Pluralism and universalism in discourse ethics

Cristina Lafont*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter shows how the epistemic pluralism, which seems to be defensible for theoretical questions of truth, can analogously be accepted for practical questions of moral rightness. The line between pluralism and relativism has to be drawn in a more precise way. The universalist core of discourse ethics rests on the possibility of defending the cognitive status of moral questions. The universalist or cognitivist in fact recognizes that the value of morally right social regulations can be understood only from the internal perspective of such an ethical self-understanding. Habermas’ cognitivist account of moral questions relies on a formal-pragmatic reconstruction of the communicative rationality implicit in everyday communication practices. It draws on the structural similarities of these practices when questions about truth and moral lightness arise. Habermas’ pragmatic analysis of the validity claims involved in our communicative practices indeed contains an account of the internal connection between knowledge and rational acceptability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Matter of Discourse
Subtitle of host publicationCommunity and Communication in Contemporary Philosophies
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780429876370
ISBN (Print)9781138608832
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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