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Resumen: The debate about Habermas’s Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy (Faktizität und Geltung), which is intended as an original restatement of a radical form of democratic theory, is a good barometer of the current state of the critical theory of society. The declared aim of this paper is to submit an introduction to the main contributions to this debate and to outlook the research programs of scholars like Axel Honneth, Rainer Forst, Klaus Günther, Ingeborg Maus, Hauke Brunkhorst and many others. For all the mentioned authors radical democracy has to come to grips with the exigencies of social complexity. And many argue that Habermas’s work offers a moderate and even conciliatory picture of real-existing capitalist democracy. Most of the essays investigates a crucial turning point in Habermas’ thought: his re-evaluation of law as a medium which lies at the very intersection of communicative and administrative power. The normative core of the theory may be resumed as follows: «Only those juridical statutes may claim legitimate validity that can meet with the agreement of all legal consociates in a discursive law-making procedure that in turn has been legally constituted». But, relying on the system theory, his attempt to overcome the juxtaposition of normativity and facticity enables contrasting outcomes from the basic paradigm. Habermas and his scholars argue that human rights and democratic principles stand to each other in a reciprocal relationship of material implication (co-originality-thesis). Rainer Forst defends an inter-subjectivist concept of political liberty and explains that every moral person has a basic right to justification: what is implied by the Kantian idea of the dignity of a person as an end in itself. Emphasizing on the other side an Hegelian view (but Hegel always understood as philosopher of reconciliation, not of rupture), Axel Honneth argues that autonomyrelated vulnerabilities in our society have been generally underestimated by liberalism, because autonomy has been understood in an individualistic fashion, and tries to articulate a more complex conception of autonomy in terms of a theory of mutual recognition (applying it to social, political and international relations). According Ingeborg Maus mounting evidence suggests that in process of globalization liberal democracies are evolving towards a mass-based plebiscitarianism and endangering the balance of human rights and democratic principles.
Palabras clave: Critical Theory of Society. Deliberative Democracy. Constitutionalism and international Law. Recognition.