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
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
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