Aug 15, 2012

X is in the general interest

"I shall begin by assuming that the proposition: 'Recommendation X is legitimate' has the same meaning as the proposition: 'Recommendation X is in the general (or public) interest,' where X can be an action as well as a norm of action or even a system of such norms (in the case we are considering, a system of domination). 'X is in the general interest' is to mean that the normative validity claim connected with X counts as justified. The justifiability of competing validity claims is decided by a system of possible justifications; a single justification is called a legitimation. The reconstruction of given legitimations can consist, first, in discovering the justificatory system, S, that allows for evaluating the given legitimation valid or invalid in S. 'Valid in S' is to mean only that someone who accepts S -- a myth or a cosmology or a political theory -- must also accept the grounds given in valid legitimations. This necessity expresses a consistency connection resulting from the internal relations of the justificatory system."
-- Jürgen Habermas, "Legitimation Problems in the Modern State."