|About the Book|
Contemporary critical social theories face the question of how to justify the ideasof the good society that guide their critical analyses. Traditionally, these more or lessdeterminate ideas of the good society were held to be independent of theirMoreContemporary critical social theories face the question of how to justify the ideasof the good society that guide their critical analyses. Traditionally, these more or lessdeterminate ideas of the good society were held to be independent of their specific socioculturalcontext and historical epoch. Today, such a concept of context-transcending validity is not easy todefend- the linguistic turn of Western philosophy signals the widespread acceptance of the viewthat ideas of knowledge and validity are always mediated linguistically and that language isconditioned by history and context. In Re-Presenting the Good Society, Maeve Cooke addresses thejustificatory dilemma facing critical social theories: how to maintain an idea ofcontext-transcending validity without violating anti-authoritarian impulses. In doing so she notonly clarifies the issues and positions taken by other theorists--including Richard Rorty, JürgenHabermas, Axel Honneth, and Judith Butler--but also offers her own original and thought-provokinganalysis of context-transcending validity.Because the tension between an anti-authoritarian impulseand a guiding idea of context-transcending validity is today an integral part of critical socialtheory, Cooke argues that it should be negotiated rather than eliminated. Her proposal for a conceptof context-transcending validity has as its central claim that we should conceive of the goodsociety as re-presented in particular constitutively inadequate representations of it. Thesere-presentations are, Cooke argues provocatively, regulative ideas that have an imaginary, fictivecharacter.