File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2000/habermas.0003, message 11

Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 00:45:39 +1000
Subject: Re: HAB: Hab:political rationality and reflexive judgment

Dear Roberto, the reference Ulrich Gaehler gave you is available in English
(unless he has given you subsequent suggestions that I am not aware of). See
Habermas's book "Communication and the Evolution of Society" 1979. There you
will find the essay "Moral Development and Ego Identity".

robade wrote:
> Hello,
> Thank you both Ulrich Gaehler and Demetrios Douramanis for your
> information regarding Habermas and individuality. Although I would like
> to tell Ulrich that, unfortunatly, I don't read german.
> What follows will probaly be too general for most of you, since I haven't
> read much of Habermas, I have just started. Nevertheless, I have a few
> doubts that I would like to clarify with you, if you have the patience to
> help me orient in this new continent of Hab's philosophy. For this I will
> compare some aspects of Hab's and Arendt's respective political
> philosophies.
> 1) Hab's realism
> Compared to Arendt's conception of politics Habermas seems to me more
> realistic, when he reminds us that politics is not an autonomous sphere
> of rationality and action, separed from the other systems (economy,
> bureaucracy; money and power). Indeed, politics is also a teckn, guided
> by a strategic-instrumental rationality. To neglect this aspect can only
> provoke the eclipse of politics or an idealistic conception of it. For
> Arendt, teckn is violence, and politics isn't about violence. For Hab,
> there is a dialectic between teckn and praxis, and this dialectic is
> constitutive of politics.
> 2) Consensus
> Consensus, for Arendt, is the result of  "opinion". Indeed, if the
> political institutions have can be legitimal, this rests on opinion,
> meaning, an "agreement of many". This is problematic, because opinion can
> be false. For Hab, opinion must be related to truth, otherwise, the
> legitimity of political power cannot be defended. For this, the free
> consensual expression of public opinion has to be related to a demand of
> truth and soundness. The norm of truth is the possibilty of universality,
> this universality being possible only by public discussion and rational
> argumentation. But truth here doens't mean theoretical and objective
> truth, it is an intersubjective and pratical truth.
> 3) Consensus again
> So, for Arendt, consensus is reached by opinion. And how is this opinion
> formed? Thanks to commun sense (possible trough tradition, commun symbols
> that make a culture). Commun sense is what allows us to use our judgment
> and the agreement with others'judgments. Well, this agreement is
> consensus. And consensus is not only what legitimates the political
> power, but also what allows praxis, political action.
> 4) Separation opinion/truth and aesthetics
> In fact, this separation leads Arendt to look for an asthetic model for
> her political thinking. She sees in Kant (third critique) a model for her
> political phil. She is probably forgetting that if Kant had recognized
> the political and moral implications of his aesthetics, then his moral
> and pratical questions would not be able to reach truth, and Kant is very
> concerned with truth. But, indeed, Arendt's use of Kant's reflexive
> judgment and enlarged thought (which imply a use of the imagination) does
> make some sens.  Reflexive judgment is a political power, it allows us to
> orient ourselves.
> 5) Finally, I still haven't talked much about Habermas, and this letter
> is already too long. For those who are familiar with Habermas critiques
> of Arendt, maybe they could help me answer to this question: what would
> be in Habermas political rationality, the room left for the use of
> reflexive judgment (reflexive jugment is a method: for kant it implies a
> use of the imagination, making possible the search for a universal
> without concept), faculty that belongs more to a expressive sphere than
> to a search of political truth through rational argumentation? How
> constitutive of political public spaces the use of rflexive judgment
> would be for Habermas? Thank you for giving biblio advise.
> With sympathy,
> Roberto
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