Saturday, February 19, 2005

categorical meaning and the meaning of truth claims

In his posscript to Knowledge and Human Interests [Jürgen Habermas, A Postscript to Knowledge and Human Interests, Phil. Soc. Sci. 3(1973): 157-189] Habermas makes a crucial distinction between the problem of object constitution and validity (Geltung). Here Habermas first time connects the problem of the verification of truth with the meaning of validity claims. According to Habermas, “the meaning of truth and untruth of a statement does not consist in the conditions guaranteeing the objectivity of our experience but in the possibility of argumentative corroboration of a truth claim which is falsifiable in principle” (ibid: 166). Habermas goes on to further differentiate between and contrast the categorical meaning of proposition and the meaning of discursive truth claims: “the categorical meaning of proposition is connected with the species of objects of experience of which the predicate is something. By contrast, the meaning of a discursive truth claim embodied in statement is connected with the existence of states of affairs (Sachverhalte) which we render in those statements” (ibid.). Thus “in every speech act, categorical meaning is contained in the prepositional content, whereas the truth claim is contained in the performative part. For the categorical meaning always reflects the way in which we experience something in the world-as a thing or event, as a person or as that person’s utterance. The truth claim on the other hand, reflects the intersubjective validity, on the basis of which something may be predicated of objects of experience, i.e. that a state of affairs is indeed a fact” (ibid: 166-167, emphasis in italics by Habermas, emphasis in bold added).

Habermas returns to this distinction between experience and judgment in his recent work (particularly in Truth and Justification) on which more later.

No comments:

Locations of visitors to this page