• Discourse Ethics and 'the Rift of Speechlessness': The Limits of Argumentation and Possible Future Directions.

      Kelly, Ute (2006)
      Jürgen Habermas's discourse ethics ¿ and within this framework, particularly the idea of 'moral discourses', which focuses on 'what is good for all' and is intended as a means of addressing situations where a shared substantive 'background consensus' does not exist or has broken down ¿ is premised on the assumption that participants attempt to engage with and persuade each other through reasoned argumentation. Where does this leave (potential) participants with strong religious convictions? In several recent publications, Habermas himself has started to reflect on this question. His reflections are motivated not least by (responses to) 11 September 2001. In this context, Habermas has suggested that those with secular commitments engage in a process of self-reflection about the meaning of secularisation, the losses involved in the questioning of religious world views, and the question of how we might respond to these losses. Yet while these reflections are interesting and suggestive, Habermas's framework, as it stands, cannot easily accommodate his own recognition of the need to overcome what he has called 'the rift of speechlessness' that threatens to divide religious and secular discourses. Against this background, I consider elements of William E. Connolly's recent reflections on Neuropolitics as one example of a body of work that suggests possible alternative responses to the challenges Habermas identifies ¿ and as a contribution that deserves to be taken seriously by those interested in the further development of discourse ethics and/or deliberative democracy.
    • Reflections on the position(s) of Peace Studies

      Kelly, Ute (2002)
      About a week after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, staff and students in the Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford met to begin discussing how the Department should respond. At one end of the spectrum was the conviction that the Department should publicly express a collective position. Both within and outside the Department, people were asking: What is the position of peace studies? At the other end, there was the equally strong conviction that it was both impossible and inappropriate for the Department to answer this question, that peace studies should provide a space for argument and debate about the complexities of the situation rather than presume a consensus that might not exist beyond a very general level. The first argument worried those who —justifiably —insist that intellectual freedom and debate is integral to academic activity. The latter disappointed those who —equally justifiably —expect peace studies to take a clear stance in favor of the values that constitute the very rationale of the discipline.