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ARE THERE RATIONALLY UNDECIDABLE ARGUMENTS?

ARE THERE RATIONALLY UNDECIDABLE ARGUMENTS? Page 119 Manfred Translated by Ruth Morris and Barry Allen Great importance attaches to the question of whether conflicts that are beyond rational resolution can occur in negotiations designed to achieve agreement. It was on the basis of this question that Jean-François Lyotard hoped to assess the fate of the modern age. For if conflicts are more and more becoming fundamentally irresolvable — as he believed — then reason no longer counts as the supreme mediating authority: we are entering the condition postmoderne. Jürgen Habermas has challenged this argument, countering that the lack of an expansive conception of reason does not necessarily lead to the dead end defined by Lyotard. One can, Habermas says, accept a classical (say, Kantian) definition of rationality — in which assertions (and their grounds) must be universally true or false — but also feel no need for a final authority (God, tradition, transcendental subject, or absolute spirit) on which to rely: the universal truth or falsehood of propositions can in any case be guaranteed by the peaceableness of the participants in any discourse. All that they need do is recognize procedural principles such as nonaggression, fair allocation of opportunities to speak, and so http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Common Knowledge Duke University Press

ARE THERE RATIONALLY UNDECIDABLE ARGUMENTS?

Common Knowledge , Volume 9 (1) – Jan 1, 2003

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2003 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0961-754X
eISSN
1538-4578
DOI
10.1215/0961754X-9-1-119
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Page 119 Manfred Translated by Ruth Morris and Barry Allen Great importance attaches to the question of whether conflicts that are beyond rational resolution can occur in negotiations designed to achieve agreement. It was on the basis of this question that Jean-François Lyotard hoped to assess the fate of the modern age. For if conflicts are more and more becoming fundamentally irresolvable — as he believed — then reason no longer counts as the supreme mediating authority: we are entering the condition postmoderne. Jürgen Habermas has challenged this argument, countering that the lack of an expansive conception of reason does not necessarily lead to the dead end defined by Lyotard. One can, Habermas says, accept a classical (say, Kantian) definition of rationality — in which assertions (and their grounds) must be universally true or false — but also feel no need for a final authority (God, tradition, transcendental subject, or absolute spirit) on which to rely: the universal truth or falsehood of propositions can in any case be guaranteed by the peaceableness of the participants in any discourse. All that they need do is recognize procedural principles such as nonaggression, fair allocation of opportunities to speak, and so

Journal

Common KnowledgeDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2003

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