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Norm and utopia: the transformation of discourse ethics in the Critical Theory of Seyla Benhabib

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Ana Claudia Lopes
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Campinas, SP.
Institution: Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Yara Adario Frateschi; Alessandro Pinzani; Luiz Sergio Repa; Rúrion Melo; Monique Hulshof
Advisor: Yara Adario Frateschi

Since Jürgen Habermas¿s communicative turn, critical theorists associated with the Institute for Social Research begin to face new challenges. In addition to a critical diagnosis of the times, the justification of the normative criteria guiding social criticism also comes to the fore. Such normative criteria should attend critical theory¿s assumptions that no particular subject (or group) bears the potential for emancipation, no ultimate or metaphysical truth grounds normative standards, and that it is not the task of critique to provide blueprints for ideal societies. Also, in dialogue with the so-called liberal-communitarian debate, an important discussion emerges concerning the possibility of justifying the normative foundations of social criticism on the grounds of a nonfoundationalist, post-metaphysical moral and political universalism. Seyla Benhabib's work shares this set of concerns, which are combined with her own concerns within feminist critical theory as well as her criticisms towards the reception of "post-modernist" theories in the US. This dissertation examines Benhabib¿s early work in light of both the significance of practical philosophy for a critical theory of society and the philosophical justification of normative assumptions and criteria. By addressing the transformations Benhabib brings to discourse ethics, it is argued that practical philosophy has a twofold task: first, the task of uncovering and challenging the assumptions of the philosophical tradition as well as the contemporary debates; and second, to clarify and justify the normative criteria and standards guiding social criticism. The dissertation also claims that Benhabib provides discourse ethics, in particular, as well as critical theory, in general, with a political inflection and that none of the specificities of ethics and political philosophy shall be conflated or absorbed into the explanatory-diagnostics dimension (AU)

FAPESP's process: 15/11540-1 - Norm and utopia: the critical theory of Seyla Benhabib
Grantee:Ana Cláudia Lopes Silveira
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)