Celebrating the philosophical and intellectual achievements of Jürgen Habermas

This year in June Jürgen Habermas turns 90. We would like to use this occasion to hold an international conference to honour one of the greatest intellectuals of our times.

The University of Lodz and in particular the Department of Ethics have been closely linked to Habermas’s ideas for several decades. In 2005 we hosted a symposium in which Habermas himself participated (“Jürgen Habermas Symposium: Philosophy – Religion – Society”, Lodz 18-19.04.2005). Habermas’s book The Crisis of the European Union: A Response(Zur Verfassung Europas, Ein Essay; Polish edition: Rzecz o kondycji i ustroju Europy, transl. by A. M. Kaniowski) has been published by Lodz University Press (Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego, 2014).

We believe that the most appropriate way to appreciate such an important thinker is to reflect on his diagnoses as well as his conceptual and theoretical methods and to apply his legacy with respect to the experiences of our day. Habermas’s ideas provide intellectual tools not only to understand pathologies, disfigurements and developments that threaten to undermine political and social life in the West (specifically, the wide social and axiological consensus that has been reached) but also to search for ways to cope with them.

At the conference we will be especially interested in the following topics that reflect a wide range of Habermas’s interests and inquires:

  • Jürgen Habermas’s contribution to and transformation of the critical theory of society
  • communicative rationality and communicative action
  • discourse ethics and discursive theory of law (Between Facts and Norms)
  • deliberative democracy – liberal and republican traditions
  • constitutionalisation of international law
  • network society and the future of the public sphere
  • the future of the European Union
  • liberal eugenics and ‘ethics of the species’
  • religions in contemporary societies and the future of religions

The conference will be organized by the University of Lodz, with the help of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Lodz Department), the Societas Humboldtiana Polonorum and the Polish Society of Philosophy. We hope it will serve as an international forum for researchers and intellectuals from various fields.