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Javnost - The Public, Vol. 21 - 2014, No. 2

Public Discourse between Counterfactual Idealisations and Practical Realisation in Public Sphere

, pages: 23 - 38

The article explores different approaches to the theoretical grounding of public use of reason developed by Habermas, Kant and Rawls. It is focused on Habermas’s idea of communicative rationality and the public sphere, and then this approach is related to Kantian practical reason and Rawls’s idea of public reason. The article highlights liberal and republican elements in Habermas’s concept of public sphere, and emphasises that liberal concepts of democracy require public reason as a device of justification of constitutional norms, while the republican idea of popular sovereignty opens up the popular public sphere. The second part of the article describes the tension between the counterfactual nature of Habermas’s discourse ethics and its practical realisation in deliberative politics in institutions of the state.

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