Putin’s Constitutional Tsarism | by Anastasia Edel | The New York Review of Books

... if history offers any lessons, this attempt at greatness will last no longer than the false covenants and official statues every autocracy erects, for they fail in their fundamental goal: improving the lives of the people. The legacy of Stalin and Lenin is not a socialist empire but the graves of millions, murdered and [...]

The Habermas-Rawls Debate // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame

James Gordon Finlayson's book gives us a well-informed and detailed account of the exchange between Habermas and Rawls about questions of political justice and legitimacy. Finlayson discusses both the exchange which took place in the 1990s and the ensuing academic debate which continues today. He analyses both the exchange and the debate with lucidity and [...]

Whose Culture Is It? | by Kwame Anthony Appiah | The New York Review of Books

“There is no document of civilization,” Walter Benjamin maintained, in his most often-quoted line, “that is not at the same time a document of barbarism.” He was writing—some sixty-five years ago—with particular reference to the spoils of victory carried in a triumphal procession: “They are called cultural treasures,” he said, but they had origins he [...]

The Violent Visions of Slavoj Žižek | by John Gray | The New York Review of Books

Few thinkers illustrate the contradictions of contemporary capitalism better than the Slovenian philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek. The financial and economic crisis has demonstrated the fragility of the free market system that its defenders believed had triumphed in the cold war; but there is no sign of anything resembling the socialist project that in [...]

Justification and Emancipation: The Critical Theory of Rainer Forst // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame

Amy Allen and Eduardo Mendieta have given us a timely and valuable appreciation of, and critical engagement with, the work of Rainer Forst. Forst is one of the leading voices in critical theory, and, in my opinion, the person who has done the most to advance critical theory beyond the work of Jürgen Habermas. In [...]

The Unlikely Life of a Socialist Activist Resonates a Century Later – The New York Times

She was an impoverished Jewish immigrant from Russia who had started working in a cigar factory at the age of 11; he was the scion of an old-money Episcopalian family who enjoyed a mansion on Madison Avenue and a weekend house with a bowling alley. When Rose Pastor married James Graham Phelps Stokes on the [...]

Free Will Skepticism in Law and Society: Challenging Retributive Justice // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame

Caruso's and Waller's contributions have the dual merits of identifying pragmatic consequences largely overlooked in the standard free will literature thus far, as well as offering persuasive and nuanced suggestions for where to look for non-retributive alternatives that may make us significantly better off as a more egalitarian and compassionate society. Perhaps one worry worth [...]

Why FW de Klerk let Nelson Mandela out of prison | World news | The Guardian

On 11 February 1990, the then president of South Africa, FW de Klerk, took the fateful decision to release Nelson Mandela, the charismatic hero of the struggle against apartheid. Twenty years on, he talks about the circumstances that led him to set the world's most famous political prisoner free, launching a new era in a [...]