reduction of social problems to problems of communication; and, finally and most importantly, with the attempt to conceive of law and politics beyond established legal and political institutions, which in my view is doomed to fail. The conclusion offers some tentative suggestions for an alternative approach.


Bart van Klink
Bart van Klink is Professor of Legal Methodology at the Faculty of Law of the VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Discussion

Access_open Constitutionalism and the Incompleteness of Democracy

A Reply to Four Critics

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2010
Keywords constitutionalism, globalization, democracy, modernity, postnational
Authors Neil Walker
AbstractAuthor's information

    This reply to critics reinforces and further develops a number of conclusions of the original paper. First, it answers the charge that it is biased in its discussion of the relative standing of constitutionalism and democracy today, tending to take the authority of the former for granted and concentrating its critical attention unduly on the incompleteness of democracy, by arguing that contemporary constitutionalism is deeply dependent upon democracy. Secondly, it reiterates and extends the claim of the original paper that the idea and practice of democracy is unable to supply its own resources in the development of just forms of political organization. Thirdly, it defends its key understanding of the overall relationship between democracy and constitutionalism as a ‘double relationship’, involving both mutual support and mutual tension. A fourth and last point is concerned to demonstrate how the deeper philosophical concerns raised by the author about the shifting relationship between democracy and constitutionalism and the conceptual reframing they prompt are important not just as an explanatory and evaluative window on an evolving configuration of political relations but also as an expression of that evolution, and to indicate how this new conceptual frame might condition how we approach the question of a democracy-sensitive institutional architecture for the global age.


Neil Walker
Neil Walker is Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
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