Why Democracy? A philosophical Defense against the most subtile ones among its Defiers

Wednesday, 13. October 2010 | 16:30 Uhr


Günter Abel


TU Berlin


In his presentation, Professor Günter Abel from the Technical University of Berlin asked the question of whether society can provide reasons for an understanding of democracy beyond the stranglehold of the dichotomy between metaphysical absolutism and resigned relativism. He asked to leave behind the whole picture of the political as a space of truth and knowledge. Rather, one might conceive the political as a space of opinions and beliefs. Being systematically cut off from possessing the truth becomes the starting point of a pluralistic and perspectival ethics of intersubjective relations as well as of the space of political rule. This is even more evident under the current conditions of globalization and interculturality. The task is to show democracy to be the type of political rule affinitive to this structure. He further said, that given this setting, the ethos of democracy might increasingly gain rational acceptability, hence reasonableness and well-foundedness. The simple but crucial fact is that different persons, groups, societies and cultures can obviously have different views and perspectives. For Abel, democracy is the only form of government which assumes responsibility for its own actions.

Speech by Prof. Günter Abel

Günter Abel

Günter Abel, born in Homberg (D) in 1947, studied Philosophy, History, Roman Studies and Political Science at the Universities of Marburg, Lausanne and the Freie Universität Berlin from 1968 until 1975.

1971-74 Research stay in Paris
1974 State exam for secondary school teachers
1976 Ph.D.
1981 Habilitation in Philosophy
1982 Heisenberg scholarship
1987 Professor of Philosophy at TU Berlin
1990 Visiting Professor at Harvard University
1994-97 Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy of TU Berlin
1995-99 Founding Director of the interdisciplinary Frankreich-Zentrum at TU Berlin
1999-2001 Vice president of TU Berlin
Since 2008, Head of the innovation center Wissensforschung at TU Berlin

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