Roberto Frega
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
In this paper I argue against Jürgen Habermas’s theoretical dualism between ethics and morality. I do this by showing how his account of normativity is vitiated by an unnecessary superposition of a social-evolutionary and a theoretical-linguistic account of normativity, and that this brings about theoretical problems that in the end cannot be overcome. I also show that Rainer Forst’s attempt at salvaging Habermas’s distinction is equally doomed to failure, but that his attempt nevertheless invites new and more fruitful avenues for normative theory that are worth exploring. The conclusion of this paper is that traditional notions of ethics and morality can be preserved provided we heavily redefine their meanings and release them from some of the theoretical work they have been expected to accomplish, but that to complete this transition we also need to supersede Forst’s pluralization of normative contexts toward a theory of normative practices that in the end makes the distinction between ethics and morality workable but useless. I begin by first locating the debate about ethics and morality within the context of recent normative theory, and proceed to examine the two main strategies through which Habermas has elaborated his idea of a sharp dualism between ethics and morality. I then introduce a theoretical distinction between what I call a horizontal and a vertical integration of ethics and morality and contend that whilst only the horizontal is viable, Habermas decidedly prefers the idea of a vertical integration. With this work done, I proceed to complete my critique of Habermas’s argument and show how, by recovering the pragmatist roots of his thought, an alternative solution based on a functionalist understanding of morality could be envisaged. I then conclude by examining Rainer Forst’s attempt at salvaging Habermas’s account, and show that the failure of Forst’s attempts opens the way for new and more fruitful approaches to normative theory which are more likely to recover the pragmatist roots of Habermas’s thought.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09672559.2013.833963
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 50,447
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.

View all 34 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

How to Be a Normative Expressivist.Michael Pendlebury - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (1):182-207.
Normative Requirements.John Broome - 1999 - Ratio 12 (4):398–419.
Evolution and Normative Scepticism.Karl Schafer - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):471-488.
Against Essential Normativity of the Mental.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 140 (2):263 - 283.
Verdinglichung als Pathologie zweiter Ordnung.Titus Stahl - 2011 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 59 (5):731-746.
Stakeholder Management Theory: A Critical Theory Perspective.Darryl Reed - 1999 - Business Ethics Quarterly 9 (3):453-483.
Meta‐Normative Realism, Evolution, and Our Reasons to Survive.Jeff Behrends - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (4):486-502.
Holism, Weight, and Undercutting.Mark Schroeder - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):328 - 344.


Added to PP index

Total views
35 ( #272,110 of 2,326,391 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #212,154 of 2,326,391 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes