SUI CONTROVERSI CONFINI DI ETICA E POLITICA
Il dibattito fra liberalismo politico e agonismo populista
In recent years, the public debate in many Western and non-Western countries has seen the rise of populist movements and ideologies at the expenses of the previously dominant liberal interpretations of democracy. This article focuses on a specific facet of this debate, namely the contested definition of public ethics and the uncertain borders between the ethical and the political across the two sides. Prominent liberal authors like John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas privilege a Kantian universalist definition of morality to be contrasted with particularistic ethical and religious conceptions of the good. On the other hand, populist thinkers like Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau criticize the liberal view and characterize public ethics as a space of legitimate antagonism between communities of interpretation and a tool of contestation of the existing political arrangements. Some aspects of the recent debate on the role of religion in politics reflect the attempt from liberal thinkers such as Jürgen Habermas to address this kind of criticism. Ultimately, both liberal and populist theorists offer a specular, but similarly limited perspective that tends to reduce the ethical to the pretences of the political either by offering a consensualist understanding of ethical pluralism or by conflating ethical discourse with collective identity formation.