Celebrating the philosophical and intellectual achievements of Jürgen Habermas // Philosoph und Intellektueller in Zeiten des Umbruchs. Zur Würdigung des Werks von Jürgen Habermas aus Anlass seines 90. Geburtstages


That year in June Jürgen Habermas turns 90. We wanted 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 believed that the most appropriate way to appreciate such an important thinker was 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 were 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 was 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.

13 June 2019, Thursday

8.00 –9.00 Registration and coffee
9.00–9.30 Opening ceremony
9.30-10.15 Prof. Stephan Müller-Doohm (Carl-von-Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg): Gibt es Grenzen nachmetaphysischen Denkens? Jürgen Habermas‘ Konzept von Normativität in der säkularisierten Gesellschaft
10.15–11.00 Prof. Hauke Brunkhorst (Europa-Universität Flensburg): Kommunikative Vernunft und rächende Gewalt – Zur kritischen Theorie von Jürgen Habermas
11.00-11.1511.15 – 12.00

12.00 – 12.45

12.45- 14.00



Coffee break

Prof. Thomas M. Schmidt (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main):  Prozedurale Demokratie und symbolische Repräsentation. Zur politischen Rolle von Religion in postsäkularen Gesellschaften

Prof. Georg Lohmann (Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg): Habermas über Menschenrechte und Demokratie


14.00–14..45 Prof. Rainer Adolphi (Technische Universität Berlin): Lebenssphären und Lebensformen. Zur Tragweite der Max-Weber-Tradition bei J. Habermas
14.45- 15.30


Prof. Peter Koller (Universität Graz): Habermas Diskurstheorie des Rechts im Dilemma zwischen sozialtheoretischem Objektivismus und ethischem NormativismusCoffee break

Maciej Hułas, PhD (John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin): Normativity of Habermas’s Concept of the Public Sphere from the Vantage Point of its Evolution

Andrzej Karalus, PhD (Gdańsk University of Technology): Structural Collapse of the Public Sphere?

16.45–17.00 Coffee break

Adam Klewenhagen, MA (University of Warsaw): Towards and Beyond the Habermasian Theory of Meaning

Prof. Andrzej M. Kaniowski (University of Łódź): Zur Rezeption der Ideenvon Jürgen Habermas in Polen

19.30 Dinner

The lectures in German will be translated simultaneously into Polish. 

14 June 2019, Friday

9.00 – 9.45

Prof. Gunnar Skirbekk (University of Bergen): FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. A Normative Justification of the Legal Protection of Freedom of Expression


Prof. Wang Xingfu (Fudan University): How Critical Theory Works in the Age of Decline

10.30–10.45 Coffee break

Prof. Martin Matuštík (Arizona State University): Rituals and Algo-rithms: Postmetaphysical Thinking in PostSecular Condition

11.30- 12.15

Prof. Matthias Kettner (Universität Witten/Herdecke): The Mystery of „Communicative Rationality“ Dispelled

12.15- 13.30 Lunch
13.30 – 14.15 Alessandro Pinzani (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina): Habermas and Capitalism
14.15- 15.00

Prof. David M. Rasmussen (Boston College): Populism and the Struc- tural Transformation of the Public Sphere

15.00 – 15.15 Coffee break
15.15 – 15.45

Karolina Napiwodzka, MA (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań): How to Make the Polish Public Healthcare System More Discur- sive? Examining Habermas’ Discourse Rules

15.45 – 16.15

Dr hab. Marcin Kilanowski (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń): Toward a New Social Contract for EU

16.15 – 16.45

Dariusz Dańkowski, PhD (Jesuit University Ignatianum in Kraków): How is the Discursive Conception of the Common Good Possible?

16.45- 17.15

Prof. Dr. Lech Witkowski (Pomeranian University in Słupsk): Five Basic Normative Postulates in Habermas Approach to Pedagogical Praxis in Hermeneutical Circle

17.15- 17.30 Conference recap