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HabermasThe Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy$
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Hugh Baxter

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804769129

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804769129.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Stanford University Press

This book examines the complex theory of law and democracy developed by German philosopher and sociologist, Jürgen Habermas. Designed to be understood by those with little prior acquaintance with law and legal theory, it explores the basic concepts of social action and social theory that Habermas incorporates from his work of the late 1970s and 1980s. It considers the argument of Habermas's two-volume Theory of Communicative Action (1981) and the first part of his work on law and democracy: the normative “discourse theory” proper. It also discusses his “reconstruction” of modern law's “normative self-understanding,” his derivation of a system of rights in comparison with John Rawls's principles of justice, his general theory of adjudication in dialogue with Ronald Dworkin's theory of “constructive interpretation,” and the implications of his proceduralist theory for constitutional law and democratic politics. The book also looks at three of Habermas's main themes: the role of religion in the public square, political-philosophical issues surrounding multiculturalism, and the possibilities of democracy beyond the nation-state (with special emphasis on the European Union).

Keywords:   Jürgen Habermas, law, democracy, legal theory, social theory, Theory of Communicative Action, proceduralist theory, constitutional law, religion, multiculturalism

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