Professor em of International Relations
Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:June/July 2015
Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:»Praxis: On Acting and Knowing«
In this project I attempt to answer some of the questions which were raised in two previous books: Rules, Norms and Decisions (CUP 1989) and The Status of Law in World Society (CUP 2014), and in the subsequent discussions they have engendered. Both works used »law« as a prism for understanding social and political action since the prevalent approaches in the field, as varied as they might be in regard to the research agenda or the methods, all seemed to share the epistemological conviction that a »theory of action« has to satisfy the criteria of »theory«. It was however my suspicion that such a view - particularly well-articulated in positivist approaches to social analysis - was not only distorting but that it left important features of praxis unexplored. The new project, entitled Praxis: On Acting and Knowing, takes off from the earlier two books by arguing that a serious engagement with »praxis« has to deconstruct the underlying metaphysical assumptions that privilege »theory« and do justice to the peculiarities of action. Action is taking place in real (irreversible) time and is characterized by contingency instead of necessity and universality, as the »theoretical« take presupposes. To that extent my analysis harks back to Aristotle but is actually more occasioned by the wonder why the idea of the »primacy« of theory for generating useful knowledge and understanding the social world persisted even after the old ontology of the
»chain of being« was dislodged from its privileged position by the skeptics’ attack on the Cartesian quest for certainty. Thus, although the old ontological speculation was replaced by an epistemology that privileged the subject (rather than the object or the ideas), reason was again conceptualized as universal and a-historical (non-contingent), leaving the old privilege of a »timeless« theory in place. In this project, I use Hume as my pivot to look back on the classical attempts of prudential reasoning and try to understand from his vantage point the conventional and historical character of social orders. (Friedrich Kratochwil)
Funding of the stay:Excellence Cluster »The formation of normative orders«
Research partner:Friedrich Kratochwil follows the invitation of Jens Ssteffek (Professor of Transnational Governing at Darmstadt University) and the Cluster of Excellence »The formation of normative orders«.
Scholarly profile of Friedrich Kratochwil Friedrich Kratochwil is one of the most known theoretics in the field of International Relations. After his PhD at Princeton University he taught at the University of Maryland, the Columbia University, the Pennsylvania State University, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich and the European University Institute in Florence. At present he is a guest professor at the Central European University (Budapest) as well as at universities in South Korea and Brezil.
Main areas of research:International Relations, Political Theory, International Law
Lecture while at the Institute:
- The Status of Law in World Society: Meditations On The Role And Rule Of Law, Cambridge University Press, New York 2014.
- The Puzzles of Politics: Inquiries Into the Genesis and Transformation of International Relation Religions, Taylor & Francis, New York 2010.
- Rules, Norms, and Decisions: On the Conditions of Practical and Legal Reasoning in International Relations and Domestic Affairs, Cambridge University Press, New York 1991.
»After Theorey, Before Empiricism, or How to Think About Praxis«
Goethe-Universität, Campus Westend
Friday, July 3, 18:00 Uhr