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Volume 8/9, 1996

Rationality II & III

Alexander Ulfig
Pages 197-209
DOI: 10.5840/protosociology19968/912

Stufen der Rechtfertigung

For the last 30 years there have been debates in philosophy about the concept of rationality. In anglo-american circles they have been primary characterized as discussions about “justified beliefs.” By contrast, the debate in Germany among discourse-theorists (Habermas, Apel) has been linked to the problem of justification of communicative speech-acts (within the concept of the entire communicative situation). Herbert Schnädelbach has modified the discours-theoretical account. His concept can be regarded along a number of dimensions. He has developed a linguistic analysis of the validity claims made in various speech-act situations (following Paul Taylor). In Schnädelbach’s view, normative characterizations of speech acts can be used descriptively, too. Furthermore, the hierarchy of justifications ends on the level of rational choice. My starting point here is: there is a fundamental distinction between justifications in everyday-life and a theoretical level of justification (discoursive justifications). Thus, I discuss the hierarchy of justifications developed by Schnädelbach. Furthermore, I evaluate Schnädelbach’s concept in a semantic perspective. I will show that Schnädelbach’s pragmatical account requires a semantic analysis. Without recourse to such analysis, we cannot understand the universe of normative language.

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