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Justification in critical theory


Justification in critical theory

Wenning, Mario (2003) Justification in critical theory. Masters thesis, Concordia University.



This study is a critical examination of the role of justification in Critical Theory. In particular I will raise the question in what way Critical Theory can be confirmed or disconfirmed, which is important in order for Critical Theory to be more than a moralizing theory without any objective basis. Special emphasis is placed on Jürgen Habermas's attempt to ground normative social criticism in terms of a theory of communicative action. I show that his argument concerning an ideal speech situation is circular and that his foundationalist assumption of speech as being oriented towards consensus faces serious difficulties. By comparing Habermas's defence of deliberative democracy to that of John Rawls's construction of a just society, I challenge the view that democratic liberalism, a position that both Rawls and Habermas share, can be seen as a "freestanding" or "autonomous" conception. Given the importance of problems concerning value pluralism and growing nihilism in modern societies, I argue that Critical Theory should adopt a concern for meaning complementing its concern for justice. Radical self-reflective normative theory, as we paradigmatically find it in the work of Theodor W. Adorno, I conclude, have to take an ambivalent stance towards the possibility of justifying a conception of justice in positive terms.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Philosophy
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Wenning, Mario
Pagination:v, 88 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Thesis Supervisor(s):Nielsen, Kai
ID Code:2219
Deposited By: Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 17:26
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 15:25
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