Argumentation Ethics True

The validity of the assumptions of argumentation is presupposed by any philosophical discussion and thus provides an incontestable starting point for ethics.

Stephan Kinsella. “Argumentation Ethics and Liberty: A Concise Guide.” Friday, May 27, 2011. 

In setting the stage, Hoppe first observes that the standard natural-rights argument is lacking: It has been a common quarrel with the natural rights position, even on the part of sympathetic readers, that the concept of human nature is far "too diffuse and varied to provide a determinate set of contents of natural law." Furthermore, its description of rationality is equally ambiguous in that it does not seem to distinguish between the role of reason in establishing empirical laws of nature on the one hand and normative laws of human conduct on the other. (The Economics and Ethics of Private Property [EEPP], p. 313; also A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism [TSC], p. 156n118) Hoppe's solution is to focus on the nature of argumentation instead of action in general: The praxeological approach solves this problem by recognizing that it is not the wider concept of human nature but the narrower one of propositional exchanges and argumentation which must serve as the starting point in deriving an ethic. (EEPP, p. 345) Here he draws on the work of his PhD advisor, the famous European philosopher Jürgen Habermas, and fellow German philosopher Karl-Otto Apel, who had developed a theory of "discourse ethics" or "argumentation ethics." As Hoppe explains this basic approach, any truth claim, the claim connected with any proposition that it is true, objective or valid (all terms used synonymously here), is and must be raised and settled in the course of an argumentation. Since it cannot be disputed that this is so (one cannot communicate and argue that one cannot communicate and argue), and since it must be assumed that everyone knows what it means to claim something to be true (one cannot deny this statement without claiming its negation to be true), this very fact has been aptly called "the a priori of communication and argumentation." (EEPP, p. 314) That is, there are certain norms presupposed by the very activity of arguing. Apel and Habermas go on to argue that the ethics presupposed as legitimate by discourse as such justify the standard set of soft-socialist policies. But Hoppe, while recognizing the value of the basic approach, rejected their application of this theory and socialist conclusions. Instead, Hoppe took what was valuable in the Apel-Habermas approach and melded it with Misesian-Rothbardian insights to provide a praxeological-discourse-ethics twist on the standard natural-law defense of rights.

Contesting the validity of assumptions of argumentation is contradictory and impossible since any critique must accept these assumptions.

Karl-Otto Apel. “Kant, Hegel, and the Contemporary Question Concerning the Normative Foundations of Morality and Right.” Hegel on Ethics and Politics. Cambridge University Press. 2004.

In the first place, I think it is necessary to pursue the grounding project of Kant’s transcendental philosophy more deeply in terms of a meaning- critical analysis and thus liberate the project from the dualistic metaphysics still presupposed by Kant himself. This [is] seems a possible undertaking if, methodologically speaking and prior to any specific claim to contested (fallible) theoretical knowledge, in an act of “strict reflection,”33 we consider the necessary conditions of argumentation, of the controlled exercise of thought itself. What this means is the following: we do not as yet propose any particular theory, but rather [and] reflect on the validity claims that – immediately identifiable within discourse itself – are already presupposed in our understanding of the meaning of argumentation and cannot be contested by either party to the argument without incurring a pragmatic self-contradiction. (It is immediately obvious that presuppositions of this kind cannot be grounded in a formal-logical sense without logical circularity, that is, cannot be demonstrated. It is also equally clear that the existence of such presuppositions cannot be revealed empirically independently of the act of strict transcendental reflection.34 But these two demands raised by traditional attempts at philosophical “grounding” are here effectively dissolved in the light of meaning-critical reflection. For all logical demonstration[,] and all empirical redemption of validity claims – and also, in view of the Popperian position, all meaningful critique[s] of demonstrations and empirical validity claims – already presupposes a sufficiently clear understanding of the implicit validity claims of the acts of argumentation. In other words, methodologically, in advance of any presentation of affirmative, negative, or skeptical arguments, both partners of the argument must already be able to understand what it means to assert something, to place something under discussion, to question [and] something, to doubt something, and so forth.