Normative Validity, Deliberative Politics, and the Distinction between Good and Right

28 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 11 Aug 2011

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Habermas has rightly emphasized the importance of a cognitivist account of normative validity for the coherence of deliberative politics. Such an account makes sense of the exchange of reasons characteristic of democratic deliberation. However, I argue that Habermas unduly limits the scope of his cognitivism by wedding it to a rigid Kantian dichotomy between right and good, where only the former counts as fully rational. I offer several "Habermasian" considerations drawn from other aspects of Habermas's thought that cast doubt on the right/good dichotomy as Habermas has construed it. In conclusion, I offer some preliminary sketches for how discourse ethics might proceed without these Kantian assumptions.

Keywords: discourse ethics, Jürgen Habermas, deliberative democracy

Suggested Citation

Bourke, James E., Normative Validity, Deliberative Politics, and the Distinction between Good and Right (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1901108

James E. Bourke (Contact Author)

Fordham University ( email )

113 West 60th Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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