Sunday, March 13, 2005

H-H-H tradition and Habermas

Cristina Lafont describes the two founding insights of the German tradition of language which she following Charles Taylor calls Hamann-Herder-Humboldt tradition, in the following way:

“1. The view of language presupposed by the philosophy of consciousness is subjected to a critique. On this view, the role of language is relegated to that of a tool mediating the subject-object relation; consequently, language becomes a medium for the mere expression of prelinguistic thoughts. The critique of this standpoint arises by regarding language as constitutive of thought, and by recognizing accordingly the double status of language as both empirical and transcendental. In virtue of this status, language claims to the constitutive role traditionally attributed to consciousness, to a transcendental subject.

2. Furthermore, this transformation amounts to a detranscendentalization of reason. Reason comes to be unavoidably situated in the midst of a plurality of natural languages, which cannot guarantee the unity of reason in the same way as could the extraworldly strandpoint of a transcendental subject.” (The linguistic turn in Hermeneutic tradition, p. 3).

Habermas basically accepts both insights of the tradition however emphasises the need of ‘transcendence form within’ in the wake of the above by stressing an equal importance of innerworldly learning processes which have capability of altering (in part) the language which is the condition of the possibility of these innerworldy process. This is not possible without a thoroughgoing ‘naturalism’ of Habermas which bars him from accepting a static view of language as the condition of world disclosure.

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