Is non-metaphysical liberal universalism possible? Seyla Benhabib’s theory of liberal and deliberative democracy
Seyla Benhabib strives to give account of liberalism that would be both non metaphysical and universalist, both noncontextual and pluralist, both radically democratic and thoroughly loyal to liberal-democratic values. Thus her major concepts and her overall input into political philosophy have been frequently questioned as inconsistent by political theorists and philosophers. The author of the article aims at answering three questions referring to Benhabib’s political philosophy: (1) why, according to Benhabib, does liberalism require discursive correction?, (2) how consistent is Benhabib’s conception of nonmetaphysical universalism?, and (3) is Benhabib’s discursive liberalism revolutionary to previous conceptions of deliberative ethics and democracy? He claims that although Benhabib has developed some crucial insights into liberal philosophy and theory, her criticism of major liberal thinkers may be partly directed against her own theories.