Thursday, April 28, 2005

Kant, Habermas and normativity of reason

“. . . on a Kantian account, the appropriate causal history of one’s token identity of one’s beliefs . . . is not sufficient for understanding. This is because understanding that p requires not merely arriving at one’s belief that p by the correct causal route, that is, having this belief produced by the appropriate set of prior beliefs; it also requires taking or recognizing these prior beliefs as warranting the belief that p. Reason can function as reasons only when they are consciously recognized as such. And this recognition cannot, in turn, be analyzed simply as the possession of a further, second-order belief about the relationship between one’s first-order beliefs. Not only such view fail to account for this moment of recognition, it would lead inevitably to the infinite regress. . . .” (Henry E Allison, (1995) "On Naturalizing Kant's Transcendental Psychology", Dialectica, 49(2-4), pp. 335-351, here p. 348, italics added).

As noted earlier, though Habermas would disagree with the above as far as it is meant to explain an adequate conception of experience, he would totally agree with Kant in claiming that “ Reason can function as reasons only when they are consciously recognized as such.” For Haberams, as for Kant, reason is normative through and through and in defending this normativity he is certainly a Kantian.

There are variety of ways, in which Habermas defends Kant’s insight. One important strategy through which Habermas defends the above Kantian insight is to claim that there is no interpretation without evaluation:

“For reasons to be sound and for them to be merely considered sound are not the same thing, whether we are dealing with reasons for asserting facts, for recommending norms and values, or for expressing desires and feelings. That is why the interpreter cannot simply look at and understand such reasons without at least implicitly passing judgment on them as reasons.” (Habermas, Reconstruction and Interpretations in the Social Sciences, in MORAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND COMMUNICATIVE ACTION, pp. 21-41, here p. 30)

“. . . reasons can be understood only insofar as they are taken seriously as reasons and evaluated.” (p. 30).

“There is a sense in which any interpretation is a rational interpretation.” (p. 31).

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

McDowell, Putnam, Habermas and "transcendence from within"

McDowell (in the essay cited here) claims that Rorty ignores an important distinction between an assertion that “validity claims” are raised within a context (which is by definition a particular context) and a different assertion that justification is reducible to the particular context. Habermas explains the same point (and he makes this point in his discussion of Rorty as well) in the following way:

“. . . the validity claimed for propositions and norms transcends space and times, but in each case the claim is raised here and now, in a specific context, and accepted or rejected with real implications for social interactions.” (PT: 139).

Habermas’ assertion that the validity of a proposition ‘transcends space and times,” might be misleading in the way it stands but what he really means is that when we raise claims (necessarily within a particular context) we implicitly (undertake) to defend in all possible contexts.

It is interesting to note that Habermas presents that above formulation as his way of rendering of Putnam’s following remarks:

“Reason is, in this sense, both immanent (not to be found outside of concrete language games and institutions) and transcendent (a regulative idea that we use to criticize the conduct of all activities and institutions).” [Putnam, “Why Reason Can’t be Naturalized,” Synthese 52 (1982)].

Habermas quotes Putnam’s above remarks with his own equivalent of it (quoted above) in order to substantiate his assertion that:

“From the possibility of reaching understanding linguistically, we can read off a concept of situated reason that is given voice in validity claims that are both context-dependent and transcendent.” (PT: 139).

A situated reason is context dependent but provides the basis of transcendence which is a situated transcendence and hence “transcendence from within.”

Addendum: “. . . with the validity claims factually raised and recognized within an action coordinating role, an element of unconditionality enters into every day communicative practice. Criticizable validity claims have two faces: as claims, at least from the viewpoint of the participants, they transcend all merely local agreements and base themselves on a subversive, continually flexible potential of disputable reasons. Yet they must be raised here and now within specific contexts and with coverage provided by an unquestioned cultural background and accepted (or rejected) with a view to non-reversible action sequence. The social reality of the lifeworld consists of such action sequence as are interlinked via criticizable validity claims.” (Habermas, "A reply" in Communicative action : essays on Jurgen Habermas's The theory of communicative action , pp. 214-264, here p. 243).

Monday, April 18, 2005

Habermas and McDowell: Two conceptions of transcendence

I have just finished reading McDowell’s interesting piece entitled “Towards rehabilitating Objectivity,” in Rorty and his critics ed. By Robert Brandom, pp. 109-123, that was suggested to me by Carl Sachs.

I believe that McDowell’s position in the article is not only compatible with Habermas’ position but is in Habermasian spirit as well. I have noticed several interesting parallels which I will try to allude to in the future post, but here I will limit myself to describing the most important parallel that come up in the essay. The parallel is between Habermas and McDowell’s respective conceptions of “transcendence.”

McDowell takes issue with Richard Rorty’s interpretation of Putnam’s claim that “norms expressible with notions like that of truth are internal to our world view.” (p. 118). McDowell challenges Rorty’s interpretation of Putnam’s above insight in terms of his claim that “the norms that govern claim-making can only be norms of consensus” (ibid.). According to McDowell the act of raising and defending claims also inevitably refers to the world which is not of our own making and hence is “transcendent.” Rorty rejects any reference to this “transcendent world” on the ground of the above mentioned Putnam maxim, which McDowell also accepts (and so does Habermas). However McDowell claims that Rorty confuses between two conceptions of transcendence when he rejects any reference to the “transcendent world.” McDowell terms these two conceptions of transcendence as a) Illusory concept of transcendence and b) Innocuous concept of transcendence, respectively. McDowell further claims that accepting Putnam’s insight entails rejecting a) but not b).

Le us see how McDowell understand these two different conceptions. Illusory concept of transcendence is succumbing “to the illusion that we need to climb outside our own minds, the illusion that though we aim our thought and speech at the world form a standpoint constituted by our present practices and competences, we must be able to conceive the conformity of our thought and speech to the world form outside any such standpoint.” (p. 118).

Innocuous concept of transcendence on the other hand rests on the insight that “in claim-making we make ourselves answerable not just to the verdicts of our fellows but to the facts themselves. That is, if you like, to say that norms of inquiry transcend consensus.” (p. 119). McDowell goes on to add that: “These norms are internal to our world view, just as Putnam urged that the relevant norms must be. It is just that the world view to which they are internal has the world in view otherwise than as constituted by what linguistic performances will pass muster in our present practice. But that is merely a requirement for us to have the world in view at all – for moves within the relevant practices to be expressive of a world view, as opposed to merely aspiring to vocalize in step with one another. Taking this transcendence in stride requires no more than confidence in our capacity to direct our meaning at, say, whether or not cold fusion has occurred.” (p. 119).

What McDowell calls an “innocuous conception of transcendence," I believe, is precisely what Habermas terms as “transcendence form within.” This should be clear from what Habermas says in the following:

“. . . the objectivity of experience cannot be made dependent upon the agreement – no matter how rational – of a contingent number of participants, i.e; a contingent agreement within any particular group. Better arguments, which would refute what is here and now held to be true by you and me, might emerge in different contexts or on the basis of further experiences. With the concept of reality, to which every representation necessarily refers, we presuppose something transcendent. As long as we move within a particular linguistic community or form of life, this transcendent relation cannot be supplanted by the rational acceptability of an argument. Since we cannot break out of the sphere of language and argumentation altogether, we can only establish the reference to reality . . . by projecting a “transcendence from within.” . . . . If we understand realty as the conceptual totality of all assertions that are true . . . we are able to do justice to its transcendence without having without having to surrender the internal connection between the objectivity of experience and the intersubjectivity of reaching mutual understanding.” (PT: 103).

Despite difference in terminology the concept of “transcendence form within” which Habermas describes here with reference to Peirce’s ideas (the concept is better defended in more recent writings) shows very interesting parallels with McDowell’s idea of “innocuous conception of transcendence.”

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Apel's critique of Habermas

This post is based on Andrew Montin's penetrating comments on my post here. I will take some of the issues Andrew raise in future posts:

"In my opinion, Apel does a good job of taking Habermas to task for his notion of the 'weak' transcendental. The dispute circles around the problem of moral justification, but it has implications for the role of philosophy more generally. Apel charges Habermas with the "naturalistic fallacy" of deriving norms from facts in a number of places, but this is how he formulates the criticism in his essay "Normatively Grounding Critical Theory?":

"Although the Habermasian reconstruction of cultural evolution also assumes that prephilosophical lifeworld communication, given its background resources, was *not* in a position to justify the claims to normative rightness raised by conventional morality; thus although the level of discourse we can and must carry out today always already crosses the cultural threshold to philosophical argumentation so that the postconventional situation of argumentative discourse always already belongs to the "forestructure" of our reaching agreement [Verständigung] over... principles of norm justification... the philosophical justification of a principled ethics (including discourse ethics) is nevertheless supposed [by Habermas] to be replaced by *a recourse to the factually functioning ethical life of communicative action in the lifeworld*."

Habermasian formulations such as "we cannot imagine it being otherwise" (which have a definite Rorty-like ring to them) seem to me precisely what Apel is talking about, namely the grounding of quasi-transcendental justifications within the lifeworld. But Apel asks: why does Habermas persist in tracing back such justifications to the context of the lifeworld when his own reconstructive practice already presupposes "a process of lifeworld rationalization" which goes beyond the resources of an ethical lifeworld? Habermas's appeal to the lifeworld to resolve issues of justification is already obsolete - could Apel be suggesting that Habermas himself falls prey to performative contradiction? Certainly he argues in the same essay that Habermas is being openly inconsistent:

"[T]he Habermasian strategy of avoiding a methodological distinction between philosophy and empirically testable reconstructive science seems to me openly inconsistent: I suspect Habermas will have to make up his mind one day whether he wants to persist in the inconsistency or give back to philosophy its genuine *justificatory function*, together with its a priori universal and self-referential validity claims.""

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Two models of "disenchantment" and two models of "re-enchantment"

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.

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Sunday, April 10, 2005

McDowell, Bernstein and "our animal embodiment"

The following post is entirely based on Carl Sachs' illuminating comments on my last post (see here).

"McDowell notes, in his response to Bernstein, that the "intermible oscillation" isn't between coherentism and bald naturalism, but between coherentism and the Myth of the Given: between idealism and empiricism, if you will. Davidson figures as the coherentist, and Gareth Evans is cast as the unwitting defender of the Myth of the Given. (Although MOG also appears in Quine, and is at the heart of the entire empiricist tradition from runs from Locke to Russell.)

Bald naturalism and the alternative, "rampant platonism," are attempts to halt the oscillation. The former does so by reducing the space of reasons to the space of laws (reducing sapience to sentience, perhaps?), whereas rampant platonism divorces the space of reasons from all human conceptual capacities.

I agree that McDowell's notion of experience is too "thin." Like the post-analytic philosophers with whom he's engaged (Quine, Davidson, Selllars), McDowell thinks of experience as percpetual recognition of objects. (Although this is also where Kant starts digging.)

The narrowness of McDowell's conception of experience is, I think, well revealed in the Bernstein essay. But he reveals it partly through considerations of our animal embodiment. This takes Bernstein towards Adorno, not Habermas (which, of course, is a big part of his current project). I don't know what Habermas has to say about embodied animal experience. Certainly the impression one has of him is that everything normative and rational occurs at the level of language; animal embodiment simply drops out of the picture. There is a difference between the exercise of reason and the spontaniety of animal life, but there is also, if not identity, at least continuity."

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Saturday, April 09, 2005

“interminable oscillation” between ‘bald naturalism’ and ‘coherentism’

J.M Bernstein describes John McDowell’s work as attempt to go beyond the “interminable oscillation” between ‘bald naturalism’ and ‘coherentism’. Bald naturalism “upholds the empiricism requirement by forsaking autonomy of reason, reducing the space of reason to the space of law”, while, coherentism “aims to resolving the difficulty by surrendering the role of sensibility and experience, thus making nature at most only causally but only rationally relevant to epistemic claiming.” (J.M. Bernstein, “ Re-Enchanting Nature” in Reading McDowell : on mind and world, pp. 217-245, here p. 217.)

This way of describing the project of McDowell has strong parallel with Habermas's weak naturalism. Habermas on the one hand differentiates his weak naturalism from what he terms as strong naturalism which is obviously another way of describing what McDowell calls bald naturalism. On the other hand Habermas differentiates his project from linguistic idealism (Heidegger is the main culprit here). Heidegger’s so called linguistic idealism has been described by Habermas in terms that parallel with the description of coherentism above.

The only difference in my opinion is that Habermas as against McDowell (who is still working with an “empiricist” conception of experience) construes experience in much broader terms and gives it a pragmatic reading.

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Kant and Normativity of reason- some thoughts

“It is our capacity for freedom or, in [Kant’s] words, to “set ends” – that is, to think and act on the basis of considerations (“reasons”) that once can reflectively endorse – that is central to Kant’s account of human reason. Though at time he describes this capacity as our “spontaneity” and suggests it discloses our membership in a noumenal world, the core idea, I believe, is the idea that freedom, and hence reason, are irreducibly normative concepts.” (Kenneth Baynes, Habermas’s “Kantian pragmatism” in The Cambridge Companion to Critical Theory, pp. 194-218, here p. 196).

So freedom and reason are normative concepts, but in what sense? I think Brandom describes this aspect of reason and freedom better:

“One of Kant’s most basic ideas is that what distinguishes our judgments and actions from the responses of merely natural creatures is that they are things we are in a distinctive way responsible for – that they involve the undertaking of commitments. He understands judging and acting as essentially discursive activities – that is, as consisting in the applications of concepts. And he takes concepts to be rules: rules that specify what one has committed oneself to, what one has become responsible for, in producing a judgment or action.” (Pragmatics and Pragmatisms, in Hilary Putnam: Pragmatism and Realism, pp. 40-58 here p. 49).

To be able to reason and to be free is to be responsible for what we claim, to be able to undertake commitments. To follow rule is necessarily normative in the sense that it implies a capacity to violate rules and (or comply with them willingly). Thus the normativity of reason implies our ability to reflect, to detach from what is given, and to be able to do and think otherwise. However we must give reason for this 'otherwise' as normativity implies commitment and responsibility and not arbitrariness.

One of Kant's greatest mistakes was to attach this normatively to his account of the way we acquire knowledge of objects. Allison describes this in what follows:

“. . . it is necessary to realize that what is required for objective representation is not simply the de facto presence of a rule governed unity of representation in consciousness . . . but the thought or conceptual recognition of this unity. In other words, this unity must not only be in a single consciousness, it must be for that consciousness in the sense that mind must be able to represent it to itself or, equivalently, to recognize it as such. This reflexive dimension of cognition follows directly from the normative nature of the claim of objective connection. For unless the mind could think, that is, represent to itself or recognize the rule-governedness of the unification. It would remain a merely contingent, causally conditioned connection of mental states without any epistemic significance.” (Henry E Allison, (1995) "On Naturalizing Kant's Transcendental Psychology", Dialectica, 49(2-4, pp. 335-351, here pp. 343-344).

Habermas like Kant relates normativity to objectivity but dissociates the analysis of objectivity from the level of perception and brings it to the level of communicative understanding.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

sentience/sapience distinction and Habermas' weak naturalism

In the last post I had promised to elaborate on the following:

"The above (the primacy of implicit knowledge over explicit knowledge) is in no way incompatible with Habermas’ prioritization of conceptual (discursive) over non-discursive (this would ally Habermas with Brandom as against Adorno and McDowell for example). The distinction between implicit knowledge and explicit knowledge is geared towards understanding the conceptual and is not meant as a contrast between mediated and non mediated knowledge."

I have also in mind following comments by Carl Sachs:

"I'd like to use Sellars' distinction, which has become important to Brandom, between sentience and sapience. Let "sentience" refer to reliable differential responses to stimuli. Let "sapience" refer to conceptually structured relations of material inference. (One of the many reasons I like this contrast is that it forces into the open that by "Nature" we do not mean inert matter (hyle, res extensa) but animal embodiment. And one of Nietzsche's great achievements, I think, was to put the question of our own animal embodiment back on the agenda." (full here)

I will try to elaborate my above comments with the help of Brandom's description of his own strategy which in my opinion is very close to Habermas' strategy (despite their crucial differences).

Brandom describes his project in the following terms:

“The overall topic is the nature of the conceptual as such. This choice already entails certain significant emphases of attention: within the philosophy of mind, on awareness in the sense of sapience rather than of mere sentience; within semantics, on specifically conceptual content, to the determent of concern with others sort of contentfulness; within pragmatics, on singling out discursive (that is, concept-using) practice from the background of various other kinds of skilful doing. The aim is to focus on the conceptual in order to elaborate a relatively clear notion of the kind of awareness of something that consists in applying a concept to it – paradigmatically by saying or thinking something about it.” (Articulating Reasons, p. 2).

The methodological decision of giving priority to sapience over sentience requires some explanation. As Brandom puts it:

“One fork in the methodological road concerns the relative priority accorded to the continuities and discontinuities between discursive and nondiscursive creatures: the similarities and the differences between the judgments and actions of concept users, on the one hand, and the uptake of environmental information and instrumental interventions of non-concept-using organisms and artefacts, on the other. We can ask how sharp this distinction is – that is, to what extent and in what ways the possibility of intermediate cases can be made intelligible.” (ibid; pp. 2-3).

Brandom adds that:

“And more or less independently of the answer to this question, it is possible for theorists to differ as to whether they start by describing a common genus and go on to elaborate differentiate (whether qualitative or in terms of some quantitative ordering by a particular kind of complexity), as opposed to beginning with an account of what is distinctive of the conceptual, which is only later placed in a larger frame encompassing the doings of less capable systems.” (p. 3).

Brandom goes on to warn against dangers involved in such methodological choices:

““Theories that assimilate conceptually structured activity to the nonconceptual activity out of which it arises (in evolutionary, historical, and individual-developmental terms) are in danger of failing to make enough of the difference. Theories that adopt the converse strategy, addressing themselves at the outset to what is distinctive of or exceptional about the conceptual, court the danger of not doing justice to generic similarities.” (ibid; p. 3).

Brandom describes his own work as “motivated by a concern with what is special about or characteristic of the conceptual as such. I am more interested in what separates concept users from non-concept user than what unites them.” (p. 3).

Brandom’s strategy of giving preference to sapience over sentience should be seen in this context. Similarly Brandom’s discussion about ‘implicit’ and ‘explicit’ and their mutual relationship should be understood as his attempt to understand ‘sapience’ and has no direct relation with sapience/sentience distinction as such (although obviously there would be an indirect relation with sentience).

Now in this context it is easier to understand Habermas’ concern in his ‘weak naturalism’. Habermas at a meta-level presupposes continuity between sapience and sentience through his background assumption of weak naturalism:

“. . . weak naturalism contents itself with the basic background assumption that the biological endowment of the cultural way of life of Homo sapiens have a “natural” origin and can in principle be explained in terms of evolutionary theory.” (TJ: 27-28).

However having made this meta assumption Habermas’ sole concern is with sapience and not with sentience. Like Brandom he is interested in explaining what is unique about sapience as distinguished from sentience given essential continuity with the sapience and sentience. This is what I believe to be Habermas’ problematic and it requires explanation of human reason in broadly “naturalistic” terms however without reducing sentience to sapience. This is in my opinion the essence of Habremas’ weak naturalism.

Monday, April 04, 2005

fundamental pragmatism’

I had quoted Brandom definition of what he calls ‘fundamental pragmatism” earlier. Brandom defines fundamental pragmatism as follows:

“It is characteristic of pragmatism in the broad sense to see knowing how as having a certain kind of explanatory priority of knowing that. This is one influential form taken by an insistence on the explanatory primacy of the practical over the theoretical. Explicit theoretical beliefs can be made intelligible only against a background of implicit practical abilities. Pragmatism in this sense – call it ‘fundamental pragmatism’ – is opposed to the kind of Platonistic intellectualism that seeks to explain practical abilities in terms of some sort of grasp of principles; some sort of knowing that behind each bit of know how.” (Hilary Putnam: Pragmatism and Realism,p. 46).

As we had discussed earlier this squares nicely with Habermas’s distinction between know how and know that in his construction of formal pragmatics and in his theory of communicative action. In his recent writings Habermas reasserts the distinction in the context of his pragmatic conception of knowledge.

“[The] intuitive and habitual know-how – the practical understanding of generative rules or mastery of a practice – enjoys primacy over explicit knowledge of rules. Implicit knowledge of such “skills” supports the totality of the web of basic practices and activities of a community that articulate its form of life. Because of the implicit and, in a certain sense, holistic nature of this know-how, Husserl already described the intersubjectively shared lifeworld as an unthematically concomitant “background.”” (TJ: 11).

There are few things to be noted in this regard:

i)Habermas argues for the primacy of implicit knowledge over explicit knowledge and thus for the primacy of practical over theoretical. However it should be noted that this primacy is to be viewed within the theoretical knowledge in a broad sense and has nothing to do with the Kantian distinction between theoretical and practical (moral) knowledge. In fact that former distinction encompasses the latter distinction. I think Habermas is not always very clear about this.

ii)The above is in no way incompatible with Habermas’ prioritization of conceptual (discursive) over non-discursive (this would ally Habermas with Brandom as against Adorno and McDowell for example). The distinction between implicit knowledge and explicit knowledge is geared towards understanding the conceptual and is not meant as a contrast between mediated and non mediated knowledge.

[I would elaborate on (ii) in a separate post.]

Following Brandom we can say that as a ‘fundamental pragmatist’ Habermas partakes in the post Kantian anti Platonism and anti intellectualism. However if we stop here we would miss what is unique about Habermas and his strategy. The pragmatic move at detranscendentalisation is certainly meant as deflation of high flying Platonism but in Habermas it also is a move to salvage what is salvageable in Platonism through this very move. If we miss this point, in my opinion, we would have missed what is unique to Habermas’ contribution in this regard. Habermas’ insight is that the “Platonic” distinction between ‘knowing’ and ‘believing’, the transcendental distinction between ‘reality’ and ‘appearance’, the tension between ‘facticity’ and ‘validity’, and the distinction between intelligible realm and phenomenal realm can be maintained within lifeworld itself (TJ: 218, OPC: 359, BFN: 34-35).
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