Redeeming Labor: Making Explicit the Virtue Theory in Habermas's Discourse Ethics
Leland L. Glenna
The Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
The assertion that neo-classical economics is value-neutral is not just problematic because it is false, but also because it masks the origins of neo-classical economics as a moral science that has had a normative influence on social interaction. However, critics need to move beyond merely exposing the value-laden nature of neo-classical economics if the social sciences are to counter the emotivism of neo-classical economics and to reclaim their foundation as the moral sciences. A social theory of action is needed that acknowledges people's capacity to act virtuously. As a product of the German Enlightenment Tradition, Habermas relies upon an implicit Lutheran neighbor-love ethic when he constructs his theory of communicative action and discourse ethics. A theory that recognizes the capacity of people to collectively generate virtues which then govern their actions offers the potential to redeem labor from emotivism.
Key Words: discourse ethics • emotivism • neo-classical economics • virtue theory