the pragmatic conceptuality of Habermasian inquiry
- I want to share with the list a recent exchange with Ali Rizvi, as symbolic for me of a desire to dwell online with § 7 of Habermas' essay "The Language of Responsible Action":
AR: ...Habermas claims that the methodological distinction between external and internal perspectives is ontologically neutral. A question arises however: in what sense is the methodological distinction to be considered ontologically neutral? The distinction is not ontologically neutral in that it does not have any ontological implications. The distinction is only ontologically neutral in the sense that it is compatible with more than one ontological position....
GED: It's not wholly the case that "the [methodological] distinction is....only ontologically neutral in the sense that it is compatible with more than one ontological position" because you have to posit ontological positions in order to have compatibility (a logical point). Ontological neutrality doesn't posit ontological pluralism nor assert ontological ambivalence. The methodological distinction is a *pragmatic* and *conceptual* distinction that is implicitly declining participation in ontologically-relevant stances.
AR: I agree that ontological neutrality doesn't posit ontological pluralism nor assert ontological ambivalence", at least, not necessarily. Though, its logically and factually possible. As far as Habermas position is concerned, it's clear that he doesn't posit ontological pluralism (he is a monist in this regard) and nor does he assert ontological ambivalence. ¶ Habermas' stance is methodological in the specific sense that he doesn't derive his ontological position from his methodological stance. His ontological stance or position is an empirical hypothesis added to this.
GED: I would gladly pursue this further with you via our shared venue of the Yahoo! Habermas list, especially in terms of section 7 of "The Language Game of Responsibie Agency...." [ http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g774762416~tab=toc ]
Habermas' [JH> "assumption of ontological monism" cannot be [AR> "an empirical hypothesis," given the participant condition, let alone a hypothesis "added" to a methodological distinction that is based in cognitive conditions of action. Rather, it is, I would argue, a conceptual feature of conceptually-open inquiry (an essentially pragmatic stance). His "assumption" is a "stand-in" (as he characterizes philosophy itself, in Moral Consciousness...) for [JH> "the puzzle of how a mind that has...perspectival structure is situated in nature" ("Language Game...," 39). How *situated* we are!, whereby (as Searle says) the mind is what the brain *does*.
As mind is of nature, so God is of cultural evolution. Thus, the question of mind is the philosophical situation of the "between" in _Between Naturalism and Religion_.
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