Habermas pp 134-148 | Cite as

Of Gods and Demons: Habermas and Practical Reason

  • Steven Lukes
Part of the Contemporary Social Theory book series


‘Practical questions’, according to Habermas, ‘admit of truth’:1 ‘just (richtige) norms must be capable of being grounded in a similar way to true statements’.2 Truth, on his view, means ‘warranted assertibility’: this is shown when participants enter into a discourse and ‘a consensus can be realized under conditions that identify it as a justified consensus’.3 If, he writes, ‘philosophical ethics and political theory are supposed to disclose the moral core of the general consciousness and to reconstruct it as a normative concept of the moral, then they must specify criteria and provide reasons: they must, that is, produce theoretical knowledge’.4 Thus for Habermas judgements about moral and political questions can be rationally grounded and differences about such questions can be rationally resolved.


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Notes and References

  1. 8.
    F. Engels, Anti-Duhring ( Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1959 ).Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    L. Trotsky, Their Morals and Ours ( New York: Pathfinder Press, 1972 ) p. 37.Google Scholar
  3. 11.
    For this interpretation of Lukacs and Marx, see L. Kolakowski, Main Currents of Marxism, 3 vols ( Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  4. 12.
    M. Horkheimer, Critical Theory ( New York: Seabury Press, 1973 ) p. 213.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    J. Habermas, ‘Toward a Theory of Communicative Competence’, Inquiry, 13 (1970) p. 372.Google Scholar
  6. 22.
    J. Rawls, A Theory of Justice ( Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972 ) p. 261.Google Scholar
  7. 27.
    T. McCarthy, The Critical Theory of Jürgen Habermas ( London: Hutchinson, 1978 ) p. 306.Google Scholar
  8. 37.
    J. Rawls, ‘Fairness to Goodness’, Philosophical Review, 84 (1975) p. 539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 62.
    L. Kohlberg, ‘Justice as Reversibility’, in Philosophy, Politics and Society, 5th series, ed. P. Laslett and J. Fishkin ( Oxford: Blackwell, 1979 ) p. 266.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Lukes

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