Pragmatism

  • Ku społeczeństwu obywatelskiemu. Czego dziś może nas nauczyć pragmatyzm?

    Author: Marcin Kilanowski
    Year of publication: 2017
    Source: Show
    Pages: 50-62
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/kie.2017.01.03
    PDF: kie/115/kie11503.pdf

    It can be striking for us today that when so little divides us there is still so much that separates us from each other. We observe the fragility of social cohesion and witness the degradation of social capital even though some say that our religious belief as well as material conditions or differences in political rights no longer divide us. In the light of critical observations, one can say that there is a need to reconcile people with each other, to establish bonds between us, that we need to establish civil society. When trying to establish a well-functioning civil society we have to ask ourselves a few crucial questions. These questions include: How can Western individualism be combined with the values of community and social solidarity? What are the necessary conditions for freedom and solidarity among people? To answer these questions it is worth reaching the philosophical thought of John Dewey and Roberto Unger. In his text Roberto Unger points out that today’s social and political order is not something solid and stable. Even our democratic order that I was referring to in this paper faces challenges that may undermine its base. Without the right preparation to face these challenges-through responsible and critical public participation and deliberation-it is possible that instead of us having some sort of possibility of steering the growth of our societies and having an impact on political and economic evolution, the evolving situations will steer us. If this happens, we will be left behind, being unable to grasp and handle the different new situations.

  • What Kind of Politics Do We Need? Toward Freedom as Responsibility in Habermas’s and Rorty’s Visions of Democracy

    Author: Marcin Kilanowski
    Year of publication: 2017
    Source: Show
    Pages: 50-68
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/kie.2017.02.03
    PDF: kie/116/kie11603.pdf

    Isaiah Berlin said that it is part of the human condition to make choices between absolute values. Obviously, this choice cannot be easy. To be well informed, it has to be made in full awareness of the contingency of our criteria. This ability to make choices between absolute values in the light of contingencies is what distinguishes a civilized man from a barbarian, says Berlin, following Joseph Schumpeter. Similar ideas can be found in the philosophy of Richard Rorty, who believes that our liberal societies create more people who understand the contingencies of their vocabularies, but at the same time are still faithful to them. He calls this “freedom as acknowledgement of contingency.” This freedom is bound by the existence of a plurality of voices, which does not mean that it is bound by the existence of chaos. In such a spirit, Jürgen Habermas emphasizes the fact that in spite of the plurality of contingent views, we can find a unity of reason. In spite of plurality of views, we can still come to an agreement thanks to dialogue. The close analysis of Rorty’s and Habermas’s philosophy allows us to see that they share a common stance: thanks to disenchantment of the world, as Rorty says, or thanks to decentralization of the world, as Habermas says. Both are seeing such stance as a precondition to use our freedom in a way to be more tolerant, more open to dialogue and responsible for it. Further analysis allows us to see that there is a possibility to present a new understanding of the notion of freedom-freedom conceived as responsibility.

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