Copyright (c) 1998 American Bar Foundation
Law and Social Inquiry
REVIEW SECTION SYMPOSIUM: Patroklos's Funeral and Habermas's Sentence Habermas, Jurgen. Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy. Trans. William Rehg. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996. Pp. 631. $ 50.00. Original edition, Faktizitat und Geltung. Beitrage zur Diskurstheorie des Rechts und des demokratischen Rechtsstaats. Frankfurt and Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1992.
23 Law & Soc. Inquiry 1017
Elias Jose Palti
Between Facts and Norms is something more than the last work in the series of massive works written by Habermas; it clearly is (after Knowledge and Human Interest and The Theory of Communicative Action) the third great landmark in his intellectual career. Its lines of continuity and change with respect to his previous works are not easily traceable. Most of the ideas exposed in Between Facts and Norms actually are not unfamiliar to his readers; the book synthesizes intellectual developments already presented, although nonsystematically, in different writings. Yet, the focus according to which they are here organized is peculiar to this text. All of this enormously rich and complex text revolves around one single, and rather simply formulable, question: What is a valid law? or more precisely, how is a legitimate law, which necessarily involves a claim to transcendent validity, possible in a postmetaphysical context?
Although not absent from previous works, never did the category of law occupy such a central place in Habermas's philosophical system. In trying to deal with it, he found himself forced to revise some of the concepts hitherto basic for his theory of communicative action. This does not neces sarily mean a departure from the premises of this theory; on the contrary, it is in this very revision of them that what he once called the underlying essential unity (from, at least, around 1970) of his "research program" is revealed to us (Habermas 1993, 149). The common horizon in which all these intellectual turns and ...
If you are interested in obtaining a lexis.com® ID and Password, please contact us at 1-(800)-227-4908 or visit us at http://www.lexisnexis.com/.