File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2000/habermas.0011, message 41

Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2000 05:54:01 -0600 (Central Standard Time)
Subject: HAB: How do we decide to agree?

Maybe I'll find out that I'm just confused for no reason and that
there's a simple explanation, but I don't see how to address this
problem, so I'm turning to the list for help.

As usual, I was thinking about the agreement problem in discourse
ethics, and the following question occurred to me without an
answer following:  As I understand it, (U) and (D) are necessary
conditions for a norm to be valid.  They call for the agreement of
all affected.  How does an affected actor decide whether s/he
should agree to a proposed norm?

Obviously s/he cannot look to other actors' agreement, because
the whole point of discourse ethics is to give everyone a voice,
and in any case, that simply pushes the question back one step to
asking how those others decided they should agree.

I'm not aware that H. has provided an answer to this question,
though I could well be mistaken.

Without further guidance on how to decide, the actors seem thrown
back on their moral intuitions alone, an option which I think H.
is keen to avoid in order to sustain a cognitivist morality.

I'm a little embarrassed to send this out, because my guess is
that this is a confusion on my part rather than a gap in discourse
ethics.  But I'd rather understand than preserve my dignity.  Can
anyone help me here?

Regards to all,


| Stephen Chilton, Associate Professor, Dept of Pol Science
|    Univ of Minnesota-Duluth / Duluth, MN 55812-2496 / USA
| 218-726-8162/7534   FAX: 726-6386   Home: 724-6833 (home)
|    EMAIL:
|  "A man who will steal for me will steal from me."
|       - Theodore Roosevelt [via John Pitzl]

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