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Consensus between discourse ethics and democracy : Habermas on compromise

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Consensus between discourse ethics and democracy : Habermas on compromise

Zavediuk, Nicholas (2005) Consensus between discourse ethics and democracy : Habermas on compromise. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The following thesis is a critical consideration of the role compromise formation plays in both Jurgen Habermas's discourse ethics and his discourse theory of democracy. In particular, I want to demonstrate how deficiencies his critics have identified in his political theory---notably the strong bifurcation between the informal public sphere and the formal parliamentary-administrative complex---can be traced back to problems associated with his moral theory, particularly its 'constitutive presupposition' that engaging in practical discourse will bring about an argumentatively achieved consensus on a valid norm. My argument is that compromise need not be, as Habermas thinks, a strategic form of action coordination. Drawing on Joseph Heath's rational choice model of nonstrategic bargaining and a 'defeasibility' reading of the universalization principle in discourse ethics, I hope to establish that 'reasonable compromises' are capable of discursive moral justification. The political consequences of this investigation will focus on how an enhanced understanding of moral compromise formation can expand the role of the public sphere in deliberative democratic theory (something of a reply to Habermas's critics) while retaining the normative insights of discourse ethics.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Philosophy
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Zavediuk, Nicholas
Pagination:iv, [1], 102 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Philosophy
Date:2005
Thesis Supervisor(s):Fritsch, Matthias
ID Code:8579
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:29
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 14:29
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