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William Rehg

William Rehg is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University. He is the translator of Jürgen Habermas's Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy (1996) and the coeditor of Deliberative Democracy: Essays on Reason and Politics and Pluralism (1997) and The Pragmatic Turn: The Transformation of Critical Theory (2001), all published by the MIT Press.

Titles by This Author

The Science Wars, Argumentation Theory, and Habermas

Recent years have seen a series of intense, increasingly acrimonious debates over the status and legitimacy of the natural sciences. These “science wars” take place in the public arena--with current battles over evolution and global warming--and in academia, where assumptions about scientific objectivity have been called into question. Given these hostilities, what makes a scientific claim merit our consideration? In Cogent Science in Context, William Rehg examines what makes scientific arguments cogent--that is, strong and convincing--and how we should assess that cogency. Drawing on the tools of argumentation theory, Rehg proposes a multidimensional, context-sensitive framework both for understanding the cogency of scientific arguments and for conducting cooperative interdisciplinary assessments of the cogency of actual scientific arguments.
Rehg closely examines Jürgen Habermas’s argumentation theory and its implications for understanding cogency, applying it to a case from high-energy physics. A series of problems, however, beset Habermas’s approach. In response, Rehg outlines his own “critical contextualist” approach, which uses argumentation-theory categories in a new and more context-sensitive way inspired by ethnography of science.

Titles by This Editor

The Transformation of Critical Theory, Essays in Honor of Thomas McCarthy

The essays in this volume reflect on and expand Frankfurt School critical theory as reformulated after World War II by Karl-Otto Apel, Jürgen Habermas, and others. Frankfurt School critical theory since the pragmatic turn has become a richer source of critical analysis that is at the same time socially and politically more effective. The essays are dedicated to Thomas McCarthy, who has done perhaps more than any other scholar to introduce English-speaking audiences to contemporary German critical theory.

The book is organized into three parts. Part one deals with social theory and the rational basis of communication, including basic issues raised by the pragmatic turn. Part two examines conceptions of autonomy and the self. Part three deals with political theory, focusing on problems stemming from sociocultural pluralism. Together, the essays provide an overview of the latest developments in Frankfurt School critical theory as it responds to the challenges of pragmatism and social pluralism.

Essays on Reason and Politics

Ideals of democratic participation and rational self-government have long informed modern political theory. As a recent elaboration of these ideals, the concept of deliberative democracy is based on the principle that legitimate democracy issues from the public deliberation of citizens. This remarkably fruitful concept has spawned investigations along a number of lines. Areas of inquiry include the nature and value of deliberation, the feasibility and desirability of consensus on contentious issues, the implications of institutional complexity and cultural diversity for democratic decision making, and the significance of voting and majority rule in deliberative arrangements.The anthology opens with four key essays--by Jon Elster, J??rgen Habermas, Joshua Cohen, and John Rawls--that helped establish the current inquiry into deliberative models of democracy. The nine essays that follow represent the latest efforts of leading democratic theorists to tackle various problems of deliberative democracy. All the contributions address tensions that arise between reason and politics in a democracy inspired by the ideal of achieving reasoned agreement among free and equal citizens. Although the authors approach the topic of deliberation from different perspectives, they all aim to provide a theoretical basis for a more robust democratic practice.Contributors : James Bohman, Thomas Christiano, Joshua Cohen, Jon Elster, David Estlund, Gerald F. Gaus, J??rgen Habermas, James Johnson, Jack Knight, Frank I. Michelman, John Rawls, Henry S. Richardson, Iris Marion Young.