Habermas Commentary/Books/TCA1/p19

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Redeeming Validity Claims (19.2.4)[edit]

To redeem a validity claim is to objectify it. A normative validity claim is "redeemed" through objectification and argumentation, it appears, in the sense that it is made a theme of discussion and objective reasons are given for it. One might argue, alternately, that the normative validity claim is thereby redeemed only in a sense of interest to an empiricist -- that, rather, Habermas rejects the per se legitimacy of the normative claim unless and until it can be objectified and, thereby, thematized in terms satisfactory for purposes of empiricist argument.

Practical discourse is the medium in which we can hypothetically test whether a norm can be impartially justified. In practical discourse, claims to normative rightness are thematized. The reference to "impartial" justification, consistent with the restriction of rational discourse to objectified expressions, and the difficulty of identifying any other means of ultimately grounding normative claims, collectively seem to imply that there is no way in which practical discourse can avoid being largely assimilated into theoretical discourse.