Open Access

Democracy and Language in Jürgen Habermas’s Discourse Theory


The concept of hermeneutic science is outlined by Habermas as a reflection within the ordinary language, addressed to the dialogic dimension of intersubjective recognition and connected to the juridical guarantee. The guarantee function fulfilled by the discursive agreement towards every real dialogue is obvious: it indicates the main reference point for the regulation and coordination of social action, tracing a line of demarcation between being and having to be, facts and norms. Speech, communicative agreement and legal guarantee are mutually qualified terms where the public discussion of institutional issues makes it possible to define the normative validity as non-assimilatory generality, placed beyond any populistic yearning, tracing a line of demarcation between law and power. The idea of deliberative democracy expresses the relationship and distinction between the universalism of rights and the factuality of the norm issuing, between the idea of good and the idea of right, in order to support democratic decision-making legitimacy. Combining the reasons of the markets with those of civil solidarity, through independent forms of regulation both from the obsolete state sovereignties and from the traditional international perspectives, represents a primary challenge of the Habermasian theory where the critical role of the rational public sphere appears fundamental.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Philosophy, other