Friday, March 10, 2006

Response Papers: Topics and Due Dates

The third response paper is now due on Thursday, March 23, by 5:00 PM. We will not have class that Thursday, because I will be in Chicago.

IF you attended the public debate on the proposed U.S. invasion of Iran, you may write on the following:

Which side won the debate, and why do you think they won?

IF you did not attend the public debate, or do not wish to write about it, you may write on the following:

Briefly summarize Jurgen Habermas's theory of communicative ethics. Is it feasible to enact those ethics in the American legal or political system?

Have a good Spring Break!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jurgen Habermas, in his communicative ethics, is looking for a way to make relativism and all that is associated with it (good and bad) fit into the modern, pragmatic mold by adding rationalism to the mix. What this means is he believes that our speech and arguments are not just statements of personal conviction (i.e. Ought), but that they can be or are universal-ish truths (i.e. universal norms). These discourse ethics, as he calls it, has three main parts- 1.) Universalization- affects us all. 2.) Validity- works in most instances. 3.) Acceptable- norms not violated. This is just a thumbnail sketch, but you get the picture. You can say what you want, question who you want, and no one can stop you, as long as you are a competent person.

My problem with Habermas is twofold. A) He is far too liberal (in the "generous" sense, not the political, though he is that) in his allowances to individual members of society. Not everyone has something meaningful to say (though they have the right to say it; it doesn't mean it's worth hearing). B) I hate hate hate to say it, for I am a STRONG defender of the first amendment, but there are certain instances where people cannot just blurt out whatever they want. I'm not merely talking about "fire in a crowded theater," either, but things such as the leaking of classified material or details of someone's private computer logs. While there is ample room for abuse by the government in the classification of information and electronic misconduct by PC geeks, there are mechanisms that can mitigate their possible negative issues. My point is, boundless freedom can be just as dangerous as unchecked control.

Then again, in writing, this, I just realized that blogs, with their ability to publish anything at anytime about anyone, are subverting the status quo- just as Habermas envisioned. Maybe he's on to something... Actually, I think I'll write about that... hmm...


12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Tony made some very valid points in his last blog. The one that stands out the most that i would have to disagree as well with Habermas in which Habermas states that you can say what you want, question who you want, and no one can stop you, as long as you are a competent person. In our society it is illegal in some reguards to question certian people (i.e. our national security) or saying what you want ( in a crowded theater.) affects the overall safety of our society. The universal norms may be that no one says the word "bomb" on an airplane but where does the legality of the situation rest. Should it be illegal to say such things or are we taking what everyone says to heart. I do believe in the first amendment of we can say what we wish, but when it becomes a danger to the universal norms then we have a problem.


5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree... I think that the a person cannot jsut say what they want or make accusations. i recently read a article about a guy who just got out of prison becuase his daughter finally confessed that she cried wolf when she told people he molested her, I think that she should have to go to prison for as long as a child molester would that is a horriable thing to do even when you are young.

3:25 PM  

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