File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2000/habermas.0011, message 43

Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2000 10:20:56 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: HAB: How do we decide to agree?


I wouldn't be embarrassed about this question. I don't believe
there's a straightforwardly satisfactory answer, though I believe the
answer rests in the notion of deliberation. 

We know that deliberation takes place partly with others and
partly--ultimately--alone. We identify and differ with others' views
and, as thinking for Habermas is an internalization of dialogue
roles, one identifies and differs with one's own competing views,
values, desires, etc., in a sorting practice called reflection (which
can be examined in all kinds of theoretical ways). When is one clear
to oneself about what is most worth standing for, relative to a set
of alternatives in a decision scene? How does the clarification
happen for oneself in and as reflective / analytical / critical /
creative thinking?

Deciding whether one "should agree" with the other must be based, it
seems to me, on whether one *does* agree with the other. But agreeing
with the other must be based on whether one *finds* that the view,
value, plan, etc., which is recommended, is deserving of being held
binding for one's own action, and thus is agreeable in shared
deliberations as a view, plan, value, etc., which should be binding
on us. 

Maybe this is a beginning,



--- Stephen Chilton <> wrote:
> 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,
> Steve
> *************************************************************
> | 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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