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The triangle of publicness, communication and democracy in Habermas's thought

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2004
Turan, Ömer
This thesis develops the Triangle Model, to offer a general framework through which the work of Jürgen Habermas could be better understood and assessed. Accordingly, it is argued that, it is possible to derive a triangle in Habermas̕s thought, formed by the concerns of publicness, communication, and democracy. Each corner of the triangle corresponds to a major concern and focus of Habermas̕s project chronologically. The Triangle Model provides an overview of continuities and discontinuities in Habermas̕s work. The main discontinuity found is between the first and the second corners of the triangle, namely between publicness and communication. It is argued that this rapture stems from an interpretive turn, composed of three points: the influence of Hegelian philosophy of human interaction, the concomitant criticism of Kantian foundationalism, and the incorporation of Arendt̕s communicative concept of power. This study also emphasises that there are points indicating continuity, or unity in Habermas̕s thought. First, an intersubjective theory of truth is employed in all three concerns or corners of the triangle. Second, in all these concerns, Habermas searches for an answer to the same question: أhow to produce legitimate normsؤ. The principle of publicity and the authority of the better argument voiced in the first corner of the triangle -publicness-, the discourse ethics of the second corner, and the deliberative politics of the third corner are formulated and adapted by Habermas in order to find the ways of producing legitimate norms. In this context, it is argued that the deliberative politics is based on publicness and communication; or publicness and communication are indispensable for deliberative politics.