•  68
    Consensus and power in deliberative democracy
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 49 (3). 2006.
    How does public discussion contribute to the reasonableness with which power is exercised in a democracy? Contemporary answers to this question (such as formulated by Rawls or Habermas), are often based upon two interconnected preconceptions. These are, 1. the idea that the value of public discussion lies primarily in the fact that citizens can reach a reasonable consensus through argumentation and discussion and, 2. the belief that the exercise of power is legitimate only if it is determined by…Read more
  •  53
    How should we look back on the history and the origins of our ethical outlook and our way of life? We know that in the past, strange and appalling ethical views and practices have enjoyed widespread and sincere support. Yet we do not regard our contemporary outlook – to the extent that we do, at the present, have a common outlook – as one option among many. However bemused we may feel in ethical matters, at least on some issues we claim to have reasons that are good . If we do not object to the …Read more
  •  29
    Philosophically, the study of argumentation is important because it holds out the prospect of an interpretation of rationality. For this we need to identify a transcendent perspective on the argumentative interaction. We need a normative theory of argumentation that provides an answer to the question: should the hearer accept the argument of the speaker. In this article I argue that formal logic implies a notion of transcendence that is not suitable for the study of argumentation, because, from …Read more
  •  28
    Transcendence, truth, and argumentation
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 41 (4). 1998.
    According to Thomas Nagel we have a natural impulse to transcend our personal point of view. However, it appears to be difficult to give this notion of transcendence any real content while maintaining a connection with everyday speech and behaviour. In this essay I show that the description of what happens in a discussion when a speaker convinces a listener suggests an interesting interpretation of transcendence. The notion of 'truth' linked to the listener who is being convinced introduces a no…Read more
  •  24
    Reading Bernard Williams
    Philosophical Quarterly 64 (254): 184-186. 2014.
    status: published.
  •  24
    Power, norms and theory. A meta-political inquiry
    Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 1-23. 2015.
    Realism criticizes the idea, central to what may be called ‘the priority view’, that philosophy has the task of imposing from the outside general norms of morality or standards of reasonableness on politics understood as the domain of power. According to realism, political philosophy must reveal the specific standards internal to the political practice of handling power appropriately and as it develops in actual circumstances. Framed in those terms, the debate evokes the idea that political powe…Read more
  •  23
    In Toleranz im Konflikt and in other works the German philosopher Rainer Forst presents an intricate interpretation of tolerance as a moral-political virtue. His aim is to resolve many of the well-known paradoxes by distinguishing different components of tolerance and distinguishing the reasons that we may have for objecting, accepting or rejecting certain practices and views. Good ethical reasons for objecting to certain practices and views do not morally justify their suppression by legal mean…Read more
  •  20
    The aim of this paper is to study Williams's relativism of distance and to examine the conception of the history of ethics that follows from it. Relativism of distance, applied to the history of ethics, can be understood as saying that the language of appraisal is inappropriate in confrontations with ethical outlooks of the past; no real judgments are made. The author argues that this view does not follow from Williams's general meta-ethical position. Moreover, he tries to show that it rests on …Read more
  •  15
    Power, norms and theory. A meta-political inquiry
    Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 20 (2): 163-185. 2017.
    Realism criticizes the idea, central to what may be called ‘the priority view’, that philosophy has the task of imposing from the outside general norms of morality or standards of reasonableness on politics understood as the domain of power. According to realism, political philosophy must reveal the specific standards internal to the political practice of handling power appropriately and as it develops in actual circumstances. Framed in those terms, the debate evokes the idea that political powe…Read more
  •  11
    Why Logic Doesn‘t Matter in the Study of Argumentation
    Argumentation 11 (2): 211-224. 1997.
    Philosophically, the study of argumentation is important because it holds out the prospect of an interpretation of rationality. For this we need to identify a transcendent perspective on the argumentative interaction. We need a normative theory of argumentation that provides an answer to the question: should the hearer accept the argument of the speaker. In this article I argue that formal logic implies a notion of transcendence that is not suitable for the study of argumentation, because, from …Read more
  •  11
    The Conversation of Philosophy
    Philosophy East and West 67 (4). 2017.
    In "'Chinese Philosophy' at European Universities," Professor Defoort criticizes the institutional "place" of Chinese and "non-Western" studies at European universities. In order to demonstrate the problem, she describes the situation at the KU Leuven Department of History and its Institute of Philosophy. Regarding many of the important issues Defoort raises, I do not feel sufficiently competent to respond. For I am caught in Schwitzgebel's vicious circle : completely ignorant about non-Western …Read more
  •  10
    Truth in Democratic Politics
    Social Theory and Practice 46 (1): 55-88. 2020.
    This article clarifies the recent epistemic rehabilitation of democracy and adds to it in two respects. First, I point out that the epistemic rehabilitation of democracy identifies an internal connection of democracy with normative truths—but only an external connection with substantial truth and correctness. Second, such an internal connection surfaces when we focus on the place of criticism in democracy. Criticism, however, presupposes pluralism and a recognition of the provisionality of decis…Read more
  •  10
    Perplexities of tolerance: Introduction
    with Barbara Segaert
    Bijdragen 71 (4): 351-357. 2010.
    status: published.
  •  2
    According to Thomas Nagel the desire for autonomy leads to a dilemma: to be certain that no unknown influence determines our decisions, we are driven to seek as much information as possible about what makes the reasons we have the reasons for us. Eventually, we end up with a perspective that is so objective that there are no longer such things as decisions or choices, but only alternatives in the course of the world. A way out is suggested by the work on interpretation of Donald Davidson and by …Read more
  •  1
    Engelen van de wereld. Hedendaagse filosofen over democratie
    with Wilfried Goossens
    Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (2): 406-407. 2002.
  • Democratie als filosofisch vraagstuk. Lezingen over macht, vertegenwoordiging en politiek
    with Wilfried Goossens, Frank Ankersmit, Herman De Dijn, Kris Deschouwer, and Jan Frans Lindemans
    Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 66 (2): 399-399. 2004.
  • Hoe nu verder? Over de politieke theorie in Nederland en Vlaanderen
    with Roland Pierik and Patrick Overeem
    Res Publica 56 (4): 529-541. 2014.
  • Claude Lefort: geen politiek zonder representatie
    Wijsgerig Perspectief 51 (4). 2011.
    Hoe politieke macht veroveren en behouden? Het antwoord op deze vraag staat te lezen in een van de beruchtste boeken uit de geschiedenis van het politieke denken: Il Principe van Niccolo Machiavelli . Zijn antwoord is zonneklaar: voor élke heerser – of hij nu de troon heeft geërfd als telg van een oude dynastie of hem met geweld heeft veroverd – 'is het noodzakelijk het volk te vriend te houden'
  • Nationalisme, Objectiviteit en Subjectiviteit
    Res Publica 39 (2): 205-214. 1997.
    Historians and theoreticians of nationalism and nationalist movements are perplexed by the fact that so much of what nationalists believe is evidently not the case. One example of this concerns the ontological or metaphysical status of the nation: whether nations as a form of political community are in the very nature of things or whether they are rather a recent way of imagining the political community.I question the meaning terms such as 'natural', 'imagined' and 'objective'/'subjective' have …Read more