Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Interpreting Habermas

Pitior writes:

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.

My response:

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"!!

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