Public Discourse and Agonistic Democracy

Cathleen Kaveny has a compelling new book I'm working through called Prophecy without Contempt: Religious Discourse in the Public Sphere. The topic of the book is plain enough in the title. I've read several prominent criticisms of Rawlsian liberal thinking about the need for "public reason" in public discourse. Sandel, for one, argues that the sort … Continue reading Public Discourse and Agonistic Democracy


The Ethics of Drone Warfare

I've not read deeply at all on the ethics of drone warfare but wanted to reflect after discussing it with some friends. I see five concerns commonly arise when thinking about the ethics of drone warfare: 1.) collateral damage 2.) impact on local communities (psychological, emotional, physical, etc.) 3.) the military and national security fallout for their use … Continue reading The Ethics of Drone Warfare

The Problem with Paul Bloom on Empathy

Paul Bloom, eminent psychologist at Yale, is at work on a new book explaining the problem with empathy. I have little to go on in reference to the content of the book (since it's not out yet) aside from this short video: This is less to go on than is preferable, but enough, I … Continue reading The Problem with Paul Bloom on Empathy

Chantal Mouffe on the Common Good

As I mentioned in the last post, Chantal Mouffe looks for a "third way" between Rawls-ian individualism and (what she understands to be) Sandel-ian collectivism. Mouffe spends considerable time adapting to the communitarian critique of liberalism, claiming, "liberalism's exclusive concern with individuals and their rights has not provided content and guidance for the exercise of … Continue reading Chantal Mouffe on the Common Good

Chantal Mouffe’s Critique of Michael Sandel

There's much I admire about Chantal Mouffe's work, which I'm sure I'll write about in the future... Here I want to talk about her critique of Michael Sandel. In an article entitled "American Liberalism and Its Communitarian Critics," Mouffe provides a survey of the liberal-communitarian debate. [1] After agreeing with Sandel's critique of Rawls (laid out … Continue reading Chantal Mouffe’s Critique of Michael Sandel

Honneth’s Reconstructive Theory of Justice

I might have over-stressed Honneth's break with procedural liberalism in my last post, casting Honneth's and procedural liberalism as contrasting theories. While it's true they're different, it's wrong to imply that Honneth wants to part ways entirely with Rawls and company. Rather, Honneth sees his "reconstructive theory" of justice as a development from procedural liberalism. Honneth claims … Continue reading Honneth’s Reconstructive Theory of Justice