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Radicalising the Letzbegründung: From Sense-Postulate to Necessity of (an Extended Concept of) Morality

Lovelli, Linda

In this paper I intend to illustrate a ‘radicalisation’ of Apel’s ‘ultimate foundation’, which is in my opinion necessary to complete the author’s attempt to justify the ‘moral point of view’. The latter appears indeed to be unfinished, because it does not face the problem of the sense/value of human existence that – I maintain – is prior to the one of the justification of basic moral principles.

I am however convinced that the method of transcendental reflexion defended by Apel can offer the necessary sources to take the missing step and show that the one who questions the sense of human existence cannot avoid presupposing a sense-postulate. I will therefore argue that one cannot avoid recognising the value of human existence, namely that there is ‘something’ in human existence that is worth to be protected and promoted.

Such value, as suggested by Charles Taylor in his critical confrontation with discourse ethics, should be articulated in a conception of the good, or even of the ‘highest good’, that in my view has its core in a specific idea of authenticity and ultimately justifies the validity of the moral principles of discourse ethics.

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