Jürgen Habermas and Islamic fundamentalism: on the limits of discourse ethics

Journal of Global Ethics 6 (2):153-166 (2011)
Abstract
Using the example of contemporary Islamic fundamentalism, and especially the writings of Sayyid Qutb, this article raises questions about discourse ethics as a mode of conflict resolution. It appears that discourse ethics is only relevant when all parties have already agreed to settle disputes deliberatively and already share the notions of rational deliberation and individual autonomy. This raises questions not only about the capability of discourse ethics to incorporate a deep plurality of worldviews, but also about its capability to successfully solve disputes. When confronting situations where the willingness to deliberate is absent, discourse ethics is left standing empty handed. This, I argue, is due to both the conceptual distinction between communicative action and strategic action, as well as the abstracted nature of Habermas's discourse ethics
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