Saturday, June 25, 2005

Ending Ph.D. related blogging

because there is not much to blog on the topic anymore. I am in the process of finishing the first draft and then drafting and redrafting (a never ending game it seems)...

I would like to thank all those who commented and gave me advice here or via emails. Sorry to those I have been unable to get back to. Special thanks to Carl Sachs for making me realise the importance of the work of John McDowell for my project.

I do not know what I will do with this blog in the future. For now I will just post occasionally on anything interesting related to Habermas.


Carl Sachs said...

I'm very pleased that you were able to make use of the McDowell. I'm sorry that I hadn't posted here lately; I just finished up, and now I'm teaching a summer school class in critical theory. We'll be reading Dialectic of Enlightenment, One-Dimensional Man, selections from The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, and some recent essays.

Very recently I've developed an interest in what the Frankfurt Schoolers meant by "positivism," and how fair their criticisms are. Now that positivism has been rather soundly rejected in the English-speaking world, is there any "punch" left in the Frankfurt School critique? No doubt I should read Truth and Justification.

I'll try and keep in touch. Congratulations on completing the first draft!

Carl Sachs

Ali Rizvi said...

Dear Carl,

Nice to hear from you again.

In my opinion Habermas' argument against positivism has much broader significance and import than to be found in the analytic tradition. In Knowledge and Human Interest Habermas famously wrote: "That we disavow reflection is positivism."

Habermas retains his charge of the 'disavowal of reflection' again post positivist analytic philosophers like Quine and Davidson.

Thus in my opinion for Habermas (and I suspect he follows Adorno here very closely) the 'positivism' means something broader than that can be confined to a narrow tradition within empiricism.

Habermas' real charge is against 'empiricism' and not just against positivism. In fact if the criterion for demarcating positivism is the disavowal of reflection then it would also include quite different tradition that is linguistic idealism of Heidegger as well.

We can say generally that for Habermas' the main fault of positivism is the disavowal of reflection and the root cause of this is its underlying empiricist methodology. On the other hand reflection is disavowed in a different way in a quite different tradition of linguistic idealism which does this through its ignorance of the dialectical relation between world disclosure and the innerworldly learning processes.

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