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Agambens criticism of communicative ethics

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In this post I will examine a criticism Giorgio Agamben makes in Ce qui reste d’Auschwitz in part 2.14 against all forms of ethics that are founded on communication. He mentions Apel explicitly, but the most important opponent in this regard is Jürgen Habermas, who took Apel’s communicative ethics as the basis of an entire worldview. I will first explain Agambens argument from part 2.14, afterwards I will make clear the importance of Agambens claims with the help of the first two chapters of the book only to end with a rough alternative: ethics of testimony.

Communicative ethics has the magnificent advantage of being able to let every individual speak from his particular situation while still having the guarantee of a coherent whole. If we should for example choose whether or not we will forbid the wearing of headscarfs, then we should, according to Habermas, organize a sphere of deliberation…

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