Particularity and Perspective Taking: On Feminism and Habermas’s Discourse Theory of Morality

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2004


Arts and Humanities | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Feminist Philosophy | Philosophy | Women's Studies


Seyla Benhabib's critique of Jürgen Habermas's moral theory claims that his approach is not adequate for the needs of a feminist moral theory. I argue that her analysis is mistaken. I also show that Habermas's moral theory, properly understood, satisfies many of the conditions identified by feminist moral philosophers as necessary for an adequate moral theory. A discussion of the compatibility between the model of reciprocal perspective taking found in Habermas's moral theory and that found in María Lugones's essay “Playfulness, ‘World’-Travelling, and Loving Perception” reinforces the claim that his moral theory holds as yet unrecognized promise for feminist moral philosophy.