On Habermas's differentiation of rightness from truth: can an achievement concept do without a validity concept?
The metaproblematic of this article is the cognitive structure of morality. In the context of an investigation into Habermas’s theory of validity which respects his strong cognitivism and emphasis on moral knowledge, the focus is on his proposal to treat rightness as ‘justification-immanent’ rather than as ‘justification-transcendent’, as in the case of truth. The imputation of asymmetrical validity bases to rightness and truth is probed in terms of the distinction between achievement and validity concepts which is informed by the mathematical–philosophical conceptual pair of finite and infinite ideal limit concepts. The thrust of the argument is spearheaded by the question whether the process of the discursive construction and justification of rightness is not of necessity required, as in the case of truth, to have recourse to a transcendent – albeit immanently rooted – cognitive property beyond formal-pragmatically backed procedural presuppositions to secure its validity. A final brief coda collates suggestions made in the course of the argumentation towards a cognitive–sociological approach that links up with Habermas’s central concepts and could complement his inspiring vision of the ‘cultural embodiment of reason’.
Formal pragmatics , Habermas , Justice , Limit concept , Morality , Proceduralism , Truth , Validity
Strydom, P. (2018) 'On Habermas's differentiation of rightness from truth: can an achievement concept do without a validity concept?', Philosophy and Social Criticism, pp. 1-20. doi:10.1177/0191453718816346
© 2018, the Author. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.