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Re: Environmental Thinking

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  • matthew_piscioneri
    Hi Gary, Sorry for the delay in responding to your provocative (in a non- perjorative sense) post. Part of the problem has been that although I have finished
    Message 1 of 26 , Sep 8, 2003
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      Hi Gary,

      Sorry for the delay in responding to your provocative (in a non-
      perjorative sense) post. Part of the problem has been that although I
      have finished the writing of my thesis I still have to clean it up,
      as it were.

      >Some while ago, you said (in effect, as I recall) that a
      >environmental issues were very important for your
      >professional interest in philosophy. How might this remain
      >the case relative to Habermas' work? Or not?

      Early in the piece I was attempting (via Habermas's social movement
      theory & theory of discourse) to argue that in spite of
      environmentalism's developmental trajectory into mainstream
      governance practice, there still remained an emancipatory potential
      for this social movement. Of course, Habermas's social movement
      theory (in BFN, for eg.) suggests that the realization of a social
      movement's emancipatory potential occurs with it institutionalization
      and the generation of new legislation. Anyway to cut a long story
      short my project ended up examining how well Habermas's
      reconstruction of Critical Theory on the basis of his theory of
      communicative action achieved the objectives he set for himself.
      ---------------------
      >Unrelated question (maybe). You wrote earlier this month
      >that you claim in your recently-completed thesis
      >(congratulations!) that there is a "persistent
      >transcendentalism" in Habermas' work. How so? Habermas
      >argues quite overtly against such a thing in his 2001 essay
      >on "...the Detranscendentalized 'Use of Reason'" (Rehg and
      >Bohman, eds. _Pluralism and the Pragmatic Turn_, MIT Press,
      >ch. 1).

      This is a contentious issue. My argument was that Habermas's semantic
      theory contained non-naturalistic components and this compromised his
      strong claims to have developed a post-metaphysical type of
      (communicative ) reason. I am happy to discuss this issue at length
      if anyone is interested.

      [Gary wrote]

      One would expect E.O. Wlson, the eminent sociobiologist, to
      write a book entitled _The Future of Life_ (2002), but one
      might not expect one of cosmology's leading voices to write
      a book that focuses on the future of life as a critical
      issue for THIS CENTURY, as does Martin Rees in _Our Final
      Hour_ (2003), a very UN-alarmist alarm having the dramatic
      but literally appropriate subtitle (reflecting the book's
      actual foci) "How terror, error, and environmental disaster
      threaten humankind's future in this century---on Earth and
      beyond."

      [MattP writes]

      Gary I applaud your willingness to pursue these issues on the List.
      Like you, I consider reflection on futuristic-type scenarios
      cannot/should not be sidestepped by so-called "serious" critical
      philosophy. In fact, I would say that reflection on these issues – as
      well as on issues to do with genetic technology and AI research -
      constitute one leading edge of contemporary critical philosophy.
      Often academic philosophy treats futuristic thinking as soft or
      populist. This indicates the over-academicization of philosophical
      research potentials. Having said this, I would continue to argue that
      a degree of discursive rigour is also required lest this branch of
      critical philosophy lapses into bad quasi-philosophical, pseudo-
      scientific futurology !

      You touch on many issues and perspectives. Those which stand out for
      me concern:

      1. The issue of stewardship.
      2. The contingency or otherwise of humankind's place within the
      biomass.
      3. The relationship between a critical biocentric eco-morality
      and more conventional anthropocentric critical moralities.
      4. The constitution of the institutions of global leadership
      required to coordinate the response to ecological disaster. (You
      touch on this below).
      5. The "moral" worthiness of humankind versus the rest of nature.

      There are of course others. Hopefully, other interested List members
      might add to the above.

      [Gary wrote]
      But the most unlikely call [snip] infers
      a human responsibility for "stewardship" of life AS SUCH,
      as we embody a singularly improbable twig in the latest
      fraction of a second in the gigantic tree of life in an
      apparently *very* rare planetary advent---a *necessarily*
      "rare Earth," according to astronomer Peter Ward and
      geologist Donald Brownless, in _Rare Earth_ (2000) and _The
      Life and Death of Planet Earth_ (2003; both are authors of
      each book).
      -------
      I think the pathos of the following passage of yours is illuminating.
      For there is a problem of discourse exhaustion on this topic.
      Moreover, the conspiracist in me would suggest that there are
      powerful economic and cosmo-ethical (!!!) interests which want to
      discredit the environmental message. Furthermore, the "appearance" of
      publicly-managed environmental repair has reduced societal concerns
      at the looming eco-crisis. Most crucially, I just don't think people
      in the wealthy societies are going to give up the high level of
      material comfort we currently enjoy.

      > A great theme of the 21st century---already "boring" by the end of
      the 20th?--is the *necessity* that planetary thinking
      inform planetary management *somehow*, but definitely.

      You sure are right on this one:

      >But it's clear that the goddess Gaia inhabits the history
      >of life with her own rupturous Logos that is *real*.

      Not so sure about this:

      >But the particularly *astrobiological* character of
      emergent environmental thinking is its focus on the
      finitude of the Earth itself, i.e., that human life will
      eventually have to leave the Earth. The timescale of this
      is so awesomely far away that one can comfortably ignore
      the issue, but biological discourse is *not* ignoring the
      issue. Will we have to leave the Earth before we're able
      to?

      Sorry to be SO pessimistic but crunch time is closer than I think we
      are prepared to admit. It's not the Sun running out of star fuel, but
      rather the uninhabitability of the earth together with the ever
      decreasing supplies of drinkable water and the capacity to grow
      enough food to support the world's population. I would suggest that
      on this basis, the timescale is about 200 years.

      >(We have no near-term problem, apparently, endowing our
      descendents with trillions of dollars of debt, why not let
      them worry about a shortening lifespan of the Earth as
      well?) Will we *need* to terraform Mars, in order for life
      itself to survive in this solar system?

      The cynic in me asks: "who will constitute the `we'"? The rich?

      > Merely several thousand years ago, the region
      around Baghdad wasn't largely desert (but the garden of
      Eden got cast out by salination due to ignorant
      agricultural practices---so too, apparently, for the Mayans
      of Central America; civilizations *do* perish).
      --------
      Now you are really touching on problematic issues. Great stuff!

      >For our time, we need to understand what sustainability is,
      broadly conceived (sustainable political economic forms, as
      well as sustainable use of natural resources) and how to
      lead its management. But it's not irrelevant to bear in
      mind that no god will save us from the facticity of
      long-term reality, i.e., that the long terms of Time are
      made of increments that can have "geometric" (logarithmic)
      consequences that not everyone may appreciate. Leadership
      doesn't happen as mere populism.

      >Those who can appreciate the twig's responsibility and
      singular species capabilities---which include the
      "salvation" epistemology of ethical environmental
      engineering of planetary sustainability---have to take the
      lead. (This kind of need for leadership in environmentalism
      may be exemplary of critical paths in other problem areas
      with relatively immediate trajectories: the sustainability
      of *any* human presence in, say, parts of Africa; or
      quality of life in megapolitan regions).

      [MattP writes]
      One of my hesitancies (and many others) is that it's a bit RICH (sic)
      for those who have most to lose and who so successfully
      instrumentalized the natural world starting to call for the reduction
      in population and the prevention of other developing nations reaching
      similar standards of living enjoyed so rapaciously by the wealthy
      elite nations. Try telling China or India that it shouldn't dam
      rivers to provide electricity so that it can continue to
      industrialize and modernize. It's as hypocritical as saying it's OK
      for us to have nuclear arsenals but no one else should. Try telling
      China, for example, that it should curb the number of motor scooters
      that will appear over the next decade as its increasingly better off
      citizens upgrade from bicycles to scooters. I read one estimate that
      suggests there will be over 300 million scooters in China by the end
      of the decade, and pollution control won't be a MAJOR issue in their
      design. Finally, what about all those "inaccessible" energy patents
      owned by the oil companies. The list of problematic issues goes on
      and on.

      There is even a counter-argument (funded by the energy industry in
      the U.S) that the production of carbon monoxide is green-positive, as
      it were. Part of the issue concerns the expertise AND objectivity of
      science (I cringed as I wrote that…). Science has never been more up
      for sale as it is during the public debate on the environmental
      crisis. Over the last 15 years there has been plenty of money
      available for research into global warming, To maintain this cash
      conduit a degree of public hysteria is required. On the other hand,
      contrary research has also garnered its fair share of funding.
      Especially from energy industry sources. Who's the piggy in the
      middle? What's the first casualty of propaganda?

      Finally, the critical theorist has to be wary of the strategy of fear-
      mongering. Keep the hi-tech heads of the new proletariat bowed with
      fear of eco-crisis long term and terror in the short term.

      Anyway, enough for the time being. I want to write a follow up to my
      own post.

      Cheers,

      MattP.
    • matthew_piscioneri
      Dear List, ... If you can excuse the manifesto-like pretensions of the following I want to develop this theme further in order to sketch (very roughly) the
      Message 2 of 26 , Sep 8, 2003
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        Dear List,

        In his original post Gary wrote:

        >But it's clear that the goddess Gaia inhabits the history
        >of life with her own rupturous Logos that is *real*.

        If you can excuse the manifesto-like pretensions of the following I
        want to develop this theme further in order to sketch (very roughly)
        the outline of what a future programme for critical philosophy might
        need to take into consideration

        Fichte, I think, wrote that philosophy is the continuation of
        religion by other means. Part of this continuation of the religious
        paradigm is the separation of humankind from the rest of Nature/ the
        Universe in philosophy. At least two things compromise this statement
        immediately.

        First, in salvation-type religions, (Judaism/Christianity)
        predominant in the Occidental cultural tradition, themes of
        reconciliation or re-union with the Godhead are omnipresent as the
        teleological outcome of human history. This suggests monism rather
        than dualism, identity rather than separation.

        Second, the post-Darwin philosophical tradition of pragmatism has
        premissed itself on the contiguity of humankind with the rest of the
        human world.

        In spite of this I would argue that a humankind/nature divide still
        pervades "critical" social philosophical approaches to understanding
        the world. In other words, there is a deeply entrenched resistance to
        utilizing the explanatory potentials offered by the biological and
        physical sciences to developing, in the first place, the descriptive
        task of a critical social philosophy.

        Briefly, I think the reasons for this are twofold.

        1. Fears of the `is' to `ought' and the bogey of social
        Darwinism.

        2. In part, the conditions of possibility for critical social
        philosophy (Marxism and feminism eg.) rest on not so much the
        perfectibility of human kind, but – let's say – the `room for
        improvement' of human kind.

        Critical social philosophy rejects the explanatory potentials of the
        natural/physical sciences in terms of the social mainly because of
        the fallacious belief that human nature is "fixed". A critical social
        philosophy that does embrace the biological and physical sciences
        must move beyond the fallacy that human nature was fixed in the
        primordial soup 4.3 billion years ago.

        For as very contemporary research demonstrates there is reverse
        transcription between soma to germ cells during the life of a human
        organism. In other words, there is potential for learned adaptation
        to changed environmental conditions to be passed on generationally .
        Ironically, the destruction of the Darwinian paradigm in biology is
        what may finally make Darwin's most revolutionary insight finally
        available to critical social philosophy. Human kind is not an
        isolated twig on the tree of life. Rather, this species, as are all
        twigs, connected at various degrees of separation from all the other
        twigs on the tree of life and draws upon the same source for
        sustenance.

        Contemporary environmentalism has succeeded in (re-)bringing this
        understanding of humankind's place in the world to attention. This is
        a positive outcome of environmentalism. One negative aspect of
        environmentalism has been the quasi-religious moralizing and species-
        hatred that has accompanied deep ecological thinking. Another
        negative aspect has been the thoughtless strategies of prophesizing
        apocalyptic futures in environmentalism's public campaigns in order
        to stimulate public awareness.

        Over the last 40 years environmentalism has assisted in the
        generation of new fear-complexes. These have contributed to the
        prolongation of a counter-emancipatory social psychology. To be more
        precise, post-Cold War and the threat of nuclear holocaust, the
        environmental movement played into the hands of society's witch
        doctors. Result: the consciousnesses of another generation of young
        people was blighted this time by fear of impending ecological
        destruction.

        Post-9/11 the ecological crisis has been replaced by the retro
        societal fear regime of terror and WMDs (rehash of the 1970s). Fear
        and hope remain the twin devils that retard us.

        The usefulness of environmentalism's holistic conception of humankind
        in relation to the rest of the world is magnified if one takes
        seriously Lovelock's Gaia thesis. The explosive ramifications of the
        Gaia thesis for critical social philosophy are that the ontology of
        the human social world is embedded in the macro bio-physical
        processes of the planet.

        Central to grasping the relevance of this for critical social
        philosophy is the difficult, reflective task of 'de-personifying' (or
        better still 'de-individuating') ourselves and others. Instead of the
        unique, isolated particulars that stand apart from the bio-physical
        landscape, what we sense and cognize as distinct human beings -
        including ourselves - are conglomerations of matter never in fact
        detached from the rest of the physical world. Human beings are
        animate blobs of matter sliding across the terrain, always in touch
        with the world, imbibing and exuding the world.

        This, I think, is the starting point for some of the works Gary
        kindly listed. How to place the humankind part of the biomass into
        the macro (very global) perspective afforded by these re-knowings of
        the contents of most ancient knowledges.

        [For the time being I will resist the temptation to leave the planet
        and get really cosmic! But, once you start to get fuzzy about the
        social world and the physical world, as Gary has already hinted at,
        you can't stop there. You have to get fuzzy about the bio-sphere and
        space. Fred Hoyle does exactly this in The Cosmic Lifeforce. the
        problem as far as I can tell with this is that you end up in a
        Manichean dualism, and the whole rotten religious enterprise starts
        over again.]

        What are some of the possibilities?

        1. Planetary conatus (or as Nietzsche saw it "will to power").
        The earthly biomass partly through the agency of the human species is
        leaving this planet and venturing into space.
        2. The technological wherewithal to achieve this venture has by
        and large been developed as a result of the "fear" that has generated
        war and conflict between ourselves. Gaia is Gaia: pretty as a flower,
        deadly as a nuclear warhead.
        3. Critical social philosophy needs to reset the parameters of
        its project on the basis of this planetary conatus. In order to
        ameliorate/overturn/manage oppression it is important to get right
        the origins etc. of oppression.
        4. Why? Don't really know. It seems a very small part of the
        human component of the biomass wants to undertake this thankless
        task, and if you are going to do a job then you might as well do it
        properly : - ).
        5. Given planetary conatus, and the immense pain this impulse
        has wrought on suffering creatures (also suffering plants and rocks
        etc), my advice would be to go with the impulse. This is one of the
        few ways the human species has available to itself to channel the
        destructive/creative force of the planet's will to power.
        6. How so? Well GBW has 130 billion to spend on Iraq's
        reconstruction. Better off spending this on space exploration. If the
        U.S wants to do something useful for the world, and for places like
        the M.E and Africa, then spread the money for space around. Source
        some labor and - heaven forbid – expertise in places like the West
        Bank, Sudan and Iraq.
        7. The arms manufacturers who dictate U.S foreign policy will
        just have to switch over to a space economy. Difficult I know. All
        that blood lust with nowhere to go.
        8. And the equally despicable religious dogmatists ? What would
        become of these prime-evil scum? Feed them to Satan for breakfast.
        9. That's the good news version. I'll post the bad news version
        anon.

        "Knock, Knock." It's the men in white coats at my door. Honestly,
        Sir, Gary made me do it!

        Cheers,

        MattP.
      • Gary E Davis
        re: Matt, Re: Re: Environmental Thinking Matt, Your response / discussion was very good reading, both as critical *reading of* issues and as post *for*
        Message 3 of 26 , Sep 8, 2003
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          re: Matt, "Re: Re: Environmental Thinking"

          Matt,

          Your response / discussion was very good reading, both as
          critical *reading of* issues and as post *for* reading.

          I just deleted a somewhat long paragraph that was getting
          out of hand; I have to very deliberately *not* write, if
          I'm going to get done what I need to do.

          Let me try to contribute something manageable by just
          seeking follow-up on your specifically Habermasian
          philosophical point, which recalls another point I would
          like to see Ali pursue here (something limited in focus
          that gets to the heart of the issue, *one* issue that is
          manageable, yet important).

          G>> You wrote earlier this month that ...there is a
          "persistent transcendentalism" in Habermas' work. How so?
          Habermas argues quite overtly against such a thing in his
          2001 essay on "...the Detranscendentalized 'Use of Reason'"
          (Rehg and Bohman, eds. _Pluralism and the Pragmatic Turn_,
          MIT Press, ch. 1).

          G: Ali calls Habermas' sense of validity a "transcendence"
          in some non-figurative sense (HAB.0309.34, 7Sept.), saying
          that the "first chapter of BFN is quite clear on this," but
          he provides no explication, and I deny this. So, Ali, too,
          would be interested in a claim against JH of persistent
          transcendentalism. I would confront Ali with the same overt
          denial of transcendentalism by JH that I posed to you. (Ali
          vaguely refers to pp. 218-9 of _On the Pragmatics of
          Communication_, which has nothing to do with transcendental
          claims; evidently Ali equates a transcendental claim with
          the "transmundane" character of "illocutionary aims" [219
          middle]. "The actors in communicative actions �attain�
          transcendence through raising validity claims," in a sense
          of 'transcendence' "the way I am using it" and "believe[s]
          it corresponds to Habermas'...usage." "In fact Habermas'
          enterprise is ontological through and through."

          So, indeed:

          M> This is a contentious issue. My argument was that
          Habermas's semantic theory contained non-naturalistic
          components and this compromised his strong claims to have
          developed a post-metaphysical type of (communicative )
          reason. I am happy to discuss this issue at length
          if anyone is interested.

          G: So, so far you're basically claiming (relative to your
          two comments) that non-naturalistic components IN a
          semantic theory indicate ("there is") transcendentalism
          that is "persistent", evidently in the sense that Habermas'
          entire "type" of reason is compromised. But it's logically
          implausible that "components" of anything are constitutive,
          while it should be clear that one can't tenably claim to
          locate transcendentalism at a non-constitutive level. But,
          supposing that the non-naturalistic items *are*
          constitutive, you're at least claiming that non-naturalism
          implies transcendentalism.

          But it's not productive to speculate too much on a lack of
          information about what you're arguing.

          In any case, it should be practicable to stick to
          discursive essentials and thus get somewhere manageably.
          Frankly, what you believe about JH's type of reason is only
          as tenable as your naturalism.

          Now, I love naturalism (in some form---I'm not resolute
          about this), but I also respect ontological ambivalence as
          a realist position, such that a cognitive pragmatics can be
          richly viable without ontological commitments, analogously
          to the viability of biology without commitments about its
          relationship to quantum chemistry (The discourse in biology
          about "chaos" and "dissipative structures" and "emergence"
          is supplementary to the success of biology).

          So, we can see that a singular of issue---naturalism
          without transcendentalism---might actually be unmanageable.


          For the sake of manageability, then, it's good to stay with
          what *Habermas* says. As for semantics, it appears that he
          sticks with his c1975 stance on the "quasi-transcendental"
          character of universals in format pragmatics, such that the
          issue largely lives in that context---and his address of
          transcendentalism vis-a-vis K-O Apel, in "Discourse
          Ethics", and the essay for McCarthy indicated above.

          But you might have other good resources to bring to the
          issue. Yet, how can the issue be addressed apart from the
          sources indicated above, *too*? But to dwell with all that
          via this medium *is* unmanageable.

          If you want the relevant portion of your thesis made
          available for others, I can put it in the "Files" area of
          the group (Can't do *that* at Spoons).

          Anyway, it occurred to me today, that this is the kind of
          issue I need to return to in a big way for my own
          development, and I'm about ready to do that soon (having
          put it off for a decade). So, aware as I am of my
          propensity for culling interest in pursuits that I then
          withdraw from, I think I'm resolute about pursuing this one
          presently, especially inasmuch as the English version of
          _Wahrheit und Richtfertigung_ will be available next month.


          So, Matt, discuss. I'm quite ready to admit that you're
          right, *if* you are.


          Gary



          .
        • Gary E Davis
          Well, Matt, that was real fun. I would enjoy following up on that at length. There are so many enticing ideas. But, I m going to pass. Coincidently, the
          Message 4 of 26 , Sep 8, 2003
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            Well, Matt, that was real fun. I would enjoy following up
            on that at length. There are so many enticing ideas. But,
            I'm going to pass. Coincidently, the deleted long paragraph
            of my just-previous posting was in the spirit of your
            present one. I'm glad your reflections are in the archive
            for future response. I look forward to part (ii) immensely,
            though I probably won't respond. Trust, though, that I'll
            immensely enjoy part (ii), especially if you can bring it
            all back to Habermas *genuinely* (not that *I* can).

            Gary
          • Ali Rizvi
            I would confront Ali with the same overt denial of transcendentalism by JH that I posed to you. (Ali vaguely refers to pp. 218-9 of _On the Pragmatics of
            Message 5 of 26 , Sep 9, 2003
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              I would confront Ali with the same overt
              denial of transcendentalism by JH that I posed to you.
              (Ali
              vaguely refers to pp. 218-9 of _On the Pragmatics of
              Communication_, which has nothing to do with
              transcendental
              claims; evidently Ali equates a transcendental claim
              with
              the "transmundane" character of "illocutionary aims"
              [219
              middle].

              Gary I might come to this later but for now just a
              clarification. I never equated transcendental claim
              with the 'transmundane'. I was not talking about
              transcendental at all. What I was talking about was
              'transcenence' and not 'transcendental' and even then
              I did not equate 'transmundane' with
              'tanscendence'[although there is an obvious relation
              here]. However if you read the whole point about
              illucutionary aims in the context it is clear that
              Habermas is relating validity claims to
              'transcendence'. Anyway it should be obvious I think
              that validity claims have the power of 'transcendence'
              in Habermas' cocneption, hence his constant linking of
              'validity claims' with 'context transcendence'.

              Regards
              ali


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            • matthew_piscioneri
              Gary, Re-transcendentalism in Habermas It is always beneficial to be made to think carefully about how one ... 2001 essay on ...the Detranscendentalized Use
              Message 6 of 26 , Sep 9, 2003
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                Gary,
                Re-transcendentalism in Habermas
                It is always beneficial to be made to think carefully about how one
                expresses one's ideas. Your reply has achieved this. Thanks:

                >Habermas argues quite overtly against such a thing in his
                2001 essay on "...the Detranscendentalized 'Use of Reason'"
                (Rehg and Bohman, eds. _Pluralism and the Pragmatic Turn_,
                MIT Press, ch. 1).

                I haven't read this essay. My task for the day if the essay is
                available in the library or online. I agree with Ali, that in the
                first chapter of BFN Habermas confronts the charge of quasi-
                transcendentalism again. It seems to me that it is problematic for
                JH, and his response is to shrug his shoulders almost and say "so be
                it!" It is similar to his statement in CES that `if this be idealism,
                then idealism belongs in a most natural way to the conditions of
                reproduction of a species that must preserve its life through labor
                and interaction, that is, also by virtue of propositions that can be
                true and norms that are in need of justification.' (1979: 97)

                In BFN, JH writes:

                The renunciation of the basic concept of practical reason signals a
                break with this naïve normativism. But even the successor concept,
                that of communicative reason, still retains portions of the idealist
                heritage. In the context of an explanatory theory, these idealist
                elements are by no means an unmixed blessing. (1996: 9)

                In this qualified way Habermas then broaches the continuities between
                his post-metaphysical theory of rationality and the heritage of
                German Idealism. As I have already indicated, this
                Idealistic "baggage" Habermas saddles his theory with acts to
                dissuade me from an allegiance with his alternative paradigm of
                communicative reason. In fact what Habermas appears to do is modify
                the strict post-metaphysical claims he makes for his conception of
                communicative reason:

                However far removed today's concept of reason is from its Platonic
                origins, and however much it may have been changed by paradigm
                shifts, it is still constituted by a reference, if not to ideal
                contents (let alone to Ideas), then to idealizing, limit conceptions.
                (1996: 9)

                Again, in a manner identical with his strategy in the TCA Habermas
                seeks to ground the quasi-transcendental aspect of his theory of
                communicative reason in the unconditional moment he locates in the
                claims to validity made in the utterance of a speech act: `With each
                truth claim, speakers and hearers transcend the provincial standards
                of a particular collectivity, of a particular process of
                communication localized here and now.' (1996: 14) Yet in order to
                reach this position Habermas commits himself to what I consider to be
                an unattractive form of linguistic Platonism of the sort developed by
                Charles Peirce. (cf. 1996: 11) Habermas it seems cannot move beyond
                some form of Idealism wherein the noises and marks and thought
                processes of human animals (Rorty) are granted a decidedly un-
                postmetaphysical nature (sic):

                What distinguishes a symbolically expressed thought as something
                general, identical with itself, and publicly accessible – as
                something transcending the individual consciousness – from the always
                particular, episodic, and only privately accessible, hence
                consciousness-immanent representations is the ideal status of
                linguistic signs and grammatical rules. (1996: 12)

                So Gary time to put all of the above together. Without wanting to
                second-guess Ali's position I would say Ali finds a problematic sense
                of transcendence in the unconditionality Habermas locates in the
                validity claims raised by speech acts.

                Now I can "live" with this. I think JH is not claiming something that
                outrageous here. When I state "The cat is on the mat" (in an
                appropriate context, of course) I think there is an unconditional
                component to this speech act. In other words, I am not also
                saying "The cat is on the mat (but I could be wrong)" or something
                like that. When we assert something about the three worlds these
                statements are not qualified with a presupposed conditional. So I can
                live with Habermas's sense of immanent transcendence.

                My thesis has been an examination of Habermas's objective to move
                Critical Theory beyond the aporetic interruption of H. & A.'s
                critique of instrumental reason. A large part of Habermas's project
                was to argue for a postmetaphysical conception of reason. In short, I
                argue that his unwillingness to jettison Idealistic motifs from his
                reconstruction of C.T compromise the cogency of his claims for a
                postmetaphysicalism. Habermas, it seems to me, wants to keep a foot
                in both camps. It's typical of his synthetic method admiitedly, but
                this commentator at least finds it problematic.

                I do go on to rehabilitate JH on this point by drawing attention to
                the primordial fallibilism at the basis of his
                methodology: `reconstructions undertaken with philosophical means
                also retain a hypothetical character; precisely because of their
                strong universalistic claims, they are open to further, indirect
                testing.' (TCA2: 399) But, interestingly, as the essay you refer to
                indicates, Habermas is not about to "lose" the quasi-transcendental
                component of communicative reason. Why? Well as he also makes clear
                in the TCA not to opens his reconstructed C.T to the accusation that
                its claims are limited to a specific socio-historical context:

                "The theory of communicative action aims at the moment of
                unconditionality that, with criticizable validity claims, is built
                into the conditions of processes of consensus formation. As –claims-
                they transcend all limitations of space and time, all the provincial
                limitations of the given context." (ibid)

                Again, I think this is a sustainable claim. What troubles me is the
                rhetorical tension between this otherness JH wants to retain for C.T
                and the postmetaphysical quality he also desires.

                Regards,

                MattP.
              • Gary E Davis
                Ali, Thanks for the your clarification. However, in the posting from you (HAB.0309.24), to which I was responding (re-quoted below in your post) , your use of
                Message 7 of 26 , Sep 9, 2003
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                  Ali,

                  Thanks for the your clarification.

                  However, in the posting from you (HAB.0309.24), to which I
                  was responding (re-quoted below in your post) , your use of
                  'transcendence' in a figurative sense (you now attest) is
                  carried in a very ambiguous context, such as saying that
                  "validity is transcendence," which is false.

                  When Habermas makes sense of the *relation* between context
                  and reflection as "context transcendence," he's not saying
                  that validity itself is transcendence. 'Transcendence' is a
                  very numinous word, you know.

                  Later, you claim that JH is "ontological through and
                  through," so you can see how 'transcendence' in the "way I
                  use it" may foster misunderstanding, especially since the
                  term is so controversial. (You also say of Habermas that
                  "freedom is the ontological basis of ethics," which I find
                  interesting as a theme---since I have a sense of
                  ontological which isn't metaphysicalist---but the theme is
                  untenable in terms of Habermas' work. You just won't find
                  Habermas making ontological claims!)

                  It's good to not mix levels of discursive attention in the
                  same context (I may be the an awful example of mixed
                  rhetoric). The kind of response in passing that the
                  discussion medium fosters---so many issues, so little time
                  (so much complexity, simply put)---isn't kind to difficult
                  issues, I think we agree.

                  best regards,

                  Gary


                  --- Ali Rizvi <ali_m_rizvi@...> wrote:
                  > I would confront Ali with the same overt
                  > denial of transcendentalism by JH that I posed to you.
                  > (Ali
                  > vaguely refers to pp. 218-9 of _On the Pragmatics of
                  > Communication_, which has nothing to do with
                  > transcendental
                  > claims; evidently Ali equates a transcendental claim
                  > with
                  > the "transmundane" character of "illocutionary aims"
                  > [219
                  > middle].
                  >
                  > Gary I might come to this later but for now just a
                  > clarification. I never equated transcendental claim
                  > with the 'transmundane'. I was not talking about
                  > transcendental at all. What I was talking about was
                  > 'transcenence' and not 'transcendental' and even then
                  > I did not equate 'transmundane' with
                  > 'tanscendence'[although there is an obvious relation
                  > here]. However if you read the whole point about
                  > illucutionary aims in the context it is clear that
                  > Habermas is relating validity claims to
                  > 'transcendence'. Anyway it should be obvious I think
                  > that validity claims have the power of 'transcendence'
                  > in Habermas' cocneption, hence his constant linking of
                  > 'validity claims' with 'context transcendence'.
                  >
                  > Regards
                  > ali
                  >
                  >
                  > __________________________________
                  > Do you Yahoo!?
                  > Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free, easy-to-use web site design
                  > software
                  > http://sitebuilder.yahoo.com
                  >
                • Gary E Davis
                  re: Matt, Transcendental Habermas M I agree with Ali, that in the first chapter of BFN Habermas confronts the charge of quasi-transcendentalism again. G:
                  Message 8 of 26 , Sep 10, 2003
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                    re: Matt, "Transcendental Habermas"


                    M> I agree with Ali, that in the first chapter of BFN
                    Habermas confronts the charge of quasi-transcendentalism
                    again.

                    G: But now Ali wants to say (earlier today) that he was
                    only talking about �transcendence� in a figurative sense,
                    as in �context transcendence� that a validity claim
                    expresses. So, you�re either *not really* agreeing with him
                    or you both are confusing the difference between figurative
                    and constitutive claims.

                    But the confusion is easy to make, given the ambiguous
                    status that concepts may take in pragmatic discourse, where
                    one heuristically draws on what one has in common with the
                    other in order to communicate something specific to the
                    discourse. To deal with this fairly requires close reading
                    of what Habermas is *doing* in what he states.

                    M> It seems to me that it is problematic for JH, �.

                    G: the �quasi-transcendental,� you mean by �it�, I take it.
                    This would be problematic for JH because the thing itself
                    is problematic: *that which* is heuristically called
                    �quasi-transcendental�.

                    M>�. and his response is to shrug his shoulders almost and
                    say "so be it!"

                    G: Well, not quite (you might agree). Like I said
                    yesterday: Ontological commitment may not be required for a
                    cognitive pragmatism.

                    Fundamental problems in science aren�t considered to belong
                    to the scientist (save as laudable discoveries); they
                    belong to the science, to the community of inquiry. �You�
                    don�t like �quasi-transcendental�? Then what�s your
                    proposal?

                    But let�s be clear: Habermas does *not* mean to suggest
                    anything resembling Kantian transcendental illusion (as
                    necessary phenomenological transcendentality arising from
                    the noumenality of the real).

                    M> [The problem of the quasi-transcendental] is similar to
                    his statement in CES that `if this be idealism, then
                    idealism belongs in a most natural way to the conditions of
                    reproduction of a species that must preserve its life
                    through labor and interaction, that is, also by virtue of
                    propositions that can be true and norms that are in need of
                    justification.' (1979: 97)

                    G: I must disagree. That which is called
                    quasi-transcendental indicates a real problem of
                    reconstructive inquiry; idealism does not. Not only is
                    idealism for reconstructive inquiry nothing other than
                    model-theoretic, limit-conditioned prospectiveness, in the
                    manner of researchable hypothesization, but specifically
                    (above), that which may be *called* �idealism� in formal
                    pragmatics belongs to our form of life, viz., our
                    cognitive, inquiring intelligence (I would argue that JH
                    would agree to this)--- �a most natural way�---that
                    implicates our conditions of reproduction. This kind of
                    association is characteristic of anthropology, where it is
                    claimed that bursts of cortical aptitude were decisive for
                    our humanization, in the sense of humanization that
                    physical and biological anthropology investigate. This is a
                    form of life whose productivity *as a species* is
                    distinguished by virtue of---by the virtue of---its
                    capacity for validations of its experience. But this kind
                    of context is not yet near to the *philosophical* quandary
                    that Habermas associates with the quasi-transcendental, in
                    the sense that (I would argue) appreciation of the brain is
                    not yet near to understanding the mind (*even though* the
                    mind is what the brain does).

                    M> In BFN, JH writes:

                    JH>> The renunciation of the basic concept of practical
                    reason signals a break with this na�ve normativism. �

                    G: So, Matt, you�re moving from an unreconstructed context
                    of BFN (even uncited, beginning your discussion) back
                    nearly a quarter century to a supplementary context near
                    the end of �What is Universal Pragmatics?� (giving realist
                    meaning to the sense of �idealism�), now to a context of
                    na�ve normativism (of �everyday life� [9]) from which
                    communicative reason is in �tension�.

                    JH>> �But even the successor concept, that of communicative
                    reason, still retains portions of the idealist heritage. �

                    G: So, I suppose you see an isomorphishm between idealism
                    in JH�s earlier-quoted realist sense and portions of the
                    idealist heritage with which communicative reason is in
                    tension. But indeed:

                    JH>> �.In the context of an explanatory theory [G: E.g., an
                    anthropologically backgrounded comprehension of reason in
                    social evolution?], these idealist elements are by no means
                    an unmixed blessing. (1996: 9)

                    M> In this qualified way Habermas then broaches the
                    continuities between his post-metaphysical theory of
                    rationality and the heritage of German Idealism.

                    G: But not in its post-metaphysicality; he�s introducing
                    his understanding of communicative reason, which also
                    happens to be a post-metaphysical understanding, but that�s
                    not what�s being explicated. An �immanent tension� between
                    tradition and theory is being explicated. Early in BFN,
                    he�s introducing his theory of communicative action for a
                    legal-theoretical German audience. He�s not doing
                    postmetaphysical philosophy.

                    M> As I have already indicated, this Idealistic "baggage"
                    Habermas saddles his theory with�.

                    G: You�ve indicated nothing of the sort, and you�re wrong
                    about your present context. The idealistic baggage belongs
                    to discursive tradition, to which JH is IN BOTH CONTEXTS
                    (1976 and 1992) expressing distance, if not ambivalence.

                    M> �.acts to dissuade me from an allegiance with his
                    alternative paradigm of communicative reason.

                    G: Well, then, you�re saddling yourself. Besides, JH isn�t
                    seeking allegiance; he�s seeking engagement.

                    M> In fact�.

                    G: I love it when people say �In fact�; I�m very deliberate
                    and stringent about rarely using the phrase. You find me
                    saying a lot: �Indeed!� Fact, indeed. Let�s see�

                    M> �.what Habermas appears to do [in the following] is
                    modify the strict post-metaphysical claims he makes for his
                    conception of communicative reason:

                    G: This is presuming that JH makes strict claims; but your
                    quotes above suggest the contrary, such that only your
                    saddling makes the following a modification of strictness.
                    Continuing at the point of �unmixed blessing,��

                    JH>> However far removed today's concept of reason is from
                    its Platonic origins, and however much it may have been
                    changed by paradigm shifts, it is still constituted by a
                    reference, if not to ideal contents (let alone to Ideas),
                    then to idealizing, limit conceptions. (1996: 9)

                    G: �today�s concept of reason,� not his theory of
                    rationality. You�re evidently saddling him with tradition
                    in the moment that he would distinguish himself from it (or
                    identify his sense of in-tension with it---the
                    intensionality of �reason�).

                    M> Again, in a manner identical with his strategy in the
                    TCA Habermas seeks to ground the quasi-transcendental
                    aspect of his theory of communicative reason in the
                    unconditional moment he locates in the claims to validity
                    made in the utterance of a speech act:

                    G: It may be the case that, generally speaking, JH �seeks
                    to ground�,� etc., but that�s not what�s going on in the
                    context you�re about to jump to (5 pages forward), though I
                    think it�s more plausible to say that he *explicates* the
                    unconditional moment AS the quasi-transcendental aspect,
                    because JH�s theory is closer to realist claims than to
                    idealist. We can see this in your upcoming quote (which
                    serves to argue against your point).

                    Immediately prior to your quote, JH has indicated a realist
                    sense of �transcendent�: ��reality contains [!] a reference
                    to something independent of us.� Then he says:

                    JH>> `With each truth claim, speakers and hearers transcend
                    the provincial standards of a particular collectivity, of a
                    particular process of communication localized here and
                    now.' (1996: 14)

                    G: He�s making a very proximal-level point (not a
                    primordial one): context transcendence of everydayness and
                    with respect to a reality that is independent of us.

                    M> Yet in order to reach this position Habermas commits
                    himself to what I consider to be an unattractive form of
                    linguistic Platonism of the sort developed by Charles
                    Peirce. (cf. 1996: 11)

                    G: As distinguishable from an attractive form (which you
                    would advocate?).

                    Well, good to know your prospectus of arguments to be made,
                    but your discussion so far doesn�t bode well for the theme.
                    More likely, you�re symptomzing (projectively) linguistic
                    Platonism in your own thinking. In any case, this is a
                    critical hermeneutical issue: How does one know that
                    they�re reading the other rather than employing the other
                    in one�s own working-through? This is the straw man plague
                    of discursive inquiry.

                    If you were writing about me (or I was Habermas now with
                    you), I would see a Socratic opportunity to inquire into
                    your view of C.S. Peirce, suspecting that we would indeed
                    find a linguistic Platonism. But the locus of this might be
                    in the �vase� of reading, between you and C.S. (or in the
                    vase of our inquiry, as my invalid hypothesis about your
                    linguistic Platonism, a normal kind of prospect for the
                    experienced tutor: Is the problem my countertransference?
                    Or is it your projective identification with Platonism?
                    It�s *certainly* not the case that Peirce is a Platonist,
                    and *there*�s the heart of the matter that turns philosophy
                    into a kind of psychoanalysis---which Socratic maieutic
                    *was* [or the converse, it would have to be]. O, look:
                    There�s Plato writing Socrates on the cover of Derrida�s
                    _Post Card_). ((No, it�s more likely that the psychoanalyst
                    plays tutor than that the British teacher plays
                    psychoanalyst.))

                    M> Habermas [G: or someone] it seems cannot move beyond
                    some form of Idealism wherein the noises and marks and
                    thought processes of human animals (Rorty) are granted a
                    decidedly un-postmetaphysical nature (sic):

                    G: Cool.

                    JH>> What distinguishes a symbolically expressed thought as
                    something general, identical with itself, and publicly
                    accessible � as something transcending the individual
                    consciousness � from the always particular, episodic, and
                    only privately accessible, hence consciousness-immanent
                    representations is the ideal status of linguistic signs and
                    grammatical rules. (1996: 12)

                    G: Again: Cool. But what�s really going on here? You�re
                    moving attention back 2 pages to a new context: the
                    ideal-typicality of concepts (in the manner of
                    ideal-typicality in modeling, if not Weber, and surely in
                    the sense of the ideal speech situation, which is very
                    likely to be only approximated in real-time interaction
                    among the best of us)---ideal-typicality of concepts:
                    �general and particular�essence and appearance�� �type and
                    token�(11). �The same is true for the concept, or the
                    meaning of a term and its various expressions� (11-12).
                    Then your quote above. This �ideal status� is like an item
                    in a standard dictionary: no one strictly conforms to the
                    lexical standard of word usage (more likely: employing a
                    word ambiguously among its kindred senses); the standard
                    (the type) always has an ideal-typical status, and the
                    token likely is context-sensitive, if not really
                    figurative, relative to a clear-cut definition.

                    [Isn�t this sweet how I turned his evidence into
                    deconstruction of his case? [Excuse the vanity, but it�s
                    material to a theme of critical hermeneutics as practice.]
                    But I hope he appreciates my respect for what he�s doing,
                    such that I�m giving him my entire evening of free time
                    because I care about his case making (Imagine: critical
                    hermeneutics as self-sacrifice. �Gary, who are you
                    *really*.� Matt hardly seems to know where the white coats
                    *are*. �O, no, here they come�.�).]

                    M> So Gary time to put all of the above together. Without
                    wanting to second-guess Ali's position I would say Ali
                    finds a problematic sense of transcendence in the
                    unconditionality Habermas locates in the validity claims
                    raised by speech acts.

                    G: Hmmm. Yes, Ali finds�.

                    M> Now I can "live" with this.

                    G: I can�t imagine that you can�t. (But I can imagine that
                    I�ll never get candor from you again. Well, that�s
                    philosophy.)

                    M> I think JH is not claiming something that outrageous
                    here.

                    G: I agree.

                    M> When I state "The cat is on the mat" (in an appropriate
                    context, of course)�.

                    G: *Cool* cat, he be in trouble now: The cat is ON the mat.
                    (Austin came up with this example when the Beatniks were
                    hot).

                    M> I think there is an unconditional component to this
                    speech act.

                    G: I disagree. There�s an unconditional component to an
                    assertoric validity claim, and this is *implied* by the
                    assertion. But my kitty ain�t in trouble (as opposed to my
                    dog---who IS quite opposed by my cat, sort of like a
                    Fichtean dialectic: Dog needs to go out, cat blocks him on
                    the mat).

                    M> In other words, I am not also saying "The cat is on the
                    mat (but I could be wrong)" or something like that.

                    G: When you make a simple assertion, you�re certainly not
                    also asserting something else at the same time; that�s
                    logically impossible. But are you not also *implying* that
                    assertion is not unquestionable, i.e., that an assertion IS
                    tacitly a truth *claim* (that is open to question)? Only
                    the interlocutor certifies that you presumably couldn�t be
                    wrong, and s/he certifies that by going on, not batting an
                    eye about what you troublelessly mean. So, the clarity of
                    the validity claim stands in the �vase� of the interaction,
                    the communicative action, not the assertion as such.

                    M> When we assert something about the three worlds these
                    statements are not qualified with a presupposed
                    conditional.

                    G: Quite the contrary. To assert something about the three
                    worlds is different than asserting something about *each*
                    (or any) of the three worlds, such that one is not merely
                    asserting something about the subjective world or about the
                    normative world (let alone the objective world), but
                    implicating oneself in those different,
                    non-truth-functional kinds of implied validity claims via
                    assertion: *that* a presumed self-transparency holds,
                    *that* a presumed normativity holds. THEN, to �assert
                    something about the three worlds,� i.e., something true of
                    all three worlds, is very *likely* to be conditional. All
                    of metatheory is conditional.

                    What�s *unconditional* is only the claimed universality of
                    the formal pragmatic infrastructure. But what IS that,
                    claimed to be unconditional? It�s very difficult to
                    understand (let alone say), so we can�t say that the
                    unconditional is non-controversial or unquestionable.
                    Indeed, just getting clear on what it IS for a given
                    discourse to claim *that* something is unconditional is
                    immensely elusive; and getting *agreement* about what�s
                    really universal in the claim is another matter.

                    In any case, assertions are always conditional. GIVEN
                    context C at time T as totally explicit, and given the
                    meaning of �true�-in-language L, it is *claimed* to be
                    unconditionally the case that anyone �must� agree that a
                    given assertion A is either true or false and that it is
                    decidable by one of several standard methods: empirical,
                    testimonial, hermeneutical, etc. There are various ways in
                    which A can be true, and A�s being the case (true,
                    accurate) can be specified (empirical, testimonial before a
                    jury, exegetical argument) in a generalizable way.

                    The *components* of a metatheory are claimed to be
                    universal as a matter of investigative hypothesization, but
                    in the case of purely reconstructive science, the
                    �quasi-transcendental� character of constitutives (e.g.,
                    concepts-as-abilities in Ruth Garrett Milliken�s biological
                    theory of language or the cognitive linguistics of George
                    Lakov or Ray Jackendoff; also, Terrence Deacon�s
                    �biosemiotic� view of language evolution, inspired by
                    Peirce, by the way; _Evolution and Learning_, MIT Press
                    2003, which I mentioned last week in a Spoons posting) are
                    especially susceptible to reflective analysis or
                    philosophical investigation. (Indeed, Deacon, a biological
                    anthropologist, ultimately yields to the philosophers, as
                    to the nature of conceptuality in theory and what-all,
                    though maybe he�s being dismissive of philosophy).

                    M> So I can live with Habermas's sense of immanent
                    transcendence.

                    G: Wonderful. But what is it?

                    M> My thesis has been an examination of Habermas's
                    objective to move Critical Theory beyond the aporetic
                    interruption of H. & A.�s critique of instrumental reason.

                    G: I�ll bet that�s interesting, though it�s apparently
                    unrelated to the above issues, since Habermas� early
                    engagement with �traditional� CT doesn�t capture a
                    *general* purpose of his career. But the more manageable
                    project of estimating JH�s objective vis-�-vis H&A is
                    clearly a useful venture for students of JH�s career---as
                    well as for social theorists. But, you know, TCA neither
                    introduces itself relative to H&A nor stays long with
                    Adorno, because his so-called magnum opus isn�t basically
                    about Critical Theory. Indeed, that topic is almost a
                    supplement at the end, relative to the character of the
                    theory of communicative action altogether (e.g., Critical
                    Theory isn�t the axial discursive topic for his project).
                    Critical Theory isn�t focal for KHI or for anything after
                    TCA.

                    So, I think that the general usefulness of such a
                    project---and let me be clear about my endorsement of
                    it---is that *many* readers of Habermas are, too, engaged
                    in living out or working through senses of immanent
                    transcendence (including those working through the origin
                    of this theme: Husserlian phenomenologists), and JH�s
                    career existence in tension with his tradition---like his
                    agreeable disagreeing with Gadamer---expresses general
                    problems lived by many of us.

                    M> A large part of Habermas's project was to argue for a
                    postmetaphysical conception of reason.

                    G: *That�s* indisputably true.

                    M> In short, I argue that his unwillingness to jettison
                    Idealistic motifs from his reconstruction of C.T compromise
                    the cogency of his claims for a postmetaphysicalism.

                    G: Gulp. Sorry, can�t swallow. The former is not a basis
                    for the latter.

                    M> Habermas, it seems to me, wants to keep a foot in both
                    camps.

                    G: Seems pragmatic, given the diversity of his audience.
                    So, for you, cogency requires a singular campiness? But
                    isn�t that contrary to the diversity of voices in the unity
                    of reason? And what about the interdisciplinarity of
                    inquiry where for philosophy becomes a �stand-in� at the
                    discursive front? Theory as practice in a cosmopolitan
                    pluralism?

                    M> It's typical of his synthetic method admittedly, but
                    this commentator at least finds it problematic.

                    G: Yeah, but who�s �his� that�s no longer regarded by an
                    �I�? You won�t find JH regarding his own method as
                    synthetic.

                    I like the concept of *synergy*, like a discursiveness that
                    seems to take on a life of its own (thinking together in
                    �sync�).

                    �Habermas� is a discursive figure of speech, standing in
                    for the genealogy of a discursive career, evolved from a
                    world of life influences. (His wife leans to his ear,
                    �Habermas, turn out the lights.� NOT!)

                    M> I do go on to rehabilitate JH on this point�.

                    G: O, that�s ripe: A few years of graduate school, and
                    you�re ready to rehabilitate J�rgen. (This is an awful
                    thing to say, maybe---I realize---but, hey, professional
                    philosophy gets cruel.)

                    No, I get your useful point: Distinguishing Habermas from
                    �Habermas�. This is what scholarship is classically for:
                    Getting to the real thinking, distinguishing appearance and
                    reality.

                    M>�. by drawing attention to the primordial fallibilism at
                    the basis of his methodology: `reconstructions undertaken
                    with philosophical means also retain a hypothetical
                    character; precisely because of their strong universalistic
                    claims, they are open to further, indirect testing.' (TCA2:
                    399)

                    G: Yes, that�s a good passage. Specific universalistic
                    claims may not hold good.

                    M> But, interestingly, as the essay you refer to indicates,
                    Habermas is not about to "lose" the quasi-transcendental
                    component of communicative reason.

                    G: He detranscendentalizes its use, and doesn�t put a lot
                    of stock in the term �quasi-transcendental,� while
                    investing very deliberately in that for the sake of which
                    �quasi-transcendental� is employed as stand-in.

                    M: Why? Well as he also makes clear in the TCA[,] not to
                    opens his reconstructed C.T to the accusation that its
                    claims are limited to a specific socio-historical context:

                    G: But his motivation isn�t defensive. His career is a
                    research project reaching out to understand what�s
                    ultimately the case, which is ultimately what we do.

                    JH: The theory of communicative action aims at the moment
                    of unconditionality�.

                    G: Yes, �aims�.

                    JH: � that, with criticizable validity claims, is built
                    into the conditions of processes of consensus formation. As
                    �claims- they transcend all limitations of space and time,
                    all the provincial limitations of the given context. (ibid)


                    G: Yet, what IS �the moment�? As claims, they �transcend�
                    (actively, not in any constitutive sense), as ordinary
                    validity claims �transcend� their moment. But what is the
                    Moment discernable beyond the moment?

                    Heidegger would �dwell� in his mountain cabin, before the
                    rock-walled valley---the geology of Time (That was where
                    the �Moment of vision� theme of _Being and Time_ happened,
                    as well, I suppose, as the analytical visions that BT
                    organizes ).

                    Now, we have our evolutionarity down to a genomic topology
                    (or, at least, that�s the aim). But is DNA somehow
                    unconditional? Morphogenesis? Ontogenesis? (Who is the
                    woman whose genome became the celebration of a �completed�
                    decoding, only to then initiate research into specifics of
                    variability, relative to Eve�s ideal-typicality?)

                    I think it is
                    ultimately that we aim,
                    and accordingly evolve
                    our knowledge.

                    The ideal
                    of unconditionality
                    gives us
                    orientation.

                    Evolution, of course, is hardly
                    unconditional. Yet, we aim,
                    just the same,
                    even fruitfully.







                    .
                  • Gary E Davis
                    This is a clarification of a point in Ultimate Habermas ... Of course, Habermas is engaged with limit conceptions in some sense like the tradition is: JH
                    Message 9 of 26 , Sep 10, 2003
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                      This is a clarification of a point in "Ultimate Habermas"

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

                      Of course, Habermas is engaged with "limit conceptions" in
                      some sense like the tradition is:

                      JH>> However far removed today's concept of reason is from
                      its Platonic origins, and however much it may have been
                      changed by paradigm shifts, it is still constituted by a
                      reference, if not to ideal contents (let alone to Ideas),
                      then to idealizing, limit conceptions. (1996: 9)

                      G: I replied misleadingly:

                      G> �today�s concept of reason,� not his theory of
                      rationality.

                      What I had in mind was that, at that point in his
                      discussion, he's not attending to the way limit conceptions
                      work in his own thinking. He endorses the secularization,
                      if you will, of ideality, but elsewhere it's clear that
                      limit conceptions work for him relative to rigorous
                      reconstructive inquiry. His presentation point in BFN
                      quoted above is not a context that is relevant to arguing
                      about his own relationship to limit conceptions. To say
                      that this secularization of tradition indicates his sense
                      of limit conception in any critically pertinent sense is
                      invalid. So, I went on to say that:

                      G> You�re evidently saddling him with tradition
                      in the moment that he would distinguish himself from it (or
                      identify his sense of in-tension with it---the
                      intensionality of �reason�).

                      But it's invalid to read that JH passage as unrelated to
                      his own favoring of limit conceptions. However, the keynote
                      of his discussion there is the tension with tradition that
                      his sense of communicative reason exhibits.

                      Gary
                    • Ali Rizvi
                      Gary, Matt, I might come to this agin (if I find some time) but two quick clarficaitons.. 1) First Gary I did not say that I was taking transendence
                      Message 10 of 26 , Sep 10, 2003
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                        Gary, Matt,

                        I might come to this agin (if I find some time) but
                        two quick clarficaitons..

                        1) First Gary I did not say that I was taking
                        'transendence' firguratively. Also I assume I know the
                        difference between 'transcendence' and
                        'transcendental' and also 'transcendent' [in the
                        Kantian sense]. This and previous clarification also
                        does not imply that I deny the existence of
                        'transcendental' in Habermas. For example, I believe
                        that lifeworld for Habermas is the the constitutive
                        conditon of the possiblity of understanding in a
                        communicative sense which means lifeworld is a
                        transcendental conditon for communicative
                        understanding.

                        2) Matt you say that ["Ali finds a problematic sense
                        of transcendence in the
                        > unconditionality Habermas locates in the validity
                        > claims
                        > raised by speech acts"]. But Matt I do not find it
                        problamatic. My concern is rather with how this
                        unconditionality is defined or understood. My guess is
                        that in Habermas there are two rather parallel but
                        insufficently differntiated explanations for this. I
                        am trying to bring forth the least empahsised of
                        these.
                        But this of course needs elaboration. But not yet.

                        Regards
                        Ali


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                      • Gary E Davis
                        ... G: Granted. But figurative is the way that Habermas uses transcendence . What is really happening when one says that a context is transcended? Habermas
                        Message 11 of 26 , Sep 10, 2003
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                          --- Ali Rizvi <ali_m_rizvi@...> wrote:

                          > First Gary I did not say that I was taking
                          > 'transendence' figuratively.

                          G: Granted. But figurative is the way that Habermas uses
                          'transcendence'.

                          What is really happening when one says that a context is
                          transcended? Habermas resorts to the idiom of cognitive
                          psychology and logic: Proposition P1 or context C become
                          the propositional content of a later proposition P2(P1)
                          that is explicit about the validity claim of P1.
                          Cognitively, this requires a capacity for field
                          independence vis-a-vis the kind of field or context that
                          pertains to a questionable proposition. So, the intention
                          to "transcend" a context is just to represent it in a
                          representing act or representation. More accurately, one
                          doesn't transcend contexts at all (relative to Habermas'
                          use of the term vis-a-vis the standard meaning of
                          transcend); context transcendence is not some specific kind
                          of act apart from cognitive (re)presentation. A resulting
                          representation (R2) "transcends" the earlier level of
                          representation (R1) in the sense of logical levels. But the
                          lexical meaning of 'transcend' is another matter, involving
                          overtones of triumph, superiority, priority, etc. When
                          Habermas writes of context transcendence, he's being
                          figurative. When you use Habermas' indications of "context
                          transcendence" to indicate the way you are using
                          'transcendence', then you're relying on a figurative use of
                          the term.

                          A> Also I assume I know the difference between
                          'transcendence' and 'transcendental' and also
                          'transcendent' [in the Kantian sense]. This and previous
                          clarification also does not imply that I deny the existence
                          of 'transcendental' in Habermas.

                          G: But ytu *should* deny "the existence," etc., because
                          Habermas *dissociates* himself from transcendental in the
                          Kantian sense. Associations of transcendental thinking
                          *defeat* his interest "detranscendentalized" reason that is
                          apparent from his critique of Kant (KHI) through his
                          conceptualization of formal pragmatics to his sense of
                          "postmetaphysical" thinking, as well as his recent essay
                          for McCarthy.

                          A> For example, I believe that lifeworld for Habermas is
                          the constitutive conditon of the possiblity of
                          understanding in a communicative sense....

                          G: Vaguely, this is true. But the locus of condition of
                          *possibility* is so specific to the interplay of aptitude
                          and individual development through specific dynamics of
                          parenting and self-initiative that calling the lifeworld
                          itself the condition doesn't come near to what gives
                          specificity to constitution of understanding. Constitution
                          is about specificity of conditions.

                          A> .... which means lifeworld is a transcendental conditon
                          for communicative understanding.

                          G: This claim is either false or meaningless. It's not
                          appreciably true. Habermas does not understand reality in
                          terms of transcendental conditions.

                          But what Habermas *does* advocate seems to me very
                          complementary to what you've said Foucault is doing, and I
                          could repeat all of my earlier solidarity with you in that
                          very interesting connection.

                          best regards,

                          Gary





                          .
                        • matthew_piscioneri
                          Gary, List: {Gary this ISN T a reply to your magnum opus Ultimate Habermas. That reply will take a day or two! The following I hope will serve to amuse int
                          Message 12 of 26 , Sep 10, 2003
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                            Gary, List:

                            {Gary this ISN'T a reply to your magnum opus "Ultimate Habermas."
                            That reply will take a day or two! The following I hope will serve to
                            amuse int he short term).

                            Thought the following had some bearing on Habermas and the issue of
                            transcendentalism. Both quotes from –Habermas and Pragmatism-
                            (Routledge,2002):

                            1. When asked what he considered to be pragmatism's greatest
                            weaknesses JH says:
                            "The message that only differences that make a difference should
                            count is often mistaken for advice to blur even relevant
                            distinctions. And just as often, the anti-Platonic distrust in an
                            ideological misuse of abstract ideas is misunderstood as the denial
                            of the transcending force and unconditional meaning of claims to
                            truth." (228)
                            2. Discussing Richard Bernstein's influence on his work JH says
                            Bernstein was "the one who ever since has kept pushing me in the
                            direction of a more intense detranscendentalization of Kant." (226)
                            3. Interestingly John Rawls describes Habermas as a
                            metaphysician: "His logic is metaphysical in the following sense: it
                            presents an account of what there is." And fairly rankles at Habermas
                            charging him with the same things I am leveling at JH: too much
                            Plato!!!! (cf. –Journal of Philosophy- 1995, 92 (3)) Which is ironic
                            given JH's urgent anti-Platonism in –BFN-: "The critique of reason is
                            its own work: this Kantian double meaning is due to the radically
                            anti-Platonic insight that there is neither a higher nor a deeper
                            reality to which we could appeal – we who find ourselves already
                            situated in our linguistically structured forms of life." (FG, 11).

                            Now it is one thing to say this, and another thing to reject outright
                            behaviourist accounts of language as semantically content-less
                            signaling (which is what Habermas does in at least three places over
                            a span of twenty or more years). Habermas NEEDS meanings to
                            adhere/inhere to the marks and noises human animals make in the
                            facilitation of their everyday lives ( Rorty's pragmatic approach to
                            language) otherwise there is no process of seeking to reach
                            understanding about in-principle "fixed" meanings. Moreover, the
                            lifeworld vanishes without the capacity for cultural meanings to get
                            symbolically fixed. In fact JH's theory of communicative action
                            depends on there being these "things" termed meanings that are
                            magically embedded in the entirely physical marks, noises and neural
                            processes of human beings.

                            Is the tension between this requirement and his jettisoning of the
                            Pragmatist tradition (other than Peirce) worth it? I don't think so.
                            Especially given the weight JH places on Mead. I don't think you can
                            have your naturalism in such a watered down way. It's Darwin and
                            physics all the way down OR it's Kant & Plato :-).
                          • matthew_piscioneri
                            Gary, Ali: couldn t resist. This statement of Ali s is meaningful AND an ... Especially more so Gary, given your previous explication of figurative
                            Message 13 of 26 , Sep 10, 2003
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                              Gary, Ali:

                              couldn't resist. This statement of Ali's is meaningful AND an
                              accurate reading of Habermas on the lifeworld:

                              > A> .... which means lifeworld is a transcendental conditon
                              > for communicative understanding.
                              >
                              > G: This claim is either false or meaningless. It's not
                              > appreciably true. Habermas does not understand reality in
                              > terms of transcendental conditions.

                              Especially more so Gary, given your previous explication
                              of "figurative" transcendence.

                              MattP.
                            • Gary E Davis
                              Re: Matt, re: [sort of] Ultimate Habermas ... reply will take a day or two! Matt, I look forward to your argumentation. I forgot to thank you for your time
                              Message 14 of 26 , Sep 10, 2003
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                                Re: Matt, "re:" [sort of] "Ultimate Habermas"

                                --- matthew_piscioneri <mpiscioneri@...> wrote:

                                > {Gary this ISN'T a reply to ... "Ultimate Habermas." That
                                reply will take a day or two!

                                Matt,

                                I look forward to your argumentation. I forgot to thank you
                                for your time in detailing why you believe that there is a
                                "persistent transcendentalism" in JH's work.

                                I don't believe it would be practical for you to reply to
                                everything I wrote back to you in reply (Though I replied
                                to everything you wrote, I can't make a habit of that). It
                                would be good to focus on a few key issues---whatever you
                                choose (ideally, *one* issue, as if there is The Axial
                                Issue)---that seem(s) to be the crux of the matter. There's
                                just no way that I have time to reply in fair length to
                                everything that you might say about everything I said. The
                                exponentiation of writing that is otherwise entailed
                                (supposing one had the time) would probably not be
                                constructive for anyone.

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

                                JH>> .... there is neither a higher nor a deeper reality to
                                which we could appeal � we who find ourselves already
                                situated in our linguistically structured forms of life."
                                (FG, 11).

                                M> Now it is one thing to say this, and another thing to
                                reject outright behaviourist accounts of language as
                                semantically content-less signaling (which is what Habermas
                                does in at least three places over a span of twenty or more
                                years).

                                G: Your observation looks like a tautology, so I can't
                                disagree. What you non-tautologically intend, of course, is
                                your point that:

                                M> Habermas NEEDS meanings to adhere/inhere to the marks
                                and noises human animals make in the facilitation of their
                                everyday lives...

                                G: Yet the marks and noises never are without meaning in
                                the first place; the notion of marks and noises is a *post
                                facto* abstraction from communicative life. Thus, a sense
                                of returning meaning to abstracted behavior (or "need"ing
                                what you mention) is merely part of a critique of
                                behaviorism, not a stipulation that there *are* mere marks
                                and noises that lack meaning (outside of a research model)
                                and deserve to get meaning; it's not as if he's granting
                                behaviorism a valid claim about a fundamentality of marks
                                and noises. So, sure, JH "needs" to have meaning be focal
                                for a theory of language.

                                M> Moreover, the lifeworld vanishes without the capacity
                                for cultural meanings to get symbolically fixed.

                                G: Yet aren't cultural meanings *already* symbolical, such
                                that you're referring (in effect) to symbolic phenomena
                                getting symbolically fixed? Of course, any fixedness is a
                                limit condition, hardly ordinary (as communicative life is
                                largely fluid, and this works just fine). There's no such
                                thing as cultural meanings without symbolicness---and
                                there's no need that meanings become fixed!---except for
                                aims that stipulate this, such as procedures, standards,
                                etc., which are specializations of largely adquate
                                fluidities in everyday life. Yet, as a simple matter of
                                *meaning*, there's no need for fixity at all---certainly no
                                prospect, in fluid life, that the lifeworld "vanishes".

                                M> In fact JH's theory of communicative action depends on
                                there being these "things" termed meanings that are
                                magically embedded in the entirely physical marks, noises
                                and neural processes of human beings.

                                G: I really don't like to be disagreeable, but I disagree
                                again: Meaning is an emergent property of cognition, and
                                cognition is an emergent property of specialized neural
                                regions. I don't think it's the case that meanings exist
                                somehow outside cognition such that they could be
                                "embedded" in that from which they emerge.

                                Actually, I *like* the figure of embeddedness for lots of
                                aspects of lifeworld talk, and there's lots of good use of
                                'embeddedness' for talking about language (Merleau-Ponty
                                was rigorously fond of his notion of "sedimentation").

                                I find the relationship of language to cognition and brain
                                a great mystery, in no way a primordial matter of
                                embeddedness in some evident way.

                                Somehow it has to be the case that the capacity for languge
                                is embedded in our genome. But only ontogenesis provides
                                the conditions of emergence (learnability) that are
                                necessary for language to exist. So, the relationship
                                between phenomenological (or figurative) notions of
                                embeddedness and a properly scientific sense of emergence
                                is just a great mystery for me.

                                M> ... I don't think you can have your naturalism in ... a
                                watered down way.

                                G: Certainly. And Habermas isn't slushy.

                                M> It's Darwin and physics all the way down OR it's Kant &
                                Plato :-).

                                G: Well, *that* sure is a non-watery view, like bull in a
                                china shop. :-)

                                I look forward to something that's thought-provoking (and
                                documented).

                                Gary




                                .
                              • Gary E Davis
                                ... for cultural meanings to get symbolically fixed. G: I can agree. In asking.... ... such that you re referring (in effect) to symbolic phenomena getting
                                Message 15 of 26 , Sep 11, 2003
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                                  > M> Moreover, the lifeworld vanishes without the capacity
                                  for cultural meanings to get symbolically fixed.

                                  G: I can agree. In asking....

                                  > G: Yet aren't cultural meanings *already* symbolical,
                                  such that you're referring (in effect) to symbolic
                                  phenomena getting symbolically fixed?....

                                  ...I was feeling an ambiguity that expresses my disposition
                                  toward questioning / thinking about the relationship of
                                  lifeworld and meaning.

                                  Without linguistic relativism, it's invalid to surmise that
                                  the lifeworld may vanish without linguistic symbolization,
                                  at least inasmuch as most of the lifeworld exists without
                                  linguistic representation: all capacities and perception,
                                  all non-linguistic intelligence, the physicality of
                                  experience.

                                  Is an ability a symbolic fixation? So, what are the
                                  intended limits (or practicality) of the concept of
                                  "symbolic"? Are newborns not yet in the lifeworld? (Does it
                                  not make sense to inquire into the lifeworld of newborn
                                  babies?)

                                  Terrence Deacon (referenced earlier) understands
                                  humans---as a biological matter---to be "the symbolic
                                  species" (1997 book with this title, which remains central
                                  to his essays in _Evolution and Learning_. He's just
                                  finished a book on biosemiotics titled _Homunculus_, not
                                  yet published).

                                  When one refers to spatial meaning or logical meaning or
                                  musical meaning or emotional meaning or kinesthetic
                                  meaning, this isn't about linguistic meaning (though
                                  referring is done linguistically, just as one refers to
                                  rocks, but doesn't imply that rocks are linguistic
                                  phenomena). Meaning is symbolic in the broad sense of
                                  intelligence having substance, but linguistic intelligence
                                  is not keynote of mathematical discovery, musical
                                  composition, spatial inference (visual arts, dance) or
                                  feeling insightfully. In short, insight isn't essentially
                                  linguistic.

                                  > M> In fact JH's theory of communicative action depends on
                                  there being these "things" termed meanings that are
                                  magically embedded in the entirely physical marks, noises
                                  and neural processes of human beings.

                                  G: Today, I disagree with myself (regarding Gary as an
                                  other). I want to agree that meanings are embedded, etc.:

                                  Though...

                                  G> Meaning is an emergent property of cognition, and
                                  cognition is an emergent property of specialized neural
                                  regions....

                                  and

                                  G> ... it's [not] the case that meanings exist somehow
                                  outside cognition...

                                  It can be useful to think that:

                                  G> ...they could be "embedded" in that from which they
                                  emerge.

                                  While...

                                  G> ...ontogenesis provides the conditions of emergence
                                  (learnability) that are necessary for language to exist.

                                  ... language acquisition can be usefully regarded as an
                                  embedding of language through learning---or an embedding of
                                  language in cognition via emergent learnability.

                                  But language isn't a singular thing; language acquisition
                                  proceeds for as long as learning goes on, which is
                                  lifelong. And the acquisition is individualized, the more
                                  so as individuation actualizes its potential in terms of a
                                  particular life and its worldliness. So, I think that a
                                  notion of language *individuation* is truer to reality than
                                  is the notion of embedding (which is appealing and useful).


                                  So, the interface of emergence and individuation would be
                                  the temporal space of a linguistic a priori, which is
                                  different for each individual (though scientific theory
                                  does validly generalize about the emergence of learnability
                                  or intelligence; and about the nature or character of
                                  language acquisition).

                                  It's not...

                                  > M> ...Darwin and physics all the way down OR it's Kant &
                                  Plato :-).

                                  ...because it's *cognitivity* and Darwin all the way
                                  down---almost literally, since the theory of "neural
                                  Darwinism," developed by Nobel Laureate Gerald Edelman, is
                                  a very compelling account of neurogenesis in brain
                                  development, and cognitive neuroscience is a
                                  well-established area of research. The latter annuls the
                                  credibility of purely speculative analysis. Leading work in
                                  philosophy of mind hasn't relied on purely speculative
                                  analysis for many decades.

                                  All of the above is compatible with Habermas' formal
                                  pragmatic view of linguistic cognition, though the
                                  scientific background of his view may be antedated, calling
                                  for revision of his view, in terms perhaps of the more
                                  cognitivist character of contemporary linguistics and
                                  psychology of language acquisition.

                                  Gary




                                  .
                                • matthew_piscioneri
                                  Hi Gary, agree about being selective in posts. After this exchange, I think I will try and limit posts to one issue at a time! Post to follow from 2 days ago.
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Sep 11, 2003
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                                    Hi Gary,

                                    agree about being selective in posts. After this exchange, I think I
                                    will try and limit posts to one issue at a time! Post to follow from
                                    2 days ago.

                                    MattP.
                                  • matthew_piscioneri
                                    Gary, List: [I have merged two posts here. Apologies for any thematic repetition]. From the outset it is probably useful for me to indicate how I understand
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Sep 11, 2003
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                                      Gary, List:

                                      [I have merged two posts here. Apologies for any thematic repetition].

                                      From the outset it is probably useful for me to indicate how I
                                      understand Habermas's project to reconstruct Critical Theory. IMO,
                                      Habermas designs his project to intervene at the level of discourse.
                                      Discourse is the site of Habermas's praxis, if you will. The
                                      practical moment of Habermas's version of Critical Theory's is
                                      assigned to expert social scientific discourses. The mediation of
                                      expert rationalities: `What remains for philosophy, and what is
                                      within its capabilities, is to mediate interpretively between expert
                                      knowledge and an everyday practice in need of orientation.' (PMT,
                                      M.I.T, 1993: 17)

                                      Once again the unique symmetry in Habermas's project emerges: form
                                      (`a history of theory with systematic intent'), content (virtual
                                      dialogues with theorists from Weber to Parsons, Marx to Adorno) and
                                      theme (reconstructions of the rational presuppositions of theoretical
                                      and practical discourse). Habermas is explicit: he understands his
                                      project circa-TCA as the change over in the social sciences
                                      (including Critical Theory) from the paradigm of purposive ration
                                      social action (drawn from the philosophy of consciousness) to
                                      communicatively rational social action (drawn from the philosophy of
                                      language). Again, Habermas's theoretical emphasis on changing
                                      *****paradigms****** indicates the domain of practical application to
                                      be the sphere of discourse.

                                      Why do I regard this as being so important? Well this is how Habermas
                                      understands his project. In order to understand Habermas's project
                                      the challenge for a commentator is obviously to understand how
                                      Habermas self-understands etc. Achieving this understanding then
                                      makes Habermas's project available to assessment.

                                      Given Habermas's inquiry operates on and at the level of discourse
                                      its ***ontology*** comprises "models," "heuristic
                                      devices," "paradigms," "disciplinary heritages." When I undertake a
                                      deconstruction of Habermas's theory of communicative action I try and
                                      keep faith with Habermas's construction. This is why the persistence
                                      in Habermas's work of motifs and argumentative strategies from German
                                      Idealism is so pertinent. Habermas is trying to persuade also at the
                                      level of discourse. Habermas's project is NOT about barricades or
                                      armed insurrections. It's about changing theoretical paradigms in
                                      (critical) social scientific discourse.

                                      Most of my critique, then, focuses on the rhetorical persuasiveness,
                                      if you like, of Habermas's "product" – his theory of communicative
                                      action/reason. Very little to do with how right/true/accurate it is
                                      in terms of (dare I say) "reality." No. Again the ontological setting
                                      of Habermas's project is the sphere of expert social scientific
                                      discourse. The challenge of his project isn't to describe "reality"
                                      in the way traditional metaphysics proceeds. The challenges of his
                                      project are the discursive engagements with Weber, Horkheimer and
                                      Adorno et al,. Furthermore, Habermas argues (staying in touch with
                                      Horkheimer's essay re-Critical & Traditional theory) that Critical
                                      Theory must demonstrate its consistency with the most advanced
                                      knowledges of the day. Not only scientific, but social and
                                      philosophical. (See for example TCA2, 1995, Polity Press, 398-400. I
                                      can supply several other refs. to places where Habermas says much the
                                      same thing.)

                                      This is where the big CLUNK comes into for me. Habermas's methodology
                                      emphasizes the commensurability of his reconstructed critical theory
                                      with the "best" or most advanced knowledge in town. So we have his
                                      program of formal pragmatics that attempts to synthesize theories of
                                      meaning from Frege to Davidson. The CLUNK is the absence of Quine and
                                      linguistic behaviourism. Habermas's "ignoring" of Quine, IMO,
                                      contradicts Habermas's methodology re- ensuring a commensurability
                                      with expert knowledges. Of course, and yes this is where I
                                      rehabilitate Habermas in MY thesis in response to MY critique
                                      (professional philosophy, MY foot :-)), Habermas is crucially open to
                                      the discursive testing of the hypotheses he presents.

                                      This is what it is mainly about for Habermas. Vigorous transparent
                                      scientific, social, political discourse. Given these robust and
                                      transparent processes of social argumentation the emancipatory
                                      guarantee offered by communicative reason will keep the lurking
                                      fascists and ideologists at bay.

                                      To return to more mundane matters then, Habermas's post-metaphysical
                                      paradigm of communicative reason is designed to "replace" both the
                                      Kantian and Hegelian paradigms of Idealism in the philosophical
                                      discourse of modernity. The point I am arguing is that
                                      ****significant**** traces of the Idealist heritage serve to tension
                                      Habermas's project by eroding the consistency of his claim for a
                                      postmetaphysical type of reason as a unique discursive paradigm. In
                                      other words, *****on the level of discourse***** (where Habermas's
                                      project is intended to operate) this new thing he is making (a
                                      postmetaphysical communicative reason) still looks a bit like the
                                      old things Habermas strongly argues he is throwing out. Again on the
                                      level of discourse, the ****persuasive**** claim Habermas is making
                                      concerning a break with the past (central to his rhetoric of
                                      postmetaphysicalism) is weakened IMO by his unwillingness to jettison
                                      the residual traces of Idealism from his theory construction.

                                      This is the basis of this aspect of my critique of Habermas. I also
                                      examine the tension in his theory construction between a claim for
                                      naturalism (more rhetoric of postmetaphysicality) and the non-
                                      naturalistic elements in his semantic theory, as already discussed.

                                      Where does this micro-critique fit into a critique of Habermas's
                                      macro-objectives? In TCA Habermas announces one of his objectives is
                                      to address the dissolution of the heritage of Occidental rationalism
                                      that is becoming increasingly more apparent (in the 1970s).
                                      Horkheimer and Adorno's critique of instrumentalism reason, according
                                      to Habermas, is both a manifestation of this dissolution, as well as
                                      contributing - in tandem with the French School – to ongoing
                                      processes of dissolution. This position is indicated for all to read
                                      in the Preface to TCA, and then throughout the interviews collected
                                      in Autonomy and Solidarity.

                                      Habermas makes it clear that in the later 1970s he reconstructs C.T
                                      for two main reasons. First, to address the impact of H. & A's
                                      critique on the dissolution of the heritage of western rationalism.
                                      Second, because he `needs' a critical "vehicle" (Critical Theory)
                                      with which to address the re-emergence of Nietzsche's philosophy via
                                      the French School.

                                      Given these practical objectives (again at the site of discourse) my
                                      approach to Habermas concerns issues of theoretical consistency and
                                      the persuasiveness of his project. This is why I argue that alongside
                                      the formal aporia generated by H. & A.'s critique there was also
                                      a "pathetic" aporia of pessimism. I argue that Habermas's
                                      reconstruction of C.T adequately addresses the formal aporia, but
                                      falters in overcoming the pathetic aporia.

                                      Part of the problem for Habermas is that he has to avoid
                                      incorporating either a philosophy of history or an agonistic
                                      component into his Critical Theory. These are, according to Habermas,
                                      discredited normative bases for the task of undertaking a critical
                                      theory of society. Instead Habermas looks to the structures of the
                                      species-wide competence for communicative language and develops his
                                      procedural version of reason etc. on which to ground Critical
                                      Theory's normative conditions of possibility.

                                      Part of the problem for Habermas is that his version of Critical
                                      Theory looks more like the traditional theory Horkheimer originally
                                      distinguished Critical Theory! Part of the problem for Habermas is
                                      that he ties himself up in knots because there is SO much that he
                                      must avoid he runs into genealogical and theoretical inconsistency's
                                      that degrade the viability of his paradigm of communicative reason.

                                      Still, this is where his fallibilistic methodology "saves" Habermas.
                                      For, in the final analysis, it is not the CONTENT of the discourse
                                      that matters, rather it is the PROCEDURE or PROCESS that is
                                      important. Ironically, the pathos generated by the open ended
                                      futurity of social argumentation and knowledge production is as
                                      disturbing and unsettling as it is re-assuring. Isn't an eternal work-
                                      in-progress a type of placeholder for relativism?

                                      MattP

                                      Gary,
                                      To try and directly respond to what I can of your post:

                                      > G: But now Ali wants to say (earlier today) that he was
                                      > only talking about `transcendence' in a figurative sense,
                                      > as in "context transcendence" that a validity claim
                                      > expresses. So, you're either *not really* agreeing with him
                                      > or you both are confusing the difference between figurative
                                      > and constitutive claims.
                                      >
                                      > But the confusion is easy to make, given the ambiguous
                                      > status that concepts may take in pragmatic discourse, where
                                      > one heuristically draws on what one has in common with the
                                      > other in order to communicate something specific to the
                                      > discourse. To deal with this fairly requires close reading
                                      > of what Habermas is *doing* in what he states.

                                      If by "figurative" what is meant is something akin to "heuristic
                                      device" then I am in agreement with Ali. I hope my preceding post
                                      makes this position clearer. I think Habermas degrades the persuasive
                                      viability of his new paradigm by continuing motifs and modes of
                                      argumentation that characterize the Idealist tradition. Although I
                                      consider his constitutive thesis to have merit re: a moment of
                                      unconditionality, the presence of this motif of transcendentality –
                                      for me – conflicts or jars with his claims re:postmetaphysicalism.
                                      --------------------
                                      > G: Well, not quite (you might agree). Like I said
                                      > yesterday: Ontological commitment may not be required for a
                                      > cognitive pragmatism.

                                      I don't know exactly what you mean here. Certainly on the level of
                                      discourse the "ontology" changes (as has my use of the
                                      term "ontology", of course!) I sense we are in proximal agreement
                                      here.
                                      -----------------------
                                      > "You" don't like `quasi-transcendental'? Then what's your
                                      > proposal?

                                      Sure. "I" find this motif in JH's work dissuasive. Others maybe not.
                                      I qualify my critique that in the end it is an empirical question
                                      concerning the efficacy of JH's reconstruction of Critical Theory.
                                      --------------------
                                      > But let's be clear: Habermas does *not* mean to suggest
                                      > anything resembling Kantian transcendental illusion (as
                                      > necessary phenomenological transcendentality arising from
                                      > the noumenality of the real).

                                      Yes. Clear on this one : -).
                                      ---------------------
                                      > M> [The problem of the quasi-transcendental] is similar to
                                      > his statement in CES that `if this be idealism, then
                                      > idealism belongs in a most natural way to the conditions of
                                      > reproduction of a species that must preserve its life
                                      > through labor and interaction, that is, also by virtue of
                                      > propositions that can be true and norms that are in need of
                                      > justification.' (1979: 97)
                                      >
                                      > G: I must disagree. That which is called
                                      > quasi-transcendental indicates a real problem of
                                      reconstructive inquiry; idealism does not.

                                      Not so sure. I still think the issue we have been discussing rankles
                                      Habermas. It's one of his Achilles heels. Remember one of the main
                                      criticisms of First Generation C.T made by its critics (and Habermas
                                      also) is that it stayed with Hegel and a philosophy of history, that
                                      it hadn't exorcised German Idealism ruthlessly enough. The
                                      postmetaphysical claims JH makes are crucial to his program.
                                      IMO, "Idealism" – as the C19th philosophical tradition – IS
                                      problematic for JH. This is why he returns again and again to scratch
                                      at it…because it itches.
                                      ------------------------
                                      > G: So, Matt, you're moving from an unreconstructed context
                                      > of BFN (even uncited, beginning your discussion) back
                                      > nearly a quarter century to a supplementary context near
                                      > the end of "What is Universal Pragmatics?" (giving realist
                                      > meaning to the sense of `idealism'), now to a context of
                                      > naïve normativism (of "everyday life" [9]) from which
                                      > communicative reason is in "tension".

                                      Gary, I am trying to show, across a sweep of JH's work, how this
                                      issue has occupied him. This indicates it should be looked at
                                      carefully. Habermas certainly does. One of the enduring qualities of
                                      JH is that he doesn't shy away from disclosing the weak points as he
                                      sees them in his theory construction. It's an admirable trait.
                                      --------------------------
                                      > G: So, I suppose you see an isomorphishm between idealism
                                      > in JH's earlier-quoted realist sense and portions of the
                                      > idealist heritage with which communicative reason is in
                                      >tension.

                                      Yes.
                                      ---------------------
                                      > JH>> ….In the context of an explanatory theory [G: E.g., an
                                      > anthropologically backgrounded comprehension of reason in
                                      > social evolution?], these idealist elements are by no means
                                      > an unmixed blessing. (1996: 9)

                                      Habermas is scratching the itch that won't go away again.
                                      --------------------
                                      > M> In this qualified way Habermas then broaches the
                                      > continuities between his post-metaphysical theory of
                                      > rationality and the heritage of German Idealism.
                                      >
                                      > G: But not in its post-metaphysicality; he's introducing
                                      > his understanding of communicative reason, which also
                                      > happens to be a post-metaphysical understanding, but that's
                                      > not what's being explicated. An "immanent tension" between
                                      > tradition and theory is being explicated. Early in BFN,
                                      > he's introducing his theory of communicative action for a
                                      > legal-theoretical German audience. He's not doing
                                      > postmetaphysical philosophy.

                                      Helpful analysis. Thanks.
                                      ----------------------------
                                      > G: You've indicated nothing of the sort, and you're wrong
                                      > about your present context. The idealistic baggage belongs
                                      > to discursive tradition, to which JH is IN BOTH CONTEXTS
                                      > (1976 and 1992) expressing distance, if not ambivalence.

                                      How so "expressing distance"? Have you BFN handy? What Habermas does
                                      (pp9-10) is to discuss the pragmatic utility of idealities.

                                      > JH>> However far removed today's concept of reason is from
                                      > its Platonic origins, and however much it may have been
                                      > changed by paradigm shifts, it is still constituted by a
                                      > reference, if not to ideal contents (let alone to Ideas),
                                      > then to idealizing, limit conceptions. (1996: 9)

                                      The profusion of which:

                                      > M> ….acts to dissuade me from an allegiance with his
                                      > alternative paradigm of communicative reason.

                                      > G: Well, then, you're saddling yourself. Besides, JH isn't
                                      > seeking allegiance; he's seeking engagement.

                                      Yes and no on this one. On the one hand the objective of Habermas's
                                      project is to generate open and vigorous debate. So yes. On the other
                                      hand, Habermas took seriously the Neo-Nietzschean challenge in the
                                      1970s and 1980s. So, no. Indeed (!) BOTH. Engagement and allegiance.
                                      ---------------------
                                      > JH>> `With each truth claim, speakers and hearers transcend
                                      > the provincial standards of a particular collectivity, of a
                                      > particular process of communication localized here and
                                      > now.' (1996: 14)
                                      >
                                      > G: He's making a very proximal-level point (not a
                                      > primordial one): context transcendence of everydayness and
                                      > with respect to a reality that is independent of us.

                                      Gary I think this is a "thin" reading of Habermas on this point. The
                                      role played by unconditionality in JH's work is not as modest as you
                                      are suggesting I would suggest.
                                      ----------------------
                                      > M> Yet in order to reach this position Habermas commits
                                      > himself to what I consider to be an unattractive form of
                                      > linguistic Platonism of the sort developed by Charles
                                      > Peirce. (cf. 1996: 11)
                                      >
                                      > G: As distinguishable from an attractive form (which you
                                      > would advocate?).

                                      Touche. I find ALL forms of Platonism unattractive. The only
                                      Platonism I find attractive is a dead one : -).
                                      -----------------------------
                                      > More likely, you're symptomzing (projectively) linguistic
                                      > Platonism in your own thinking.
                                      Is that so Sigmund Davis? I think you are symptomizing this in me in
                                      you.
                                      ---------------
                                      > In any case, this is a
                                      > critical hermeneutical issue: How does one know that
                                      > they're reading the other rather than employing the other
                                      > in one's own working-through? This is the straw man plague
                                      > of discursive inquiry.

                                      And your turn to "critical hermeneutics" is the last strategic refuge
                                      of the discursive scoundrel :- ).
                                      ---------------------------
                                      > JH>> What distinguishes a symbolically expressed thought as
                                      > something general, identical with itself, and publicly
                                      > accessible – as something transcending the individual
                                      > consciousness – from the always particular, episodic, and
                                      > only privately accessible, hence consciousness-immanent
                                      > representations is the ideal status of linguistic signs and
                                      > grammatical rules. (1996: 12)

                                      > G: Again: Cool. But what's really going on here? You're
                                      > moving attention back 2 pages to a new context: the
                                      > ideal-typicality of concepts (in the manner of
                                      > ideal-typicality in modeling, if not Weber, and surely in
                                      > the sense of the ideal speech situation, which is very
                                      > likely to be only approximated in real-time interaction
                                      > among the best of us)---ideal-typicality of concepts:
                                      > "general and particular…essence and appearance"… "type and
                                      > token"(11). "The same is true for the concept, or the
                                      > meaning of a term and its various expressions" (11-12).
                                      > Then your quote above.

                                      No, what's going on here is that Habermas comes out of the Platonic
                                      closet and declares himself. I applaud him.

                                      > This "ideal status" is like an item
                                      > in a standard dictionary: no one strictly conforms to the
                                      > lexical standard of word usage (more likely: employing a
                                      > word ambiguously among its kindred senses); the standard
                                      > (the type) always has an ideal-typical status, and the
                                      > token likely is context-sensitive, if not really
                                      > figurative, relative to a clear-cut definition.

                                      Too thin a reading of JH again, IMO. I know you know your Habermas
                                      better than this. Stop playing games Gary ;- ).
                                      --------------------
                                      > What's *unconditional* is only the claimed universality of
                                      > the formal pragmatic infrastructure. But what IS that,
                                      > claimed to be unconditional? It's very difficult to
                                      > understand (let alone say),

                                      because of its noumenality and ineffability….sounds transcendental to
                                      me :- ).

                                      >so we can't say that the
                                      > unconditional is non-controversial or unquestionable.
                                      > Indeed, just getting clear on what it IS for a given
                                      > discourse to claim *that* something is unconditional is
                                      > immensely elusive; and getting *agreement* about what's
                                      > really universal in the claim is another matter.

                                      Agreed.
                                      > In any case, assertions are always conditional.
                                      Agreed.


                                      Do you know the German term Habermas uses for "unconditional"? It's a
                                      very interesting point you are raising.
                                      > M> So I can live with Habermas's sense of immanent
                                      > transcendence.
                                      >
                                      > G: Wonderful. But what is it?

                                      Don't you know what Habermas means by quasi-transcendental? He means
                                      his theory ***looks*** like a transcendental theory in the manner of
                                      Kant and Hegel, but Habermas has postmetaphysicalized/naturalized all
                                      the Ideal bits.
                                      --------------------
                                      > since Habermas' early
                                      > engagement with "traditional" CT doesn't capture a
                                      > *general* purpose of his career.

                                      Disagree. IMO, the general "purpose" of his career is a critical
                                      social/political purpose. I don't think Habermas sees himself as a
                                      traditional theorist (in Horkheimer's sense). I think this would
                                      offend him. So, yes, Habermas's engagement with early and late C.T
                                      and the themes that C.T explored has largely shaped the direction of
                                      Habermas's career. I consider H. & A's thesis on the dialectic of
                                      enlightenment to be the specific generative premise of Habermas's
                                      work.
                                      -------------------
                                      > But, you know, TCA neither
                                      > introduces itself relative to H&A nor stays long with
                                      > Adorno, because his so-called magnum opus isn't basically
                                      > about Critical Theory. Indeed…

                                      Sorry, Gary I don't know. What I know from other posts of yours that
                                      you don't favour a reading of Habermas which accentuates the critical
                                      social/political/engaged emphasis in his work. Habermas isn't solely
                                      on about pure theory. What social theorist is? Is there such a thing
                                      possible as a non-normative social science?
                                      ----------------------
                                      > that topic is almost a
                                      > supplement at the end, relative to the character of the
                                      > theory of communicative action altogether (e.g., Critical
                                      > Theory isn't the axial discursive topic for his project).

                                      I think you are being provocative here for the sake of provoking a
                                      response. Sorry. Today I aint Pavlov's dog.
                                      -------------------------
                                      > I like the concept of *synergy*, like a discursiveness that
                                      > seems to take on a life of its own (thinking together in
                                      > "sync").

                                      It's a nice take on Habermas's methodology.

                                      > M> I do go on to rehabilitate JH on this point….
                                      >
                                      > G: O, that's ripe: A few years of graduate school, and
                                      > you're ready to rehabilitate Jürgen. (This is an awful
                                      > thing to say, maybe---I realize---but, hey, professional
                                      > philosophy gets cruel.)

                                      Where's your critical hermeneutics now, Gary? Relative to my thesis
                                      YES I do go on and rehabilitate Habermas.

                                      Professional philosophy isn't cruel as much as it is mundane. Sadly,
                                      and with counter-emancipatory consequences, it reflects the mundane
                                      oppressive power relations of the world. What else can it do? Why
                                      expect anything else? The academy is there to serve the state and the
                                      corporate sphere. That's who funds it. Never mind that professional
                                      philosophers are fallible human creatures like the rest of us :- ).
                                      Bitter, twisted, self centred, grasping, petty minded, shallow,
                                      narcissistic, and worst of all – sans sense of humor.
                                      Wanted to re-quote the following because I thought it was a great
                                      example of discursive synergy:

                                      > M>…. by drawing attention to the primordial fallibilism at
                                      > the basis of his methodology: `reconstructions undertaken
                                      > with philosophical means also retain a hypothetical
                                      > character; precisely because of their strong universalistic
                                      > claims, they are open to further, indirect testing.' (TCA2:
                                      > 399)
                                      >
                                      > G: Yes, that's a good passage. Specific universalistic
                                      > claims may not hold good.
                                      >
                                      > M> But, interestingly, as the essay you refer to indicates,
                                      > Habermas is not about to "lose" the quasi-transcendental
                                      > component of communicative reason.
                                      >
                                      > G: He detranscendentalizes its use, and doesn't put a lot
                                      > of stock in the term `quasi-transcendental," while
                                      > investing very deliberately in that for the sake of which
                                      > `quasi-transcendental' is employed as stand-in.

                                      Which is?
                                      ---------------------
                                      > M: Why? Well as he also makes clear in the TCA[,] not to
                                      > opens his reconstructed C.T to the accusation that its
                                      > claims are limited to a specific socio-historical context:
                                      >
                                      > G: But his motivation isn't defensive. His career is a
                                      > research project reaching out to understand what's
                                      > ultimately the case, which is ultimately what we do.

                                      So he is a metaphysician? Yes, there's more Heidegger in Habermas
                                      than most want to acknowledge. I await publication details of your
                                      forthcoming –On Habermas and Heidegger-.
                                      As for Habermas's project being defensive (and forgetting all
                                      the "defence of the Enlightenment" misnomers), I was re-reading –
                                      PostMetaphysical Thinking- yesterday. Came acroos this passage;

                                      "For the lifeworld must be defended against extreme alienation at the
                                      hands of the objectivating, the moralizing, **and** the
                                      aestheticising interventions of expert cultures." (M.I.T, 1993: 18)

                                      Who's going to do this defending? According to Habermas, a C.T
                                      reconstructed on the basis of Habermas's theory of communicative
                                      action.
                                      -------------------
                                      > JH: The theory of communicative action aims at the moment
                                      > of unconditionality….
                                      >
                                      > G: Yes, "aims".
                                      >
                                      > JH: … that, with criticizable validity claims, is built
                                      > into the conditions of processes of consensus formation. As
                                      > –claims- they transcend all limitations of space and time,
                                      > all the provincial limitations of the given context. (ibid)
                                      >
                                      > G: Yet, what IS "the moment"? As claims, they "transcend"
                                      > (actively, not in any constitutive sense), as ordinary
                                      > validity claims "transcend" their moment.

                                      Well what this "moment of unconditionality" means returns us to the
                                      starting point of our discussion. I agree it is a difficult thing to
                                      grasp. You have disputed my take on it, what's yours? What does it
                                      mean for a claim to validity to transcend their moment?

                                      Regards,

                                      MattP.
                                    • Gary E Davis
                                      Matt, I m just acknowledging that I ve read your backgrounding prospectus and reactions to what I replied, very enjoyably. I look forward to replying
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Sep 11, 2003
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                                        Matt,

                                        I'm just acknowledging that I've read your backgrounding
                                        prospectus and reactions to what I replied, very enjoyably.
                                        I look forward to replying substantively as soon as I can.

                                        In the meantime, I hope that you'll find time to get more
                                        substantive, in Habermasian terms, about why you believe
                                        that Habermas' sense of ideality undermines his stance as a
                                        postmetaphysical thinker.

                                        Thanks for your interest in what I think about "that for
                                        the sake of which 'quasi-transcendental' is employed as
                                        stand-in" and Habermas' "moment of unconditionality."

                                        Thinly,

                                        Gary



                                        .
                                      • Gary E Davis
                                        Matt, Taking for granted all my appreciation and enjoyment of your discussion (please), I believe I see the problem why you mistakenly read transcendentalism
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Sep 12, 2003
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                                          Matt,

                                          Taking for granted all my appreciation and enjoyment of
                                          your discussion (please), I believe I see the problem why
                                          you mistakenly read transcendentalism in Habermas' work.
                                          Looking closely at what you've shared, I see several
                                          "philosophical" distinctions that I want to make (this
                                          short post won't try to accomplish that by merely
                                          indicating the distinctions below).

                                          That distinguishing is a philosophical kind of issue:
                                          Habermas as philosopher. But you're also discussing
                                          Habermas as social theorist; I'm going to pass on that
                                          context, for the most part. (This isn't one of the
                                          distinctions I wish to make). Generally, I agree with your
                                          characterization of Habermas as social theorist---or
                                          Critical Theorist.

                                          Actually, Critical Theory has a *metatheoretical*
                                          relationship to theory in social scientific practice; CT
                                          takes as its "object" or subject a conceptual level of
                                          inquiry that is already theoretical to social science
                                          itself. Reconstructive inquiry for Critical Theory is
                                          especially discursive, rather than empirical-analytic
                                          (which is theory laden in its explanatory and methodic
                                          structure), though CT should benefit from
                                          empirical-analytic knowledge. Habermas's treatment of
                                          developmental psychology is a good example, in _Moral
                                          Consciousness and Communicative Action_.

                                          Apart from (1) a philosophical domain of discussion and (2)
                                          Critical Theoretical domain of discussion (or actually
                                          meta-Critical Theoretical, since you're rendering the
                                          character of Critical Theory, rather than getting into
                                          details of it, i.e., working with CT themes---though you
                                          break into that briefly, in a polemical manner), there is
                                          (3) a concern for the relationship of Habermas as
                                          philosopher to Habermas as social theorist, in terms of
                                          details of each modality.

                                          IMO, you're not clearly distinguishing these modes of
                                          discourse, despite your excellent appreciation of JH as
                                          Critical Theorist.

                                          Habermas as Critical Theorist develops a theory of
                                          democracy in BFN (though, post-1980s, it would be
                                          unrecognizable to H&A as Critical Theory; he's not doing
                                          Critical Theory in any sense like what is traditionally
                                          understood by Critical Theory. He doesn't *call* what he's
                                          doing "Critical Theory").

                                          Habermas as philosopher develops a formal pragmatics and
                                          undertakes a project of postmetaphysical thinking,
                                          including discourse ethics and other projects (especially
                                          moral theory). As he begins BFN, he introduces his
                                          philosophical background. But clearly he's not endeavoring
                                          to do basic philosophical work in BFN. The basic philosophy
                                          of BFN is a rendering of work done earlier (except as
                                          *political* philosophy, a vast philosophical development of
                                          political language)---or an appropriation of philosophical
                                          work to the project of democratizing communicative reason.
                                          (You know: political philosophy is a derivative formation,
                                          while basic philosophy is epistemology, logic, moral
                                          theory, etc.)

                                          Now, to philosophical distinctions: Proximally, one of the
                                          distinctions I wish to make is between a philosophical and
                                          historical perspective on idealism. I believe that you're
                                          confusing the two---the focus on historical background or
                                          genealogy in BFN and the status of idealization in
                                          communicative reason and its founding formal pragmatics.
                                          Formal pragmatics and communicative reason inform his sense
                                          of ideality in history, not the converse (I'm
                                          oversimplifying, but the discursive-logical point is my
                                          point). You apparently read philosophy through a
                                          historicism (though I expect you to deny this).

                                          A second kind of distinction I want to make is
                                          between---how can I put it briefly---between outer and
                                          inner transcendence. The way I want to put it (though this
                                          won't be useful by just naming it) is the difference
                                          between a priori transcendence (or constitutivity) and
                                          *conceptual* transcendence (or analytical relativity of
                                          conceptual dependencies in a structural analysis). You
                                          apparently confuse overt transcending (or meta-cognition)
                                          with issues of constitutivity.

                                          A third kind of distinction I want to make is between
                                          Habermas' a priori "quasi-transcendental" (which is aimed
                                          toward foundational work in naturalistic or realistic
                                          epistemology) and unconditionality (which is aimed at
                                          universalistic results of our quasi-transcendental
                                          background).

                                          Lastly, I want to distinguish between fallibility in
                                          philosophical discourse and fallibility in reconstructive
                                          science. You evidently understand the former in terms of
                                          the latter, but Habermas does not.

                                          I then would like to focus on---excuse the jargonism---the
                                          naturality of the quasi-transcendental, which you skipped
                                          over in your reply (and which I continued in recent
                                          postings on meaning and the linguistic a priori, which were
                                          written with you in mind, prior to your posting yesterday).


                                          Also, I would like to contrast the quasi-transcendental as
                                          such with idealized unconditionality and focus on
                                          unconditionality as such. Relative to this, I want to go on
                                          to distinguish the unconditionality of processes from their
                                          contained (or contentful) use of conceptual (or analytic)
                                          transcendence (or reflective analysis).

                                          Also, I want to focus on the ideal-typicality of concepts
                                          in discourse, distinguished from the ideality of
                                          unconditionality itself.

                                          Lastly, I want to render how the interest in ultimacy may
                                          be postmetaphysicalist (without recourse to Heidegger), as
                                          a venture in scientifically attuned philosophy.

                                          BUT I don't have time for that presently. This posting
                                          makes a beginning, though.

                                          regards

                                          Gary





                                          .
                                        • Gary E Davis
                                          Matt, I was earlier interested in why you thought that there was a persistent transcendentalism in Habermas thought which allegedly undermines his claim to
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Sep 13, 2003
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                                            Matt,

                                            I was earlier interested in why you thought that there was
                                            a "persistent transcendentalism" in Habermas' thought which
                                            allegedly undermines his claim to "postmetaphysical
                                            thinking." I believe I understand that now (via your
                                            "transcendentalism in Habermas"), as I indicated yesterday,
                                            but I went back to the text today with the hypothesis that
                                            I was misunderstanding JH and that going back would give me
                                            insight into how that's the case. (Repentance provides one
                                            the chance to sooner move on in the light, so I've always
                                            enjoyed being found wrong. I have no vanity about being
                                            right, I believe.)

                                            But I don't believe I misunderstand JH. Now, I want to
                                            understand why you see Platonism in JH's short genealogy of
                                            the linguistic turn in BFN, pp. 11-14.

                                            First, you wrote that:

                                            M>>> ....Habermas commits himself to what I consider to be
                                            ... linguistic Platonism of the sort developed by Charles
                                            Peirce. (cf. [BFN]: 11)

                                            G: Then you quoted from p. 12. In reply, I disagreed; I
                                            read the passage as about the ideal-typicality of concepts.
                                            (I would refine that now, but that's not presently
                                            necessary to me).

                                            You replied:

                                            M> No, what's going on here is that Habermas comes out of
                                            the Platonic closet and declares himself.

                                            G: I don't see it. Please explain in detail.

                                            thanks,

                                            Gary
                                          • Ali Rizvi
                                            Dear Gary and Matt, Thanks for your interesting postings. My present intervention is very limited but does not imply my not appreciating the rest which I have
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Sep 14, 2003
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                                              Dear Gary and Matt,

                                              Thanks for your interesting postings. My present
                                              intervention is very limited but does not imply
                                              my not appreciating the rest which I have left out
                                              (for usual reasons). [YOu have to limit yourself in
                                              one way or another].

                                              1)When we say that Habermas is not a transcendental
                                              thinker we normally mean by that Habermas is no longer
                                              committed to Kantian metaphysical assumption
                                              especially Kant�s two world division.

                                              2)When Habermas talks about detranscendentalisation he
                                              is talking about detranscendentalisation of the
                                              Kantian subject and conception of reason. He is not
                                              talking about abandoning transcendental inquiry
                                              altogether. This is what he means by weak
                                              transcendentalism.

                                              3)Kant had defined transcendental in these terms: �I
                                              entitle TRANSCENDENTAL all knowledge which is occupied
                                              not so much with objects as with the mode of our
                                              knowledge of objects in so far as this mode of
                                              knowledge is to be possible A PRIORI (A 12, italics
                                              retained).

                                              4)By a priori Kant wanted to emphasises two elements
                                              in the knowledge: Pure and Universal. By �pure� Kant
                                              meant those elements that make experience possible. By
                                              �universal� Kant emphasised the elements of �context
                                              transcendence�. Thus �Necessity and strict
                                              universality are . . . sure criteria of A PRIORI
                                              knowledge, and are inseparable from one another� (B 4,
                                              italics retained).

                                              5)Thus Kant distinguishes the transcendental
                                              conditions of the possibility of knowledge from
                                              empirical, logical and metaphysical conditions.

                                              6)The main difference between Habermas� formal
                                              pragmatics is that he is not looking for the
                                              conditions of the possibility of experience in general
                                              he is looking for the conditions of the possibility of
                                              a very specific kind of �experience� he calls
                                              �communicative understanding�.

                                              7)The other difference is that Habermas is not
                                              satisfied with the Kantian subjectivism so he tries to
                                              detranscendentalise it by locating the conditions of
                                              the possibility in the structure of language use and
                                              lifeworld.

                                              8)Still other difference is that Habermas does not
                                              espouse Kant�s transcendental argument[TA] (mainly due
                                              to their subjectivism in his view) and replace it with
                                              more desubjectivsed approach which he calls �rational
                                              reconstruction�.

                                              9)A part from the above qualifiactions, Habermas'
                                              conditions for the possibility of communicative
                                              understanding are transcendental in the full Kantian
                                              sense. These are universal and necessary conditions
                                              and are conditions that must be differentiated from
                                              the empirical, logical and metaphysical.

                                              10)Now to turn to the �transcendence� business. I had
                                              specifically defined my understanding of the term
                                              �transcendence� at the start of this thread (at spoon
                                              list). My understanding of the term transcendences is
                                              fairly Foucauldian. I understand by �transcendence�
                                              the mere possibility of being �otherwise�. In this
                                              sense my understanding of the term transcendence has
                                              nothing to do with Gary�s �figurative transcendence�
                                              and Matt�s �heuristic transcendence�. [And I am not
                                              exactly sure if I do understand them very well].

                                              11)Now having defined transcendences as the mere
                                              possibility of �otherwise� we can see how raising
                                              validity claim can be a form of transcendence or at
                                              least condition of it (necessary condition but not
                                              sufficient).

                                              12)When one raises validity claim (that is taking the
                                              possibility of yes/no) vis a vis the 'given' one
                                              creates the possibility of �otherwise�. Habermas
                                              �context transcenence� can also be understood in this
                                              sense as all local claims are in principle susceptible
                                              to challenge in the form of yes/no and hence the
                                              possibility of being �otherwise�. There is no point
                                              where validity claims cannot be challanged by yes/no
                                              and hence the potential of being �otherwise� is always
                                              there. Habermas defines premodern societies as
                                              societies in which this possibility of otherwise was
                                              barred because of their immersment in the �given� and
                                              hence their lack of the potential for transcendence
                                              (being otherwise). It is in this sense that validity
                                              claims are related to "transcendence". Obviously when
                                              I said validity is transcendence I was being
                                              rhetorical and possibly (figurative?) but definitely I
                                              did not mean to equate them.

                                              13)Now obviously Habermas� account of validity is not
                                              exhausted by what I have said above. It is more than
                                              that. However I wanted to (and do want) to emphasise
                                              this aspect of Habermas thinking and this is
                                              intentional.

                                              That is it for now
                                              Best Regards
                                              ali


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                                            • Gary E Davis
                                              Ali, your points are very constructive for me. I want to first indicate my belief that Matt is not being a sloppy reader! Matt’s misreading importantly
                                              Message 22 of 26 , Sep 14, 2003
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                                                Ali, your points are very constructive for me.

                                                I want to first indicate my belief that Matt is not being a
                                                sloppy reader! Matt�s misreading importantly exemplifies a
                                                longstanding problem of Habermas reception; it�s *not* that
                                                one should expect that a reader won�t find a problem of
                                                transcendentalism in Habermas� work. Habermas is difficult;
                                                *philosophy* at the research level is difficult. And this
                                                is not just an academic thing; it has important political
                                                overtones.

                                                Perhaps the most common criticism of Habermas over the
                                                years has been that he�s at heart a Kantian (which is
                                                presumed to be a serious fault). This criticism has been
                                                made most often (I feel) by readers who are not
                                                philosophers, because Habermas has been read mostly by
                                                social theorists outside philosophy; but also by
                                                philosophers. There is often confusion between the Kantian
                                                idiom (which initiated epistemology and, it has been
                                                recently argued, cognitive theory in science; Patricia
                                                Kitcher) and Kant�s stance on his type of inquiry. In 1976,
                                                Habermas clearly distinguished (1) transcendental inquiry,
                                                as originated by Kant, and (2) Kant�s version of
                                                transcendental inquiry (�What is UP?,� _OPC_, 42-5). But
                                                this fine distinction means little to the anti-Habermasian
                                                social theorist, who finds (evidently) the difference
                                                irrelevant for dangers of mandarin thinking, such as was
                                                the academic environment in Weimar Germany which was
                                                overtly Kantist (as a matter of doctrine) and who
                                                acquiesced (if not supported) the spread of
                                                authoritarianism----not that any critic of Habermas
                                                suspects any kind of acquiescence, but Kantism in political
                                                philosophy is unacceptably conservative. Indeed, Habermas
                                                was labeled Kantist by the Marxist tradition especially,
                                                and this militated against his reception by leftist
                                                scholarship in the 1970s (which inhibited the growth of
                                                post-Marxist discourse, IMO, and fostered a reliance on a
                                                Marxian reading of Hegel, whose critique of Kant is not
                                                questioned, and a historical materialism which belongs to
                                                the 19th century).

                                                Now, while the Marxist era is an anachronism, the need for
                                                progressive politics remains obvious, and questions of
                                                complementary theoretical work remain important (though
                                                you�ll be hard-pressed to find a progressive activist who
                                                feels a need for theory---distinguishable from
                                                progressive-minded theorists who think they�re practical,
                                                loving the safe comforts of abstract critique so much).
                                                Theoretical work is important because the university and
                                                public policy discourse are potentially axial for long-term
                                                prospects of social progress. Perhaps the most accessible
                                                importance of theoretical work in the human sciences and
                                                humanities is the interdisciplinarity of discourse and
                                                research, that can be and needs to be furthered, as well as
                                                an ethic of discursive holism within specialties.
                                                Metatheoretical work can contribute to this fundamentally,
                                                philosophical metatheory most of all.

                                                So, that�s a little story of an obvious connection between
                                                political practice and philosophy in a knowledge-intensive
                                                society. In the converse direction, from philosophy to
                                                practice, it�s a matter---among many matters---of fostering
                                                capacities for fundamental insight, hybrid environments for
                                                conceptual problem-solving in higher education, sensitive
                                                and progressive discourse, and research that can contribute
                                                to progressive policies and practices. For discourse about
                                                disciplinary foundations and fundamental
                                                interdisciplinarity, there is the matter of conceptual
                                                design and exemplification of fundamental thinking which
                                                avoids and counters dogmatism by the way it works.

                                                In this kind of scenario, questions of philosophical
                                                assumptions and commitments are not merely scholastic (and,
                                                of course, no one posting here has connoted otherwise, but
                                                one might wonder why so many subscribers have nothing to
                                                say). ((Listen, silent majority: Something important may
                                                emerge.))

                                                Ali, your comments that I�m not quoting are those that I
                                                fully endorse and have nothing to add. (Others:
                                                read Ali�s posting.)

                                                A> 4)By a priori, Kant wanted to emphasise two elements in
                                                the knowledge: Pure and Universal. By �pure� Kant meant
                                                those elements that make experience possible. By
                                                �universal� Kant emphasised the elements of �context
                                                transcendence�. Thus �Necessity and strict universality are
                                                . . . sure criteria of A PRIORI knowledge, and are
                                                inseparable from one another� (B 4, italics retained).

                                                G: Habermas, on the other hand, wants separability and
                                                isn�t strict about universality. The �nonconditional� is an
                                                ideal-typical notion, an evaluative standard that is
                                                universalistic. I believe he often writes as if
                                                universality is *given* for some basic notions, but close
                                                reading shows (IMO) that �universalistic� is the most that
                                                he absolutely advocates for any standard or concept, while
                                                the common claim *that* the validity basis of speech is
                                                universal is questionable in its �is� vis-�-vis the
                                                interlocutor who doesn�t understand what JH is claiming
                                                (i.e., most academics reading him!)/

                                                But the universality of a concept/relation or standard is
                                                also questionable within formal pragmatics (as part of
                                                formal pragmatic inquiry), as to its assumptions, its
                                                coherence with other features of formal pragmatics, its
                                                entailments for actual reconstructive research (the
                                                falsifiability of conceptualizations of that which is
                                                universal), and its empirical relation to actual practices
                                                (e.g., the real-life sufficiency of satisficing practices
                                                and heuristics that never actually need---so it may seem---
                                                to recognize the universality of a validity basis *as*
                                                such).

                                                Formal pragmatics *advocates* a case for the
                                                unconditionality of world-language-validity-speech
                                                relations, but the research program is very preliminary. If
                                                it�s read vis-�-vis cognitive linguistics of the past 2
                                                decades, it�s clear (to me) that his programmatic argument
                                                raises more questions than it resolves, which was Habermas�
                                                intention, I think. Habermas was far ahead of his time, in
                                                the mid-�70s; but that doesn�t mean that mid-�70s
                                                conceptualizations remain strictly appropriate for the
                                                early 21st century.

                                                A> 9)A part from the above qualifications, [ 1) through
                                                8),] Habermas' conditions for the possibility of
                                                communicative understanding are transcendental in the full
                                                Kantian sense. �

                                                G: No, given your apt qualifications: there *is* no �full�
                                                Kantian sense left, given that transcendental
                                                inquiry---epistemology, cognitive science---isn�t
                                                essentially a Kantian endeavor. One won�t gain insight into
                                                what Habermas is doing by reading Kant, so what�s the point
                                                of the association anymore?

                                                A> �These are universal and necessary conditions and
                                                [these] are conditions that must be differentiated from the
                                                empirical, logical and metaphysical.

                                                G: Granted that universal and necessary conditions must be
                                                so differentiated, but Habermas� sense of conditions is not
                                                universal and necessary in Kant�s sense. Moreover, Habermas
                                                replaces transcendental deduction with reconstructive
                                                inquiry (a �logical� endeavor with no metaphysical
                                                component) differentiated from empirical linguistics. There
                                                is no necessary transcendental illusion (cf. _Kant�s
                                                Doctrine of Transcendental Illusion_, Michelle Grier,
                                                Cambridge 2001) in Habermas� thinking.

                                                A> 10)Now to turn to the �transcendence� business. I had
                                                specifically defined my understanding of the term
                                                �transcendence� at the start of this thread (at spoon
                                                list). My understanding of the term transcendences is
                                                fairly Foucauldian. I understand by �transcendence� the
                                                mere possibility of being �otherwise�. In this sense my
                                                understanding of the term transcendence has nothing to do
                                                with Gary�s �figurative transcendence� and Matt�s
                                                �heuristic transcendence�. [And I am not exactly sure if I
                                                do understand them very well].

                                                A>11)Now having defined transcendences as the mere
                                                possibility of �otherwise� we can see how raising validity
                                                claim can be a form of transcendence or at least condition
                                                of it (necessary condition but not sufficient).

                                                G: But why not just say that raising a validity claim is to
                                                consider a case (or speech act) *otherwise* than as the
                                                case (or as presumed)? (�which, I will indicate below, is
                                                not basically a matter of being otherwise *anyway*.) It
                                                seems to me that you gain nothing, relative to Habermas, by
                                                calling it transcendence, since this confuses the
                                                difference between a priori considerations (e.g., the
                                                Kant-Habermas matter) and conceptual considerations
                                                (Habermas� active sense of �transcendence� vis-�-vis a
                                                context). In other words, it just begs the question of
                                                transcendentality relative to its history. Habermas doesn�t
                                                use the notion constitutively, but only in the specific
                                                sense of an active differentiation of conceptual levels (or
                                                otherwise as epistemological inquiry *analogously* with
                                                Kant�s origination of this kind of inquiry. Analogously,
                                                physics discovered by Newton isn�t fundamentally Newtonian;
                                                it so happens that Newton used mathematical language that
                                                is unrecognizable to contemporary physicists; and, of
                                                course, �Newtonian� physics turns out to be a rather
                                                course-grained comprehension of physicality. But the
                                                analogy is probably counterproductive, since Habermas is
                                                not endeavoring to rehabilitate Kant, contrary to Cristina
                                                Lafont�s urgings that he tenably could; I think she�s just
                                                asking for trouble).

                                                A> 12)When one raises validity claim (that is taking the
                                                possibility of yes/no) vis a vis the 'given' one creates
                                                the possibility of �otherwise�.

                                                G: Sure, one can force the notion of otherwise into the
                                                scene, but a relationship of conceptual levels is not
                                                analogous to recognizing something as other (which is
                                                relative to perception or self). Yes, a difference between
                                                A and B can be that A is other than B; this is logically
                                                trivial, though recognizing this for some instantiation
                                                would be cognitively non-trivial (cf. _Clear and Confused
                                                Ideas_, Ruth Garrett Millikan, Cambridge, 2000; note: I
                                                misspelled her last name in a posting last week----well,
                                                actually I didn�t, but my spellcheck routine suggested a
                                                different spelling, and I mistakenly took the bait).

                                                Again (off tangent), a difference between A and B can be
                                                that A is other than B. Yet, A is logically other than B
                                                even when B is defined other than as not-A: If A contains C
                                                and C contains B, then A contains B, but B doesn�t contain
                                                A, whereas if A is not C and C is not B, then both A is not
                                                B and B is not A. So, the notion of �otherwise� can�t
                                                capture the notion of containment; it begs the difference
                                                between negation, logical difference, and containment.
                                                Likewise, with a type-token difference; �otherwise� misses
                                                the point. A specific, implied truth claim is a token of
                                                the truth-type of validity claim. To say that a type is
                                                other than its token doesn�t accomplish anything other than
                                                to distinguish type and token. But to add that type
                                                transcends token begs the notion of transcend: Is it only
                                                to say that there is a difference of logical types or
                                                conceptual dependencies? Then *say* that, because there�s a
                                                lot to say in the vein of conceptual analysis, but we�re
                                                not asking for transcendental analysis when we raise a
                                                validity claim.

                                                So, I can agree that (substituting �the� for your �this�]:

                                                A> Habermas� �context transcendence� can also be understood
                                                in [the, not] this sense as all local claims are in
                                                principle susceptible to challenge in the form of yes/no
                                                and hence the possibility of being �otherwise�. �

                                                G: ��otherwise,� in the sense of a claim being other than
                                                accepted, like an assertion can be other than true (It can
                                                be undecidable, given available information). But
                                                �otherwise� gains us nothing beyond a figurative entrance
                                                into an issue of implicature.

                                                But look: Your raising of the issue has accomplished a lot!
                                                My otherwising response to you provides an occasion to
                                                delve into some characteristics of implicature. So, I
                                                recognize the fecundity of what�s otherwise; I just object
                                                to its aptness for understanding validity claims. (Being
                                                otherwise is vital to critical self-reflection! This is a
                                                matter of self vis-�-vis an other of understanding or
                                                oneself as an other [Paul Ricoeur, where are you----I
                                                remember that he wrote the best essay of the
                                                early-to-mid-�70s on the Gadamer-Habermas debate as a
                                                dispute within ethical theory].)

                                                So, yes and no, re:

                                                A> There is no point where validity claims cannot be
                                                challenged by yes/no and hence the potential of being
                                                �otherwise� is always there.

                                                G: This pertains mainly to claims against the
                                                intersubjectivity of relating, as to the genuineness of the
                                                relating, e.g., �Is it you or I that causes this feeling?�
                                                �Am I becoming my own other in you?� IS Habermas a
                                                Platonist in the closet or is Matt just happy to see
                                                clearly? ;-}

                                                A> Habermas defines premodern societies as societies in
                                                which this possibility of otherwise was barred because of
                                                their immersment in the �given� and hence their lack of the
                                                potential for transcendence (being otherwise).

                                                G: Yes and no, IMO, but your observation is useful: *In
                                                part*, premodern societies were dominated by developmental
                                                levels of social authority and self understanding that
                                                didn�t appreciate (thus didn�t allow) the value of reason
                                                (though modernity didn�t invent our reasonability;
                                                �educated� persons--mostly via the Church---sustained their
                                                own versions of reasonability throughout the Dark and
                                                Middle Ages, at best as derivative forms of genuine
                                                reasonability exemplified by Classical
                                                culture---Mediterranean thought through at least the
                                                Stoics).

                                                But what reason provides is basically more than reflection
                                                on (or against) the other as Other. It includes appreciated
                                                capacities for engaging the other as �us� producing *our*
                                                self-determination. Indeed, it could be argued that it�s
                                                the potential for regarding the other as
                                                other-than-otherwise that is �transcendent� in
                                                reasonability. So, THE �potential for transcendence� is
                                                basically other than being otherwise---rather being
                                                IN-the-world with others in accord with our ownmost
                                                potential for self-determination (Heidegger, BT, but you
                                                might see the affinity Habermas might have with this idea).


                                                So, ironically, I could completely agree with your
                                                following statement, given the sense of �this� that
                                                results:

                                                A> It is in this sense that validity claims are related to
                                                "transcendence".

                                                G: But it�s not obvious that:

                                                A> Obviously when I said validity is transcendence I was
                                                being rhetorical and possibly (figurative?) but�

                                                G: Yet, I accept that:

                                                A> � definitely I did not mean to equate them.

                                                G: We can see, though, that transcendence is a powerful, as
                                                well as problematic, notion. We might appreciate that the
                                                appeal of the rhetoric of transcendence belongs to the
                                                ascendant Romanticism of Kant�s time, and this appeal
                                                persists (cf. _The Persistence of Romanticism_, Richard
                                                Eldridge, Cambridge UP, 2001). In a manner of speaking,
                                                idealization IS that which takes us out of ourselves and
                                                faces us with our potential.

                                                Thanks, Ali.

                                                Gary



                                                .
                                              • matthew_piscioneri
                                                Gary, In the interests of more manageable exchanges I will try and be concise and productive in the sense of furthering our engagement with Habermas s work:
                                                Message 23 of 26 , Sep 14, 2003
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                                                  Gary,
                                                  In the interests of more manageable exchanges I will try and be
                                                  concise and "productive" in the sense of furthering our engagement
                                                  with Habermas's work:

                                                  [GD] Actually, Critical Theory has a *metatheoretical*
                                                  relationship to theory in social scientific practice; CT
                                                  takes as its "object" or subject a conceptual level of
                                                  inquiry that is already theoretical to social science
                                                  itself. Reconstructive inquiry for Critical Theory is
                                                  especially discursive, rather than empirical-analytic
                                                  (which is theory laden in its explanatory and methodic
                                                  structure), though CT should benefit from
                                                  empirical-analytic knowledge.
                                                  [MP] Yes. This discursive domain of application IMO is under-
                                                  appreciated in commentary on Habermas's circa-TCA work:

                                                  "The theory of communicative action is not a metatheory but the
                                                  beginning of a social theory concerned to validate its own critical
                                                  standards."
                                                  "In good Hegelian terms, the formation of basic concepts and the
                                                  treatment of substantive issues belong inseparably together."

                                                  Both quotes from the first page of Habermas's Preface to TCA1. This
                                                  is why I insist on there being a deliberate (and crucial) synergy
                                                  between methodology/form, content and theme in Habermas's work.
                                                  -----------------------
                                                  [GD] IMO, you're not clearly distinguishing these modes of
                                                  discourse, [philosophical, meta-C.T, social theorist] despite your
                                                  excellent appreciation of JH as
                                                  Critical Theorist.

                                                  [MP] Timing matters here. Up until TCA, IMO, Habermas's project is a
                                                  collaborative effort to reconstruct C.T (specific Frankfurt School
                                                  tradition) commensurate to early- C.T. It pays to re-read
                                                  Horkheimer's essay on Traditional & Critical Theory in order to get a
                                                  sense of how closely Habermas's reconstruction wanted to indicate its
                                                  continuities with early-C.T. It is also useful to read Dubiel's
                                                  essay "Farewell to C.T" for it gives the impression that there was a
                                                  shared agenda within the Habermas's circles to pursue the objective
                                                  of re-inventing C.T.

                                                  So; early-C.T stressed the fusion of philosophical & scientific
                                                  methods and insights with social theory. My contention is that
                                                  Habermas's reconstructed C.T circa-TCA retains these programmatic
                                                  intentions of early-C.T. My conflation of the modes of discourse up
                                                  until TCA is warranted.

                                                  Following TCA, and given Habermas's admission in 1984 that his
                                                  project to reconstruct C.T had failed, I AGREE that the modes of
                                                  discourse started to tease themselves apart. However, there remained
                                                  an interpenetration of philosophical & (meta) critical & social modes
                                                  throughout the 1980s. In MCCA, this disentanglement starts to get
                                                  worked out, and is further disentangled in J&A. Yet, I would argue
                                                  that certain of these "disentanglements" (remembering Habermas's rare
                                                  metaphor of a tangled mobile in MCCA I think) reflect resolute
                                                  problems thrown up by Habermas's TCA-era project. In particular, the
                                                  motivational issue regarding participation in processes of
                                                  theoretical and/or practical enlightenment raised by Heller, is
                                                  dissolved in MCCA and J&A via Habermas's newly rigorous distinction
                                                  between "philosophy" and "critical social theory."

                                                  [GD] Habermas as Critical Theorist develops a theory of
                                                  democracy in BFN (though, post-1980s, it would be
                                                  unrecognizable to H&A as Critical Theory; he's not doing
                                                  Critical Theory in any sense like what is traditionally
                                                  understood by Critical Theory. He doesn't *call* what he's
                                                  doing "Critical Theory").

                                                  [MP] Agreed.

                                                  [GD] Habermas as philosopher develops a formal pragmatics and
                                                  undertakes a project of postmetaphysical thinking,
                                                  including discourse ethics and other projects (especially
                                                  moral theory).

                                                  [MP] But aren't you forgetting something here Gary? Again you appear
                                                  to by pass Habermas's engagement with the Neo-Nietzschean School
                                                  (e.g. PDM & essays in PMT). Why? Because it doesn't suit what I
                                                  consider to be an overly austere and exclusive interpretation of
                                                  Habermas's career? Re-reading PMT there is a barely disguised polemic
                                                  going on in this work. Sure its better mannered than in PDM, but
                                                  Habermas is clearly out to make a substantive point concerning HIS
                                                  postmetaphysical communicative reason. The substance of this point
                                                  isn't simply about engagements on a purely philosophical level.

                                                  [GD] As he begins BFN, he introduces his
                                                  philosophical background. But clearly he's not endeavoring
                                                  to do basic philosophical work in BFN. The basic philosophy
                                                  of BFN is a rendering of work done earlier (except as
                                                  *political* philosophy, a vast philosophical development of
                                                  political language)---or an appropriation of philosophical
                                                  work to the project of democratizing communicative reason.
                                                  (You know: political philosophy is a derivative formation,
                                                  while basic philosophy is epistemology, logic, moral
                                                  theory, etc.)

                                                  [MP] I wish I lived in Berkeley sometimes : -). Life must be so clear
                                                  cut and transparent. Gary I admire your gall in smoothing out all the
                                                  bumps and untying all the knots in BFN. More so than TCA, BFN is a
                                                  much more complex and multi-layered work. Apologies, but I don't
                                                  think you are doing it justice by rendering it innocuous. There IS a
                                                  critical edge in BFN. It is like your overlooking of the critical
                                                  edge in TCA; trying to shunt Habermas's engagement with Horkheimer
                                                  and Adorno and Lukacs into a forgotten corner. You may have
                                                  disengaged with the critical Left, I don't think you should transpose
                                                  this onto Habermas.
                                                  -------------------
                                                  [GD] Formal pragmatics and communicative reason inform his sense
                                                  of ideality in history, not the converse (I'm
                                                  oversimplifying, but the discursive-logical point is my
                                                  point).

                                                  [MP] This is a really good point, and I have to give it some thought.
                                                  It's "deep" Habermas thinking you are inspiring here Gary. GREAT.
                                                  Thanks. Not sure I am up to it, to be honest ; -).
                                                  -------------------------------
                                                  [GD] You apparently read philosophy through a
                                                  historicism (though I expect you to deny this).

                                                  [MP] No. Spot on. But Gary, can you suggest another
                                                  philosopher/social theorist who is as "history of philosophy-social
                                                  theory" conscious as is Habermas? This obsession with disciplinary
                                                  history is not as explicit in BFN. My point is that Habermas
                                                  encourages a historicist reading of his work. Again, and to the howls
                                                  of orthodox Habermasians no doubt, in the construction of his
                                                  critical social philosophy Habermas is IN PRACTICE very postmodern.
                                                  It's a great irony methinks. One of postmodernity's harshest critics
                                                  is one of its best practitioners. Very post-modern in its playful
                                                  teasing disengenuity that erodes the power laden structures and
                                                  standards of a historically contingent discourse. In PMT, Habermas
                                                  makes no bones about it communicative reason is a historical reason.
                                                  ------------------
                                                  [GD] Youapparently confuse overt transcending (or meta-cognition)
                                                  with issues of constitutivity.

                                                  [MP] Maybe I do. But probably what I do is to come to terms with
                                                  theory-as-theory. Habermas's ***theory*** of communicative action is
                                                  exactly that! It's an assemblage of strings of words inscribed on
                                                  paper. As a theory-thing I don't think it can be "transcendental" nor
                                                  IMO can it generate transcendentality. As a theory-thing it can
                                                  theorize transcendentality (in whatever shape or form) out there in
                                                  the world (even the world of language with embedded unconditional
                                                  potentials). In this way it can resemble other theory-things that do
                                                  similar types of theorizations not to do with language necessarily,
                                                  but to do with Subject-hood or Objective Spirit-hood. So, does
                                                  Habermas theory display or contain a transcendental motif. Yes. Does
                                                  this demonstrate its continuity with Plato, Kant and Hegel, for
                                                  example? Yes, IMO. De-transcendentalizing Kant is a process, a doing.
                                                  Habermas has reached such and such a point. He has not altogether
                                                  exorcised a theoretical ***transcendental*** motif from his work. I
                                                  don't think he would want to. It retains his work in continuity with
                                                  German Idealism. This is how I think he wants to be understood. The
                                                  philosopher who (together with Apel) undertook the fusion of the
                                                  German Idealist, American Pragmatist and Anglo-American analytic
                                                  traditions. Habermas quite openly at times writes his own
                                                  philosophical epitaph.
                                                  -------------------------
                                                  [GD] A third kind of distinction I want to make is between
                                                  Habermas' a priori "quasi-transcendental" (which is aimed
                                                  toward foundational work in naturalistic or realistic
                                                  epistemology)

                                                  [MP] I understand (and agree) thus far. Get lost on this:

                                                  [GD] and unconditionality (which is aimed at
                                                  universalistic results of our quasi-transcendental
                                                  background).
                                                  --------------------------
                                                  [GD] Lastly, I want to distinguish between fallibility in
                                                  philosophical discourse and fallibility in reconstructive
                                                  science. You evidently understand the former in terms of
                                                  the latter, but Habermas does not.

                                                  [MP] Disagree. Let me find a quote or two from PMT.
                                                  ------------------------
                                                  [GD] I then would like to focus on---excuse the jargonism---the
                                                  naturality of the quasi-transcendental,

                                                  [MP] I think we both "get" the natural flavour of the motif of
                                                  Habermas's quasi-transcendentalism. It's the presence of the motif I
                                                  find problematic.
                                                  -----------------------
                                                  [GD] Also, I would like to contrast the quasi-transcendental as
                                                  such with idealized unconditionality and focus on
                                                  unconditionality as such. Relative to this, I want to go on
                                                  to distinguish the unconditionality of processes from their
                                                  contained (or contentful) use of conceptual (or analytic)
                                                  transcendence (or reflective analysis).

                                                  Also, I want to focus on the ideal-typicality of concepts
                                                  in discourse, distinguished from the ideality of
                                                  unconditionality itself.

                                                  Lastly, I want to render how the interest in ultimacy may
                                                  be postmetaphysicalist (without recourse to Heidegger), as
                                                  a venture in scientifically attuned philosophy.

                                                  [MP] It's a great research agenda that would extend Habermas. Good
                                                  luck. It's divergent though from my interest in Habermas. I do not
                                                  exclude your "take" of Habermas as either accurate or worthwhile. Far
                                                  from it. Micro-theoretical analysis (spadework) is crucial to
                                                  clearing the debris. Sadly, as a primitive Tasmanian, I like jumping
                                                  on the bulldozer sometimes, knocking over fences, and getting to know
                                                  the neighbours. I guess this is why I passed on archaeology : -).
                                                  ---------------------
                                                  [GD] But I don't believe I misunderstand JH. Now, I want to
                                                  understand why you see Platonism in JH's short genealogy of
                                                  the linguistic turn in BFN, pp. 11-14.

                                                  [MP] Let me re-read the section in BFN.

                                                  Thanks,

                                                  MattP.
                                                • Gary E Davis
                                                  Matt, Let me make a quick reply---an appreciation--and get back to some other issues after I hear from you further. I don t presently feel any disagreement
                                                  Message 24 of 26 , Sep 14, 2003
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                                                    Matt,

                                                    Let me make a quick reply---an appreciation--and get back
                                                    to some other issues after I hear from you further.

                                                    I don't presently feel any disagreement with your reading
                                                    of JH as Critical Theorist, like I said before (though I'm
                                                    always able to quibble about anything).

                                                    [...]

                                                    > [GD] Habermas as philosopher develops a formal pragmatics
                                                    and undertakes a project of postmetaphysical thinking,
                                                    including discourse ethics and other projects (especially
                                                    moral theory).

                                                    > [MP] But aren't you forgetting something here Gary? Again
                                                    you appear to by pass Habermas's engagement with the
                                                    Neo-Nietzschean School ....

                                                    G: I was simply distinguishing JH as social theorist from
                                                    JH as philosopher, not pretending to provide a
                                                    comprehensive statement of JH as philosopher.

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

                                                    > [GD] As he begins BFN, he .... is a rendering of work
                                                    done earlier (except as *political* philosophy....---or an
                                                    appropriation of philosophical work to the project of
                                                    democratizing communicative reason.

                                                    > [MP] I wish I lived in Berkeley sometimes : -). Life must
                                                    be so clear cut and transparent.

                                                    G: O, it is. The climate is the same as the east Australian
                                                    coast. "Your" eucalyptus trees are everywhere (they
                                                    destroyed many species of native California trees when an
                                                    enterprising Aussie of the 19th century thought he'd make a
                                                    killing by planting them in Calif. But, the moron didn't
                                                    realize that they don't make good lumber. Meanwhile,
                                                    everything looks like Australia "down" here).

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

                                                    M> Gary I admire your gall in smoothing out all the bumps
                                                    and untying all the knots in BFN.

                                                    G: No, Matt, I made a very brief point about the status of
                                                    BFN relative to your issue of transcendentalism, which is
                                                    not addressable validly in BFN, rather only in such
                                                    contexts as "What is Universal Pragmatics?" and, I would
                                                    add, "Discourse Ethics" (and _PMT_ and _J&A_ maybe). I see
                                                    a distinction between basic and derivative philosophical
                                                    work that I find easy to defend. You won't find anything in
                                                    BFN about communicative reason as such or formal pragmatics
                                                    that isn't earlier developed in TCA or work of the 1980s.
                                                    What's new about BFN is its status, in effect, as vol. 3 of
                                                    TCA: the theory of law and democracy that he wasn't ready
                                                    to write at the end of TCA. It's a continuation of his
                                                    project in social theory, not basic philosophy (as MCCA and
                                                    other works are, including _Wahrheit und Richtfertigung_
                                                    which will be available as _Truth & Justification_ next
                                                    month; *that's* basic philosophy). Thus, BFN doesn't
                                                    provide a basis for critique of his sense of
                                                    'transcendental'. I've been only arguing a specific kind of
                                                    point, Matt: a philosophical one.

                                                    > It is like your overlooking of the critical edge in
                                                    TCA;...

                                                    G: The critical edge in TCA is not relevant to the
                                                    philosophical basis of critical edges that TCA carries over
                                                    from _CES_ and advances in TCA. The critical edge in TCA is
                                                    the critical edge in TCA, rather than the theory of
                                                    communcative action in TCA and the analysis of the
                                                    lifeworld in TCA that has been the basis of my interest in
                                                    our exchanages.

                                                    You don't know my relationship to critical edges, believe
                                                    me. I have not been trying to gain anyone's approval of my
                                                    relationship to critical edges.

                                                    [...]

                                                    M> Gary, can you suggest another philosopher/social
                                                    theorist who is as "history of philosophy-social theory"
                                                    conscious as is Habermas?

                                                    G: No, which is why I worry so much about the reception of
                                                    Habermas---and give time to fostering appreciation of
                                                    him---even though he's not the axis of my own approach to
                                                    philosophy. He is exemplary for me, the best philosopher
                                                    alive, and an immense influence on my sense of philosophy,
                                                    even though that sense is no longer primarily Habermasian.
                                                    I am Habermas' son (philosophically speaking), but the son
                                                    is not the father. (I also have other fathers, and several
                                                    mothers. It gets confusing: I confessed an hour ago to the
                                                    HAB list that Derrida is one of my fathers).

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

                                                    > Habermas encourages a historicist reading of his work.

                                                    G: Where?

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

                                                    > [Does] Habermas theory display or contain a
                                                    transcendental motif. Yes.

                                                    G: But that's a far different claim than to say, as you did
                                                    earlier (characterizing your just-written thesis) that a
                                                    persistent transcendentalism undermines his
                                                    postmetaphysicality (today: it's "postmodernity" that he
                                                    *does* have, about which I agree with you, by the way.
                                                    Postmodernity without postmetaphysicality? You must be
                                                    changing your view. Good.).

                                                    M> Does this demonstrate its continuity with Plato, Kant
                                                    and Hegel, for example? Yes, IMO.

                                                    G: But that "motif" is not itself a demonstration of
                                                    anything important vis-a-vis his relationship to
                                                    "transcendental" (which is no scholastic matter, IMO: read
                                                    my long reply to Ali today). I think it's clear in JH's
                                                    work that he has a very specific non-constitutive use of
                                                    'transcendental', and it's important to not confuse his
                                                    originality with the motives of German Idealism as such.
                                                    It's just not productive to gloss "continuity" after the
                                                    tragic 20th century. There's just nothing constructive in
                                                    this, philosophically speaking.

                                                    M> It retains his work in continuity with German Idealism.
                                                    This is how I think he wants to be understood.

                                                    G: NO!

                                                    > -------------------------
                                                    >> [GD] A third kind of distinction I want to make is
                                                    between Habermas' a priori "quasi-transcendental" (which
                                                    is aimed toward foundational work in naturalistic or
                                                    realistic epistemology)

                                                    > [MP] I understand (and agree) thus far. Get lost on this:
                                                    >
                                                    >> [GD] and unconditionality (which is aimed at
                                                    universalistic results of our quasi-transcendental
                                                    background).

                                                    G: Sorry. That was an inspired posting, not (as I indicated
                                                    Friday) meant to be an evidently clear one.

                                                    Onward,

                                                    Gary
                                                  • matthew_piscioneri
                                                    Gary, Thanks for the quick and as always thought provoking reply. The following addresses in a different way some points from your previous post to your last
                                                    Message 25 of 26 , Sep 14, 2003
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                                                      Gary,

                                                      Thanks for the quick and as always thought provoking reply. The
                                                      following addresses in a different way some points from your previous
                                                      post to your last one. Given my efforts to access texts I still
                                                      consider it to be pertinent in spite of your last reply. Trust you
                                                      think so also. BTW, I might defer indefinitely the historicist issue
                                                      as I think it probably unproductive. If it's OK with you I would
                                                      rather give myself a bit of breathing space between posts in order to
                                                      concentrate on pp10-15 of BFN.

                                                      Do you have a copy of BFN? Some closer textual analysis might ground
                                                      the transcendental! I want to quote twenty or so short passages and
                                                      discuss, but it will help if you have the fuuler version there to
                                                      place them into context for yourself.


                                                      The following required elaboration I thought fro your post before
                                                      last:

                                                      [GD] IMO, you're not clearly distinguishing these modes of
                                                      discourse, [philosophical, meta-C.T, social theorist] despite your
                                                      excellent appreciation of JH as
                                                      Critical Theorist.

                                                      [MP] "Does Philosophy Still Have a Purpose?

                                                      "Nonetheless, it opened up a new dimension for the movement of
                                                      philosophical thought, namely that of a substantive critique of
                                                      science."

                                                      "In this respect, the future of philosophical thought is a matter of
                                                      political practice."

                                                      Clear connection between philosophy & social critique.
                                                      --------------------
                                                      [MP] Following TCA, and given Habermas's admission in 1984 that his
                                                      project to reconstruct C.T had failed, I AGREE that the modes of
                                                      discourse started to tease themselves apart. However, there remained
                                                      an interpenetration of philosophical & (meta) critical & social modes
                                                      throughout the 1980s.

                                                      c.f "Morality, Society and Ethics" the concluding interview in -
                                                      Justification and Application- (p149, M.I.T, 1993).

                                                      Nielsen asks "you present discourse ethics as both the continuation
                                                      and completion of your earlier theoretical work on ethics and a
                                                      response to the political agenda of the public discussions of the
                                                      1980s."

                                                      Habermas replies:

                                                      Actually, my research program has remained the same since about 1970,
                                                      since the reflections on formal pragmatics and the discourse theory
                                                      of truth first presented in the Christian Gauss Lectures. On the
                                                      other hand, anyone who is at all sensitive to politics and the
                                                      political impact of theories is bound to react to changed contexts.
                                                      In the 1960s it was necessary to engage the theories of technocracy
                                                      of one group and in the early 1970s the crisis theories of another.
                                                      And since the mid-1970s I have felt the pressure of the neo-
                                                      conservative and the poststructuralist critiques of reason, to which
                                                      I responded with the concept of communicative rationality. This
                                                      constellation remained unchanged in the 1980s, and it was for this
                                                      reason that I continued to work on the philosophy of consciousness
                                                      and sought to lend it greater philosophical precision. (1993: 149)

                                                      [MP] I would recommend this interview to you and others following
                                                      this thread. In particular, the Habermas's ambiguous position on
                                                      the "practical" role of philosophy is worth noting. On page 162
                                                      Habermas explains his conception of philosophy. Philosophy, according
                                                      to Habermas:

                                                      "today plays two roles simultaneously: the role of the interpreter
                                                      who mediates between the lifeworld and expert cultures and a more
                                                      specialized role within the scientific system in which it cooperates
                                                      with various reconstructive sciences."

                                                      The next sentence is revealing:

                                                      "In so doing, it generates statements that claim to be true in the
                                                      same way as other scientific statements."

                                                      So Gary, my mistake, the refutation of your following statement lay
                                                      in J&A not PMT :- ).

                                                      [GD] Lastly, I want to distinguish between fallibility in
                                                      philosophical discourse and fallibility in reconstructive
                                                      science. You evidently understand the former in terms of
                                                      the latter, but Habermas does not.

                                                      [MP]What is interesting is that within the course of the same
                                                      interview Habermas later says in conclusion:

                                                      "I think that the task of philosophy is to clarify the conditions
                                                      under which moral and ethical questions alike can be decided
                                                      rationally by the participants themselves {snip} But philosophy
                                                      cannot arrogate to itself the task of finding answers to substantive
                                                      questions of justice or of an authentic, unfailed life, for it
                                                      properly belongs to the participants. {snip} Hence, I advocate an
                                                      ascetic construal of moral theory and even of ethics – ****indeed, of
                                                      philosophy in general****– so as to make room for a critical social
                                                      theory." (pp175-76)[emphases added]

                                                      How many philosophies and modes of philosophical discourse are there
                                                      for Habermas? More than one, obviously. And I agree with Habermas on
                                                      this. The modes of philosophical discourse with which Habermas is
                                                      working are clearly diffuse. I consider my approach re-philosophical
                                                      and critical modes of discourse more accurately reflects Habermas's
                                                      position on this one Gary in contrast to your stricter categorial
                                                      scheme.
                                                      ---------------------
                                                      [MP] There IS a critical edge in BFN. It is like your overlooking of
                                                      the critical edge in TCA; trying to shunt Habermas's engagement with
                                                      Horkheimer and Adorno and Lukacs into a forgotten corner.

                                                      "When I was writing TCA my main concern was to develop a theoretical
                                                      apparatus with which the phenomena of `reification' (Lukacs) could be
                                                      addressed." J&A op cit, p170.

                                                      Habermas's critique of H. & A.'s critique of instrumental reason is
                                                      pivotal IMO to the TCA.
                                                      ---------------
                                                      Contrary to what I posted earlier today about your research
                                                      prospectus, I also find this theme exciting. I trust my rave on
                                                      planetary conatus indicated this :- ).

                                                      [GD] Lastly, I want to render how the interest in ultimacy may
                                                      be postmetaphysicalist (without recourse to Heidegger), as
                                                      a venture in scientifically attuned philosophy.

                                                      Though I think our approaches to this task of rendering an interest
                                                      in ultimacy compatible with a "venture in scientifically attuned
                                                      philosophy" might differ.

                                                      Cheers,
                                                      MattP.
                                                    • Gary E Davis
                                                      re: Matt, Re: alleged transcendentalism in Habermas s work, 15 Sept. Matt, Please read carefully: I am---and was---concerned about your *philosophical* claim
                                                      Message 26 of 26 , Sep 15, 2003
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                                                        re: Matt, "Re: alleged transcendentalism in Habermas's
                                                        work," 15 Sept.

                                                        Matt,

                                                        Please read carefully: I am---and was---concerned about
                                                        your *philosophical* claim about transcendentalism in
                                                        Habermas---which has become, evidently, a claim about
                                                        Platonism. What I�ve said about distinctions between modes
                                                        of discourse, Critical Theory, and H&A has been *relative*
                                                        to what�s pertinent to getting at the *philosophical*
                                                        character of Habermas� work. This is *NOT* to say that JH�s
                                                        career is not largely concerned with non-philosophical
                                                        issues. THE ISSUE is your philosophical claim. You can�t
                                                        infer from my interest in this what my general view of
                                                        Critical Theory or �critical edges� or whatever is. I AM
                                                        CONCERNED ABOUT THE PHILOSOPHICAL ISSUE. And my response
                                                        continues to be in that vein.

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

                                                        M>�. The following addresses in a different way some points
                                                        from your previous post to your last one. Given my efforts
                                                        to access texts I still consider it to be pertinent in
                                                        spite of your last reply. Trust you think so also.

                                                        G: What follows can be very helpful to readers of Habermas,
                                                        for the sake of the holism of his career. But it�s
                                                        IRRELVANT to my earlier responses� interest in addressing
                                                        the �transcendental� / Platonist issue. Inasmuch as you
                                                        consider the following to be in response to my earlier
                                                        comments, you are changing the subject. Otherwise, this is
                                                        very useful contribution to understanding Habermas, and I
                                                        want to continue my reply here in that vein.

                                                        M> Do you have a copy of BFN? Some closer textual analysis
                                                        might ground the transcendental!

                                                        G: Or might not ground the transcendental. Actually, it
                                                        will not ground the transcendental because it�s not *about*
                                                        JH�s sense of �transcendental�. It *uses* �transcendental�
                                                        in JH�s sense of this, which has been earlier clarified.
                                                        But I look forward to getting to what �transcendental�
                                                        means in BFN. The point here is that Habermas� use of
                                                        �transcendental� is not Platonist; there is no persistent
                                                        transcendentalism in Habermas� work that undermines his
                                                        postmetaphysical, postmodern sense of philosophy,
                                                        philosophy�s future, or the fundamental concepts of his
                                                        work.

                                                        M>The following required elaboration I thought from your
                                                        post before last:

                                                        G>> IMO, you're not clearly distinguishing these modes of
                                                        discourse, [philosophical, meta-C.T, social theorist]
                                                        despite your excellent appreciation of JH as Critical
                                                        Theorist.

                                                        M>"Does Philosophy Still Have a Purpose?

                                                        JH>> "Nonetheless, it opened up a new dimension for the
                                                        movement of philosophical thought, namely that of a
                                                        substantive critique of science."

                                                        JH>> "In this respect, the future of philosophical thought
                                                        is a matter of political practice."

                                                        M>Clear connection between philosophy & social critique.

                                                        G: The issue of �clearly distinguishing� is NOT about a
                                                        mere connection. I did NOT connote that distinguishing
                                                        pertains to disconnection. THE ISSUE is the relationship of
                                                        social theory to philosophical claims. You claim Platonism
                                                        in Habermas� thought; that�s a philosophical claim.
                                                        Appreciations of social theory aren�t pertinent. Your
                                                        reference to BFN, a project of social theory, to bolster
                                                        your philosophical charge are irrelevant, except inasmuch
                                                        as fundamental philosophical arguments are being made in
                                                        the venue of the social theory. But Habermas is NOT making
                                                        fundamental philosophical arguments. He�s briefly
                                                        reconstructing the genealogy of the linguistic turn (in the
                                                        pages that you employ for your �philosophical� charge).

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

                                                        M>Following TCA, and given Habermas's admission in 1984
                                                        that his project to reconstruct C.T had failed, I AGREE
                                                        that the modes of discourse started to tease themselves
                                                        apart. However, there remained an interpenetration of
                                                        philosophical & (meta) critical & social modes throughout
                                                        the 1980s.

                                                        G: Again, the issue is not one of connection, but a
                                                        *philosophical* issue of what is philosophically pertinent
                                                        to philosophical critique.

                                                        M>c.f "Morality, Society and Ethics" the concluding
                                                        interview in - Justification and Application- (p149, M.I.T,
                                                        1993).

                                                        [�]

                                                        M>I would recommend this interview to you and others
                                                        following this thread.

                                                        G: You�ve quoted that passage before. And I concur in your
                                                        recommendation of it to others. But you seem to think that
                                                        it�s news to me (though I�m sure to have forgotten things
                                                        I�ve read!). Matt, I read that interview when the book was
                                                        hot off the press. It�s not relevant to the philosophical
                                                        issue at hand.

                                                        M> In particular, the Habermas's ambiguous position on the
                                                        "practical" role of philosophy is worth noting. On page 162
                                                        Habermas explains his conception of philosophy. Philosophy,
                                                        according to Habermas:

                                                        JH>> "today plays two roles simultaneously: the role of the
                                                        interpreter who mediates between the lifeworld and expert
                                                        cultures and a more specialized role within the scientific
                                                        system in which it cooperates with various reconstructive
                                                        sciences."

                                                        M>The next sentence is revealing:

                                                        "In so doing, it generates statements that claim to be true
                                                        in the same way as other scientific statements."

                                                        M>So Gary, my mistake, and the refutation of your following
                                                        statement lay in J&A not PMT :- ).

                                                        G: You wish.

                                                        G>> Lastly, I want to distinguish between fallibility in
                                                        philosophical discourse and fallibility in reconstructive
                                                        science. You evidently understand the former in terms of
                                                        the latter, but Habermas does not.

                                                        G: No, Matt. See: Philosophy �today plays two roles�.�
                                                        That�s not about the character of philosophical research
                                                        (such as is MCCA). Rather than refuting anything, you�ve
                                                        just corroborated my charge of confusing differences, since
                                                        you use an interview comment by JH about the social role of
                                                        philosophy to respond to my comment about �fallibility in
                                                        philosophical discourse.�

                                                        M> What is interesting is that within the course of the
                                                        same interview Habermas later says in conclusion:

                                                        JH>> "I think that the task of philosophy is to clarify the
                                                        conditions under which moral and ethical questions alike
                                                        can be decided rationally by the participants themselves
                                                        {snip}�.

                                                        G: Yes: The �task of philosophy� continues the thread of
                                                        the social role. But think about the task of clarifying the
                                                        conditions, etc. One would look to his sense of moral
                                                        theory as a philosophical venture (e.g., _J&A_) and ask: Is
                                                        there transcendentalism / Platonism there? The answer is:
                                                        NO. Is there transcendentalism/Platonism in �Discourse
                                                        Ethics�? In _PMT_? In _PDM_? No, no, no.

                                                        JH>� But philosophy cannot arrogate to itself the task of
                                                        finding answers to substantive questions of justice or of
                                                        an authentic, unfailed life, for it properly belongs to the
                                                        participants. {snip} Hence, I advocate an ascetic construal
                                                        of moral theory and even of ethics � ****indeed, of
                                                        philosophy in general****� so as to make room for a
                                                        critical social theory." (pp175-76)[emphases added]

                                                        G: Sure: The differentiation of the role of philosophy and
                                                        critical social theory is important. But is the �ascetic�
                                                        character of moral/ethical theory Platonist? No.

                                                        M>How many philosophies and modes of philosophical
                                                        discourse are there for Habermas? More than one, obviously.
                                                        And I agree with Habermas on this. The modes of
                                                        philosophical discourse with which Habermas is working are
                                                        clearly diffuse. I consider my approach re-philosophical
                                                        and critical modes of discourse more accurately reflects
                                                        Habermas's position on this one Gary in contrast to your
                                                        stricter categorial scheme.

                                                        G: Wrong, Matt. I was trying to get clear on a
                                                        differentiation of relevances that you were evidently not
                                                        getting clear about. I was not proposing any strict scheme.
                                                        (In fact, I disagreed at one point with your indication of
                                                        strictness in Habermas� views.) Again, the issue in
                                                        philosophical critique of a philosopher�s fundamental
                                                        assumptions (Habermas�---I haven�t said anything about my
                                                        own here) is to use his fundamental philosophical
                                                        statements. Your �philosophical� stance of regarding the
                                                        two modes of discourse (moral theory, let�s say, and social
                                                        theory) as equiprimordial for philosophical claims is
                                                        invalid. Habermas� fundamental conceptual commitments to,
                                                        say, discourse ethics or formal pragmatics or the threefold
                                                        employments of practical reason (ethical, moral, and
                                                        pragmatic) are not explicable as a matter of social theory.


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

                                                        M>There IS a critical edge in BFN. It is like your
                                                        overlooking of the critical edge in TCA; trying to shunt
                                                        Habermas's engagement with Horkheimer and Adorno and Lukacs
                                                        into a forgotten corner.

                                                        G: I didn�t connote, let alone claim, that the critical
                                                        edge in TCA is�what?�supplementary. I was keeping focused
                                                        on the philosophical issue.

                                                        JH>> "When I was writing TCA my main concern was to develop
                                                        a theoretical apparatus with which the phenomena of
                                                        `reification' (Lukacs) could be addressed." J&A op cit,
                                                        p170.

                                                        G: What�s most important there is �a theoretical
                                                        apparatus,� not a critical edge. The theory of
                                                        communicative action is designed to provide a basis for
                                                        social theory, including critical theory. The question,
                                                        then, is: What is the �nature� of the theory of
                                                        communicative action? Is there transcendentalism in it? No.


                                                        M>Habermas's critique of H. & A.'s critique of instrumental
                                                        reason is pivotal IMO to the TCA.

                                                        G: But it is NOT �pivotal�. BUT, that�s not the issue. The
                                                        issue is: What does JH�s critique of H&A have to do with
                                                        the philosophical character of the theory of communicative
                                                        action? Nothing. The basis of TCA is a discourse apart from
                                                        his engagement with these theorists/philosophers, and he
                                                        than *applies* the clarified theory to traditional Critical
                                                        Theory, as a matter of critical philosophical practice.
                                                        You�re using JH�s exemplification of critical hermeneutical
                                                        practice to inform your sense of his philosophical
                                                        commitments, which is invalid.

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

                                                        M>Contrary to what I posted earlier today about your
                                                        research prospectus, I also find this theme exciting. I
                                                        trust my rave on planetary conatus indicated this :- ).

                                                        G: Thanks! I hope you see that my animus above is about the
                                                        specific issue of the philosophical character of JH�s
                                                        thinking. I�m much in solidarity with your commitment to
                                                        Critical Theory.

                                                        Best regards,

                                                        Gary
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