Thursday, September 30, 2004

"Marx established in what sense the category of labour is a universal concept applicable to all societies. He shows that only to the extent that the capitalist mode of production has become established are the objective conditions fulfilled that allow him, Marx, access to an understanding of the universal character of this category ‘labour’.

With regard to . . . a theory of communication, one must use the same method to clarify how the development of late capitalism has objectively fulfilled conditions that allow us to recognize universals in the structures of linguistic communication, providing criteria for a critique which can no longer be based on the philosophy of history."

"Autonomy and Solidarity: Interviews With Jurgen Habermas, p. 99"

Unconditonality and context transcendence

"For Habermas, the concept of unconditionality is primary, and this can in turn (if successful) ground his conception of context transcendence, in the sense of 'shooting' each and every context. I remain sceptical however that the idea of universality as agreement on the validity of claims, in the double sense of the term universal mentioned earlier, can be salvaged even by means of this strategy.

To understand this conception of unconditionality we need to recognise the key idealist premises and presuppositions that Habermas continues to cleave to even after the linguistic turn and detranscendentalisation. Habermas holds fast to the fundamental idealist premise that empirical order and rational order are mutually exclusive. Habermas' claims about the detranscendentalisation of the subject and reason, and his claim that reason is a 'thing of this world,' does not in any way mean that he has given up the fundamental idealist belief mentioned above. Rather what he does, in his own words, is to bring down the idealisation “from transcendental heaven to the earth of the lifeworld. The theory of communicative action detranscendentalizes the noumenal realm only to have the idealizing force of context transcending anticipation settle in the . . . heart of ordinary, everyday communicative practice.” (BFN: 19). Habermas does not aim to abolish the noumenal realm; so much as to bring it back to the earth."

Ali Rizvi, Validity claims, Unconditionality, Universality and Modernism in Habermas: A reappraisal, (forthcoming).

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Naturalistic Fallacy:

"In the view of the delicate relationship and . . . the complimentary relationship between rational reconstruction and empirical analysis, there is a danger of the naturalistic fallacy . . . Piaget tends to assimilate his approach to system theory. The concept of equilibrium, which points to a relative stability of problem-solving processes and is measured in terms of the internal criterion of the degree of reversibility, carries connotations of the successful adaptation of a self-maintaing system to a changing environment . . . . Every attempt to view that superiority of higher-level achievements, which are measured in terms of the validity of problem-solving attempts, in strictly functional terms places the specific achievement of cognitivist development in jeopardy. If what is true or morally right could be adequately analysed in terms of what is necessary for the maintenance of system boundaries, we would not need rational reconstruction.”

"Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action, pp. 34-35"

Idealistic Fallacy:

“As long as we cast the issue in transcendental terms, we have to distinguish sharply between the hermeneutic approach of a rational reconstruction of the structures of the lifeworld, which we undertake from the perspective of participants, and the observation-based causal analysis of how these structures naturally evolve. Only the idealistic fallacy of inferring an ontological difference between mind and body (or Being and beings) from a methodological distinction misleads us into locating the transcendental conditions of objective experience in a transmundane realm of the intelligible – or of the history of Being. Conversely, the naturalistic fallacy is but the other side of the same coin; without considering the aporia of self referentiality, and project them onto a scientifically objectified realm.”

"Truth and Justification, p. 28."

"Religious Tolerance—The Pacemaker for Cultural Rights Jürgen Habermas"

Thursday, September 23, 2004

“What raises us out of nature is the only thing whose nature we can know: language. Through its structure, autonomy and responsibility are posited for us. Our first sentence expressed unequivocally the intention of universal and unconstrained consensus. Taken together, autonomy and responsibility constitute the only idea we posses a priori in the sense of the philosophical tradition.”
"Knowledge and Human Interests, p. 314"

Contrast the above with a recent formulation:

". . . weak naturalism contents itself with the basic background assumption that the biological ednowment and the cultural way of life of Homo sapiens have a "natural" origin and can in principle be explained in terms of evolutionary theory."

"Truth and Justification, pp. 27-28"

“Some twenty years ago Jürgen Habermas introduced his idea of a critical social theory that would be empirical and scientific without being reducible to empirical analytic science, philosophical in the sense of critique but not of presuppositionless “first philosophy,” historical without being historicist, and practical in the sense of being oriented to an emancipatory political practice but not to technological-administrative control.”

Translator's introduction to "Communication and the Evolution of Society, p. vii"

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

“The type of social theory we first find developed by Marx is characterised by the fact that the theory is doubly reflexive. Historical materialism is intended to offer an explanation of social evolution which is so comprehensive that it extends to the conditions of the possibility of the rise of the theory itself as well as to the conditions of its application. The theory specifies the conditions under which the self reflection on the history of mankind has become objectively possible and it also specifies exactly who will be able with the help of the theory to gain enlightenment about themselves and about their potentially emancipatory role in the historical process. As a result of its reflection on the conditions of its own appearance and application, theory understands itself as a necessary catalytic moment within the very nexus of social life which it is analysing. Indeed, it analyses this as an integral nexus of constraints from the point of view of its potential Aufhebung. The theory thus covers a double relation between theory and praxis: on the one hand, it investigates the historical conditions for the constitution of a constellation of interest to which, as it were, the theory can itself influence through the way it orients action. On the one hand, it is concerned with social praxis which, as social synthesis, makes knowledge possible; on the other hand, it is concerned with a political praxis which is consciously directed toward overturning the existing institutional system. Through its reflection on the conditions of the possibility of its own appearance, critique is to be distinguished both from science and from philosophy. The sciences ignore the constitution of their objects and understand their subject matter in an objectivistic way. Philosophy, conversely, is too ontologically sure of its origin as a first principle. Through its anticipation of the conditions of its possible application, critique is to be distinguished from what Horkheimer called the traditional theory. It understands that its claim to validity can only be vindicated in successful processes of Enlightenment, and that means in the practical discourse of those concerned. Critical theory renounces the contemplative claims of theories which are constructed in monologic form and sees, moreover, that all previous philosophy, in spite of the claims it has made for itself, has never had a purely contemplative character.”

"Theory and practice, pp. 1-2"

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

“Speculative is to be understood here in its Hegelian sense as opposed to positive, that is, as opposed to that which may be defined by virtue of certain presuppositions which remain implicit. The elucidation of these presuppositions can only be accomplished through an experience which relates the positive to the presuppositions which was the conditions of its definition. This experience is the transgression of the limit between the positive and its condition. It is precisely by virtue of what is articulated through speculative experience that the discourse of the speculative proposition is to be distinguished from theoretical enterprises which are content to bring together different positive fields, and to pass from one to another by a transference (metaphora) which produces a synthesis in the metaphor and not in the concept.”

"Metacritique: The Philosophical Argumetn of Jürgen Habermas, pp. 27-28."

Monday, September 20, 2004

“ Not all of those who have abandoned the subjectivist or mentalist paradigm have identified language as that which must replace the subject. But all of them, at least to a certain degree, were or still are convinced that the self is not autonomous but determined by external forces over which it only has very limited control, be they language (hermeneutic philosophy, Lyotard), social and economic forces (Marxism of various kinds), the unconscious (Freud), or ‘discursive formations’ (Foucault). Even in the case of the Critical Theory of Jürgen Habermas and his collaborators and followers, there is evidence of a strong anti-subjectivist tendency. In some ways this is surprising because it would seem that any social and political form unnecessary coercion must attribute a considerable amount of autonomy to individual agents. Nonetheless, second-generation Critical Theorists have been concern because they believe that the focus on subjectivity can and must give way to a focus on language and intersubjectivity.”

"Dieter Freundlieb: Dieter Henrich and Contemporary Philosophy: The Return to Subjectivity, p. 2"

Thursday, September 16, 2004

" . . . my position is a naturalistic one; I see philosophy not as an a priori propaedeutic or groundwork for science, but as continuous with science. I see philosophy and science in the same boat - a boat which, to revert to Neurath's figure as I so often do, we can rebuild only at sea while staying afloat in it. There is no external vantage point, no first philosophy. All scientific findings, all scientific conjectures that are at present plausible, are therefore in my view as welcome for use in philosophy as elsewhere."

"Natural Kinds," in Ontological relativity,: And other essays, p. 126-127.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

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