Wednesday, November 10, 2004

One of the most interesting recent pieces on Habermas' changing views on justification and its need Farewell to Justification by Farid Abdel Nour

Farewell to Justification
Habermas, Human Rights, and Universalist Morality
Farid Abdel-Nour
Department of Political Science, San Diego State University, CA, USA

In his recent work, Jürgen Habermas signals the abandonment of his earlier claims to justify human rights and universalist morality. This paper explains the above shift, arguing that it is the inescapable result of his attempts in recent years to accommodate pluralism. The paper demonstrates how Habermas’s universal pragmatic justification of modern normative standards was inextricably tied to his consensus theory of validity. He was compelled by the structure of that argument to count on the current or future availability of a unified framework within which all can potentially articulate their needs and interests. With his abandonment of the justification Habermas has rid discourse theory of this controversial assumption. In weakening its defense of human rights and universalist morality against the charge of ethnocentrism, he has strengthened his theory’s foothold in the lived pluralist world.

Key Words: argumentation • ethnocentrism • Habermas • human rights • justification • legitimacy • pluralism • rational consensus • Rehg

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