Category Archives: Critical Theory

A.J. Polan: Lenin and the End of Politics

One of the more stimulating and thoughtful examples of progressive “left wing” pluralism is A.J. Polan’s Lenin & the End of Politics*. Polan’s book is not merely an attack on the political and historical outcomes of Bolshevism; it’s an attack on the very logic that underlies Lenin’s most democratic and emancipatory analysis of the state, […]

Share

Notes and commentary on Chantal Mouffe’s “Deliberative Democracy or Agonistic Pluralism?”

Mouffe, Chantal. “Deliberative Democracy or Agonistic Pluralism?” Social Research 66.3 (Fall 1999): 745-758. ———————- Chantal Mouffe’s article discusses two competing methods of envisioning an extensive (and thus radical) democracy. She confronts the theorists of “deliberative democracy”, particularly Jurgen Habermas, but also summarizes her own epistemological position of “agonistic pluralism”. Her article is clear and succinct, […]

Share

Notes and commentary on “No Contest? Assessing the Agonistic Critiques of Jürgen Habermas’s Theory of the Public Sphere”

Notes and commentary on: Brady, John. “No Contest? Assessing the Agonistic Critiques of Jürgen Habermas’s Theory of the Public Sphere.” Philosophy & Social Criticism 30.3 (2004): 331-354. ———————- John Brady’s article, “No Contest? Assessing the Agonistic Critiques of Jürgen Habermas’s Theory of the Public Sphere”, is a defence of Jurgen Habermas’ theory of deliberative democracy. […]

Share

Some thoughts on Barbara Herrnstein Smith’s Contingencies of Value

  The sceptic still continues to reason and believe, even tho’ he asserts that he cannot defend his reason by reason. (David Hume) One of the best accounts of post-modern epistemology that I’ve read comes from Barbara Herrnstein Smith’s Contingencies of Value*. She provides a plausible and thorough explanation of what a “post-axiological” epistemology would look […]

Share

Language Reveals Power

I’ve always been a fan of George Carlin. He was one of the first mainstream comedians to use humour against power, and there aren’t many comedians who have forced the US Supreme Court to consider laws on speech and obscenity. He was, in my mind, the great link from Lenny Bruce to present-day commentators like […]

Share