Monday, October 22, 2007

Habermas, Kant and Darwin

“Weak naturalism neither incorporates nor subordinates the “internal perspective” of the lifeworld to the “external perspective” of the objective world. Rather, it keeps these theoretical perspectives separate, connecting them at the metatheoretical level by assuming a continuity between nature and culture.” (TJ: 28)

The unbridgeable gap between the “internal perspective” and the “external perspective” corresponds to the distinction between reason and nature. On the methodological level, Habermas maintains this dualism (more appropriately, this sharp distinction) as his homage to the Kantian insight about the irreducibility of “reason” and “nature,” reason and the space of law. However on the metatheoretical level, Habermas postulates an ontological continuity between nature and reason, hence implying that the methodological distinction has emerged historically from the evolution of learning processes which trace their origin back to/in nature. This is Habermas’ homage to Darwin.

Note: This post should be read in the context of the previous posts (here and here)


Ali Rizvi said...


The things in your post which are worthy of attention are mere reiteration of what I said in the previous post in response Carl Sachs' illuminating comments.

Moreover, you say things which are evidently incorrect, for example, you say that "JH is using" internal perspective as shorthand for "rational reconstruction" which is not true. The internal perspective in Habermas means the participant perspective and not rational reconstruction, although it would be right to say that rational reconstruction presupposes the participant perspective. Rational reconstruction is a method while the participant perspective refers to propositional attitudes. You are confusing a method with attitudes.

Furthermore, you attribute to me claims which I have not made so am not responsible for them. For example, I have never denied that "Both* approaches are rational endeavors, but from two different perspectives." However, the participant perspective has methodological priority over the external perspective. We commit the abstractionist fallacy when we forget that the external perspective has its root in the participant perspective.


Pitior said...

why does views on habermas have to be presented correctly?

Habermas synthesized a viewpoint, it only stands to reason that it will evolve as we learn more.

Ali Rizvi said...

I agree with your point. As I said in response to Carl Sachs that Habermas' synthesis "interests me because it has philosophical repercussions which are quite general."

The final lines of introduction to my dissertation on Habermas read as follows:

"The second qualification is about the method of this study. The study is primarily an interpretation and reconstruction of Habermas’ notion of transcendence from within and is not primarily its evaluation or critique. It is true that every interpretation involves evaluation and to that extent I do not pretend that I do not make any value judgements by reading Habermas the way I read him. However, I do claim that the study is not an evaluation of Habermas’ notion of transcendence from within in any explicit and sustained manner. Furthermore, an interpretation of Habermas’ notion of transcendence from within also involves a great amount of reconstruction as Habermas does not discuss the notion explicitly in his work in any systematic way. Thus the boundary is often blurred between what Habermas says and what I claim him to be saying at the implicit level. The problem of true attributation arises here and I am not sure how to resolve it. However, fortunately we do not have to worry about it here since our purpose is to discuss Habermas’ notion of transcendence from within and not whether everything attributed to him in this study is attributable to him or not. After all, Habermas himself has taught us to differentiate between ‘representation’ and ‘thought’ and that thought is not the property of individual or collective consciousness. The study then is about the thought of Habermas and is not a ‘representation’ of what is going on in his mind."

Thus, it's quite clear that I am not much bothered about what is in Habermas' "head" so to speak. However, I do hope that within these qualifications, I still do understand Habermas' position in general and don't make basic mistakes in describing his position. Most of all I do hope that at least I know what Habermas means by the "internal perspective"!!

cee stephens said...

I just want to say that I think you have a good point. Right now I'm doing work on Davidson and naturalism, and the marriage of kant and darwin in Davidson's work

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