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Ideal Communication & Thinking

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  • Gary Davis
    There s a difference between Habermas ideal speaking situation (ISS) and his discourse ethic. Relative to the discourse ethic, it seems to me that the ideal
    Message 1 of 6 , Mar 5, 2006
      There's a difference between Habermas' ideal speaking
      situation (ISS) and his discourse ethic. Relative to
      the discourse ethic, it seems to me that the ideal
      speaking situation pertains to what has become the
      domain of principle D, pertaining to consensual norm
      establishment, while principle U details what Habermas
      implicitly had in mind earlier (1960s-early 1980s) in
      the notion of universalization (somewhat formalized
      with his discussion of discourse ethics, 1983).

      But the ISS pertains to more than consensual
      establishment of norms, as it primarily models open
      communication, whatever the purpose of that
      communication, but especially, for Habermas (I think),
      *critical* learning processes. The ISS models *pure
      communicative action* and can serve as a standard for
      formally evaluating the openness of particular
      communication processes (which we rarely do, since an
      informal, intuitive sense of things usually works
      effectively)---processes which are always relative to
      the effective communicative learning levels of the
      participants.

      Generally, group processes have to be appropriated to
      participants in order to account for the different
      levels of interaction. This is an ordinary reality in
      teaching. Someone who is more experienced with
      abstract questioning than someone else doesn't, to be
      fair, just assert a valid reflective abstraction; to
      be fair, the person may need to make herself/himself
      understood about the kind of question being
      asked---what Habermas early-on might have covered with
      the notion of comprehensibility (which has semantic
      aspects besides grammatic aspects). In fundamental and
      critical learning, one has to make sense of a new kind
      of communication, then as well make a specific
      question at that level understood and acceptable. This
      is the kind of thing going on with bringing an
      unquestioned *kind* of assumption into question, e.g.,
      making sense of a constitutive issue, not just a
      logically implied/presumed issue at a given level of
      understanding.

      Discourse ethics is a specialization of communicative
      action for the sake of norm formation and
      universalization, especially relevant for Habermas'
      interest in valid law. The ISS has broader
      applicability to theorizing the facilitation and
      evaluation of developmental-educational processes,
      organized action coordination, and
      critical-therapeutic processes.

      I attempted to somewhat formalize the ISS some years
      before Habermas formulated his discourse ethics. I've
      never sought to publish it, but I shared it with the
      Spoon Collective in the late '90s, and I should have
      made it part of the Yahoo! Group files, which I've now
      done.

      My motivation, 1979, was response to so much talk
      about the ISS by others (commenting on or critiquing
      Habermas) without offering a clear statement of what
      the ISS was. Even Habermas nowhere offered a
      systematic view of the various ways he had employed
      the notion. So, I did a synthesis of aspects, as
      subsets turned up in different contexts of his work,
      that Habermas hadn't taken time to synthesize.

      I also have my own slant, which is toward the
      potential for fundamental learning that communicative
      interaction may facilitate, which is fully accordant
      with Habermas' high valuation of learning processes,
      but which he hadn't applied overtly to thinking about
      the practicality of the ISS.

      I forgot about it, as I put away my dissertation and
      got into the trenches of educational reform activism
      in the 1980s. Then, in the flow of the Spoon
      Collective participation, 1998, I remembered my
      discussion and was amazed to feel that it remained
      valid. So, I extracted it.

      Ideal Communication & Thinking
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/habermas/files/On_JH/gedavis_ICT.pdf

      Since the Group posting archive is open to anyone, but
      the Group Files section is only open to subscribers,
      the above is also available at:

      http://homepage.mac.com/gedavis/JH/gedavis_ICT.pdf

      --------------------------------------------

      I would agree with Ali Rizvi that Robert Cavalier's
      "Introduction to Habermas' Discourse Ethics," from the
      1990s, is also useful:

      http://caae.phil.cmu.edu/Cavalier/Forum/meta/background/HaberIntro.html

      But who knows how long that will remain available on
      the Web. So, it's part of the Group Files now, too:

      "Introduction to Habermas's Discourse Ethics"
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/habermas/files/On_JH/IntroDE.html

      Also, I've recently uploaded Douglas Kellner's reading
      of Habermas:

      "Habermas, the Public Sphere, and Democracy: A
      Critical Intervention," c2000
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/habermas/files/On_JH/Kellner.html

      Also: Derridean Geoffry Bennington's rather odd spin
      on Habermasian interests in GB's 1996 Political
      Thought Seminar with Peter Dews and Bill Outhwaite:

      "Ex-Communication"
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/habermas/files/On_JH/GB_on_JH,1996.pdf

      I suspect that GB is the culprit who anonymously wrote
      the fascinating synopsis of the Habermas-Derrida
      relationship for the _Wikipedia_ entry on Habermas:

      "Habermas and Derrida via Wikipedia"
      http://blog.360.yahoo.com/gedavis1?p=1

      Gary



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    • sartre88@adelphia.net
      ... ============= Gary: Thanks for this posting and the accompanying articles. You do a remarkable job moderating the group and I have followed along with
      Message 2 of 6 , Mar 6, 2006
        ---- Gary Davis <coherings@...> wrote:

        =============
        Gary: Thanks for this posting and the accompanying articles. You do a remarkable job moderating the group and I have followed along with great interest. Bill Barger (sartre88@...)
      • Gary Davis
        I wish that there is more participation by others, so that the group of subscribers also looked more like a group of participants. Your participation has been
        Message 3 of 6 , Mar 6, 2006
          I wish that there is more participation by others, so
          that the group of subscribers also looked more like a
          group of participants. Your participation has been
          exemplary. But there are 148 subscribers! O, well.

          Gary
        • sartre88@adelphia.net
          ... ============= Gary: Thanks for your response. I would take a more active part but I have been off on a tangent, researching the aspects of what I take to
          Message 4 of 6 , Mar 6, 2006
            ---- Gary Davis <coherings@...> wrote:

            =============
            Gary: Thanks for your response. I would take a more active part but I have been off on a tangent, researching the aspects of what I take to be the administration's attempt (through its "unitary executive theory") to adopt what has for some time been referred to as "constitutional dictatorship." John Yoo is Bush's equivalent for Carl Schmitt in this attempt, if you are aware of the events of the past few years.

            Just as I have strong objections to Sartre's existentialist Marxism, I have problems with Habermas' neo-Kantian ethics, and even more with his failure to communicate more effectively his theory of communicative action. As I remarked in earlier communications, just translating him into English isn't enough, he needs another translation making his work clearer and more comprehensible. Equally important is his penchant for producing big, thick books that take weeks to read, let alone comprehend, although I must admit there are interviews and shorter works that give better insight into his theory. I was initially interested in his works by his "Philosophical Discourse of Modernity", which was not subject to either of these criticisms (if, indeed, they are fair). He appears to share the view expressed by Marx about the size of his books. Marx replied that he didn't have time to write short books. It certainly takes more time to condense and summarize that it does to exhibit a kind of verbal diarrhea. (Ditto with Sartre's later works). Bill Barger (sartre88@...)
          • Ali Rizvi
            One must remember though that there is no Ideal speaking (or speech) situation (ISSS) as there is no ideal communicaiton in Habermas. There are idealisations
            Message 5 of 6 , Mar 6, 2006
              One must remember though that there is no Ideal
              speaking (or speech) situation (ISSS) as there is no
              ideal communicaiton in Habermas. There are
              idealisations but that is another matter.

              regars
              Ali



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            • Gary Davis
              re: Ali, re: Ideal Communication & Thinking Ali, Glad to hear from you, but you contradict your own claim. Gary
              Message 6 of 6 , Mar 6, 2006
                re: Ali, re: "Ideal Communication & Thinking"

                Ali,

                Glad to hear from you, but you contradict your own
                claim.

                Gary

                --- Ali Rizvi <ali_m_rizvi@...> wrote:

                > One must remember though that there is no Ideal
                > speaking (or speech) situation (ISSS) as there is no
                > ideal communicaiton in Habermas. There are
                > idealisations but that is another matter.
                >
                > regars
                > Ali
                >
                >
                >
                > __________________________________________________
                > Do You Yahoo!?
                > Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam
                > protection around
                > http://mail.yahoo.com
                >
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