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

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2004


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.