Those who deny that Habermas’ project is aimed at reconciliation between nature and reason do so on the basis of Habermas’ acceptance of the Weberian conception of “disenchantment of the world” and (of nature) as an irreversible insight of Modernity which cannot be rejected without abandoning Modernity. Consequently Habermas rejects any attempts at “re-enchanting the world or nature” which for the proponents of reconciliation is essential if there is to be reconciliation between nature and reason.
What I would claim is that such critics confuse two different conception of “disenchantment of the world” and consequently between two different notions of “re-enchantment of the world” and hence two different conception of reconciliation between nature and reason. While Habermas adheres to the conception of “disenchantment of the world” in the Weberian sense and deems any “re-enchantment of the world” in the corresponding sense as regressive he does not accept “disenchantment of the world” in what I will term as an Adornian sense of the term. On the contrary he is committed to overcoming “disenchantment of the world” and consequently to “re-enchantment of the world” in this sense. Hence I would claim that Habermas aims at reconciliation between nature and reason in this second sense.
Wellmer describes the Weberian sense of “disenchantment of the world” and its corresponding conception of rationalization very well:
“. . . for [Weber] the emergence of modern science and modern law as well as the emergence of secularized systems of instrumental or strategic action and the destruction of “objective” meaning systems (like religious world-views) is internally related to what he has called the “disenchantment of the world.” Not only is this disenchantment of the world, historically and conceptually, necessary precondition for rationalization processes of that type which for Weber are specific to modern European history, it rather also signifies for Weber a cognitive achievement of a substantive kind, through which the boundaries of what may be called “rational” are defined in a new way.” (Albrecht Wellmer, “ Reason, Utopia, and Enlightenment,” in Habermas and modernity, 35-66, here 42, italics by Wellmer.)
“That the world, objectively speaking, is devoid of meaning and of values, can only be claimed by somebody for whom the process of disenchantment is a process of disillusionment, i.e; a process of enlightenment. This process of enlightenment is a process of rationalization in a peculiar sense: for first it amounts . . . to a differentiation of categories of knowledge and spheres of validity from each other – which in traditional societies are not yet clearly separated from each other, and secondly, on the basis of this process of differentiation, it brings to awareness the sphere of symbolically mediated human praxis as the only possible source of meaning and validity, and therefore is the only possible frame of reference for intersubjective validity claims. Without external guarantees for meaning or validity, every belief becomes a potential claim for which no intersubjective redemption is possible except through arguments.” (Albrecht Wellmer, “ Reason, Utopia, and Enlightenment,” 42-43, italics by Wellmer).
As stated above Habermas would reject any notion of “re-enchantment of the world” and hence reconciliation with nature that consists in reversing above mentioned “disenchantment of the world” and its corresponding rationalization. Furthermore Habermas’ resistance to the above seems to me to be itself a part of his commitment to the concept of reconciliation between reason and nature in so far as reason is brought back from “transcendent realm” (whether conceived in terms of the transcendent God of religious world views or in terms of metaphysical conception of objective reason) to this worldly argumentative practices.
What I call the Adornian conception of “disenchantment of the world” is described well by J. M. Bernstein:
“The transcendental separation of nature from the space of reason, the nature from the normative, is the disenchantment of nature.” (J.M. Bernstein, “Re-Enchanting Nature,” 217, italics added).
Here disenchantment is construed as separation between nature and reason. Habermas is committed to overcoming this separation and hence committed to overcoming disenchantment in this sense.