The moral truth about discourse theory

Toddington, S. 2006. The moral truth about discourse theory. Ratio Juris. 19 (2), pp. 217-229.

TitleThe moral truth about discourse theory
AuthorsToddington, S.
Abstract

The fundamental impulse of Discourse Theory is to eschew the moral substantivism of ethical rationalism in favour of a pragmatic, procedural approach to ethical and legal analysis. However, this paper argues that even if the analysis of Communicative Action as reconstructed by Habermas's "Universal Pragmatics," and the implied procedural rules of practical discourse advanced by Robert Alexy are accepted, the validation or "redemption" of all authoritative and distributive claims must, in terms of logical priority, encounter the substantively general necessity of Gewirth's Principle of Generic Consistency. This result operates as a reductio ad absurdum of the project of Universal Pragmatics and prompts us to reconsider the epistemological status and the political and ethico-legal function of Discourse Ethics in Civil Society.

JournalRatio Juris
Journal citation19 (2), pp. 217-229
ISSN0952-1917
YearJun 2006
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/j.1467-9337.2006.00325.x
Publication dates
PublishedJun 2006

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