File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2000/habermas.0002, message 5

Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2000 09:27:58 -0800 (PST)
Subject: RE: HAB: Habermas, realism, and Lafont

--- FFiorenza <> wrote:
> The issue of Putnam's 'internal realism' seems to me
> to be less obvious for
> various reasons. Putnam's latest turn seems to be
> more realistic than his
> previous use of realism. See his appreciation of
> McDowell in recently
> published Dewey lectures.  However, Putnam does not
> use "internal realism"
> in dealing with moral issues.  

My interest in this is not that a focus on realism is
useful for moral issues directly, in the *practice* of
understanding moral issues as such. Rather, moral
issues of practice involve psychological assumptions
that are relevant to *theorization* of practice, and
these assumptions about the world are unavoidable and
may be realist, anti-realist or something inbetween
(pragmatic-skeptical, pragmatic-nominal, whatever).
Moral issues do not exist in an autonomous realm
split-off from the conditions for their cogency, which
are arguably real (psychological <- ontogenetic <- and

There [Putnam] is much
> less universalistic to
> put it midly than Habermas and therefore advancing
> claims are much less
> cognitive,....

Given Habermas's distinction between universalism of
reference (which he doesn't make--universalism of
range, to to speak) and universalism of procedural
assumptions (which he does argue--universalism of
domain), if Putnam is less domain-universalistic, so
much the worse for Putnam and Lafont's employment of
him to resolve issues of world-assumptions in
Habermas' conceptualizations. 

So, I'm going to withdraw from further speculation
about all this, pending a reading of Lafont's
arguments and Putnam's recent book, hopefully in the
near future.

Thanks for your comments!

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