File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2000/habermas.0003, message 5

Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2000 09:26:42 -0800 (PST)
Subject: HAB: Re: formal pragmatics

--- matthew piscioneri <> wrote:
> Dear List,
> I am a very recent member (23/3)posting in from the University of
> Tasmania, 
> Australia. My doctoral research program is focusing upon Habermas's
> formal 
> pragmatics specifically in the TCA. It is my intention to discuss
> the 
> implications for Habermas's more global themes in the TCA, of
> arguing for a 
> wholly pragmatised theory of meaning; i.e one that dispenses with a
> formal 
> component. The basis of my argument will be worked out of
> Habermas's central 
> employment of Wittgenstein/Austin/Searle, that i.m.o, can leave
> space for 
> any  Fregean/Davidsonian semantic formalism. My question is,if this
> line 
> could be satisfactorily argued for;....

Greetings, Matthew Piscioneri!

You want to dispense with "a" (any?) formal component, but "leave
space for "any...formalism"? Why would you want to do that? 

What's wrong with a pragmatics being formal, in Habermas's sense of
this (as explicated in "What is Universal Pragmatics?" and his theory
of discourse ethics)? 

What's the difference between your sense of the "formal" in formal
pragmatics (your "Habermas")and "formalism" (your "Davidson")? Do you
really mean that you wish to give Habermas' pragmatics a *different*
formal component than his own, viz., a Fregean / Davidsonian one? 

What do you mean by a "wholly pragmatised theory of meaning" that is
adverse to Habermas' theory of meaning, which (one might argue) is
already wholly pragmatic (in a sense that yields to reconstructive
scientific discourse)?

You are not optimistic that Habermas' own sense of discursive basis
is tendable?  

>...what if any are the
> consequences for the 
> rest of Habermas's themes in the TCA?

The "rest"? You mean, like: the entire theory of social evolution? Or
are you just referring to the theory of communicative action as such,
inasmuch as it is articulated in _TCA_? But the Theory there is
itself in evolution (evolving as theory and part of a theory of
social evolution), since Habermas has enriched his sense of
communicative action, one might claim, in succeeding work, published
with the re-print of "What is Universal Pragmatics?" in _The
Pragmatics of Communication_ (MIT 1999). That is, the formulations of
commuicative action in TCA might (should?) be read as anticipating
what later work has elaborated, such that Habermas' pragmatics should
be read in light of work in the 20 years since TCA--just in respect
to the sense of communicative action within TCA, not to mention the
"rest of Habermas' themes in the TCA." Or: Do you believe that TCA
stands as Habermas' basis, by which later work should be evaluated?


Best regards,


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