2023 Res Philosophica Essay Prize

On the Work of Jürgen Habermas

Prize Winner: Michael Haiden
Abstract (Show/Hide)
Jürgen Habermas has defended Germany’s cautious support for Ukraine against the ongoing Russian invasion. Instead of trying to defeat Russia on the battlefield, he argued, Western nations should seek a compromise with the attacker. Critics worried that this would lead to more suffering than the war, encourage further Russian aggression, and ignore the concerns of the Ukrainian population. However, one question that has not been addressed is if Habermas’s pleas are part of a wider pacifist commitment—and if so, what kind of pacifist he is. Examining Habermas’s contributions to Ukraine, the “constitutionalization of international law,” cosmopolitanism and the EU, I argue that Habermas can be called a political pacifist—someone who seeks to abolish the institutions that provide the ultimate causes of war. While one can still criticize his vision, it deserves to be taken seriously as a pacifist account.

Michael Haiden is a research associate in technology ethics at the Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, Germany. His work focuses on history of ideas, practical ethics, and political theory. For an essay on Bertrand Russell’s philosophy of international relations, he won the 2022 Bertrand Russell Student Essay Prize. His essay-writing also earned him invitations to the St. Gallen Symposium as a Leader of Tomorrow in 2022 and 2023. For more information, find Michael Haiden on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-haiden/

Original Call For Papers (Show/Hide)
Res Philosophica invites papers on the work of Jürgen Habermas for the 2023 Res Philosophica Essay Prize. The author of the winning paper will receive a prize of $3,000 and publication in the special issue of the journal on the same topic. Submissions for the prize will be automatically considered for publication in the journal's special issue. Accepted papers will be published alongside an invited paper by Habermas.

Guest Editor: William Rehg (Saint Louis University)
Deadline for Submission: August 1, 2023
Prize: $3,000


Over his long career as a philosopher, social theorist, and public intellectual, Jürgen Habermas has assembled an oeuvre of breathtaking scope. His writings have grappled with, inter alia, issues in critical social theory, ethics and legal-political philosophy, philosophy of language, action theory, philosophy of religion, and the history of philosophy. Those contributions have found uptake in a wide range of disciplines: besides areas of philosophy, he has influenced theology and the humanities, legal theory, the social sciences, communication theory—to name but a few.

We invite submissions that address any area of Habermas’s work. Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Habermas’s appropriation of earlier thinkers such as Kant and Hegel
  • His analysis of social evolution, history as a learning process
  • Communicative action and discourse
  • His stance toward contemporary philosophical movements, such as feminism
  • Postmetaphysical thinking
  • His philosophy of religion
  • His critique of technocracy and scientism

Submission Guidelines:

Submissions will be triple anonymously reviewed: authors do not know the identity of the referees; referees do not know the identity of the authors; and editors do not know the identity of the authors. Please format your submission so that it is suitable for anonymous review. (Instructions are available
here.) We do not normally publish papers longer than 12,000 words long (including footnotes). Please use the online submission form for submitting your essay, available here. All submissions must be in English. We prefer submissions in Microsoft Word format. Papers may be submitted in any standard style, but authors of accepted papers will be required to edit their papers according to the journal’s style, which follows The Chicago Manual of Style (latest edition).