Moral consciousness and communicative action: from discourse ethics to spiritual transformation

History of the Human Sciences 11 (3):87-113 (1998)

This article strives to make a critical assessment of the claim of discourse ethics, as articulated by Jürgen Habermas, to meet with the challenges of moral consciousness and communicative action today. The article locates Habermas' theory of discourse ethics in the contemporary movement to remoralize institutions and to build a post-conventional moral theory. It describes Habermas' agenda and looks into incoherences in his project in accordance with his own norms. Beginning with an internal critique of Habermas, the article, however, is engaged in an interrogation of the Habermasian agenda from outside its own frame of reference precisely because the issues that the discovered tensions raise, cannot be resolved within the rationalist framework of Habermas. The article argues that in order to realize the lofty agenda of transformation that discourse ethics sets for itself, it must now make a dialogue with critical and practical spir ituality. It gives a brief sketch of the agenda of spiritual transformations that can help discourse ethics solve some of its own stated problems such as the problems of anthropocentrism and cognitive distantiation and be a transformative agent in thinking through the theory and practice of moral consciousness and communicative action today
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DOI 10.1177/095269519801100305
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Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity.Ulrich Beck, Mark Ritter & Jennifer Brown - 1993 - Environmental Values 2 (4):367-368.
Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action.David M. Rasmussen - 1993 - Philosophical Quarterly 43 (173):571.
Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 83 (6):351-360.
Theory and Practice.Jürgen Habermas & John Viertel - 1975 - Studies in Soviet Thought 15 (4):341-351.

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