Explorations in the Paradigm of Judgment
During the twentieth century, the view that assertions and norms are valid insofar as they respond to principles independent of all local and temporal contexts came under attack from two perspectives: the partiality of translation and the intersubjective constitution of the self, understood as responsive to recognition. Defenses of universalism have by and large taken the form of a thinning out of substantive universalism into various forms of proceduralism.
Alessandro Ferrara instead launches an entirely different strategy for transcending the particularity of context without contradicting our pluralistic intuitions: a strategy centered on the exemplary universalism of judgment. Whereas exemplarity has long been thought to belong to the domain of aesthetics, this book explores the other uses to which it can be put in our philosophical predicament, especially in the field of politics. After defining exemplarity and describing how something unique can possess universal significance, Ferrara addresses the force exerted by exemplarity, the nature of the judgment that discloses exemplarity, and the way in which the force of the example can bridge the difference between various contexts.
Drawing not only on Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgment but also on the work of Hannah Arendt, John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, and Jürgen Habermas, Ferrara outlines a view of exemplary validity that is applicable to today's central philosophical issues, including public reason, human rights, radical evil, sovereignty, republicanism and liberalism, and religion in the public sphere.
"Alessandro Ferrara's views are quite distinctive. There is really no one else in contemporary philosophy who takes up the position of 'exemplary universalism' that he does. It is a position that has some Italian precedents, in particular the work of Luigi Pareyson in the first half of the twentieth century. It also has affinities to Hannah Arendt's theory of political judgment. Yet Ferrara is very much his own person, and a new book by him, extending his views into new domains, is certainly to be welcomed." — Charles Larmore, W. Duncan MacMillan Family Professor in the Humanities and professor of philosophy, Brown University
"No one has been more energetic or more resourceful than Alessandro Ferrara in enhancing Hannah Arendt's thoughts about judgment and exemplarity. Ferrara is intent on elevating judgment to a new intellectual paradigm, and he draws on an impressive array of sources in contemporary theory in pursuing this ambitious project." — Ronald Beiner, University of Toronto
1. Judgment as a Paradigm
2. Making Sense of the Exemplary
3. The Exemplary and the Public Realm: Reconstructing the Normativity of the Reasonable
4. Exemplifying the Worst: Facing up to Radical Evil
5. Political Republicanism and the Force of the Example
6. Exemplarity and Human Rights
7. Enforcing Human Rights Between Westphalia and Cosmopolis
8. Europe as a Special Area for Human Hope
9. Religion Within the Limits of Reasonableness