Published Online: 1 FEB 2013
Copyright © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
The International Encyclopedia of Ethics
How to Cite
McMahon, C. 2013. Discourse Ethics. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
- Published Online: 1 FEB 2013
Discourse ethics is a program in moral philosophy that is associated most closely with the work of Jürgen Habermas (1990). The program is meant as a response to the problem that under modern conditions, reason no longer seems able to put us into epistemic contact with a set of timeless and universal moral truths. Thus many writers on ethics have been attracted by subjectivist and emotivist accounts of moral thinking (see Emotivism). Discourse ethics, by contrast, is a cognitivist program which seeks to make a place for correct answers to moral questions by extracting moral normativity from the normativity associated with the use of language (see Cognitivism; Normativity). To the extent that reason can be identified with the normative framework governing our use of language, the success of the program would provide morality with a foundation in reason.
Keywords: continental philosophy; Habermas, Jurgen; normative ethics; impartiality