The Justification of Discourse Ethics

Uwe Steinhoff

in The Philosophy of Jürgen Habermas

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780199547807
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720758 | DOI:
The Justification of Discourse Ethics

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In his preliminary considerations Habermas tries to demonstrate the initial plausibility of his programme of moral justification. He then uses Karl-Otto Apel's “transcendental pragmatics” for identifying rules of discourse. According to transcendental pragmatics, rules or presuppositions of discourse cannot be denied without so-called “performative self-contradictions”. The next step is to derive the fundamental discourse-ethical justification principles U and D from these discovered rules of discourse. According to U and D, only those norms are valid that in an ideal discourse situation would meet with the acceptance of each speaker affected by the norm. An alternative way of justifying U and D would appeal to Habermas' consensus theory of truth and validity. Finally, Habermas tries to show how norms that are justified with help of the principles U and D can reasonably be applied to real situations. The chapter explains and critically discusses each step in Habermas' line of reasoning.

Keywords: Karl-Otto Apel; application; argumentation; cognitivism; discourse ethics; ethics; justification; morality; rules of discourse; transcendental pragmatics

Chapter.  57939 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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