File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2000/habermas.0011, message 16

Subject: Re: HAB: Habermas and The Open society
Date: Wed, 08 Nov 2000 10:08:44 GMT

Dear List,

The current discussion of Habermas's Popperian inheritance is - I believe - 
vital to appreciating the background to Habermas's own version of critical 
rationalism. What makes the issue even more interesting is the ambivalence 
of Habermas's public reaction to many of Popper's doctrines.
        Popper's three world schema is overtly present in the TCA. Also, 
Habermas's engagement with the Adorno/Popper debate over positivism and the 
social sciences in the early 1960s, is well known. There is NO doubt that 
Habermas's relationship to Popper IS complex, especially given the fact that 
Marx/ism was one of the main targets of Popper's Open Society.
    Recently, reading a slim voume titled 'A Confrontation: Reform or 
Revolution', which was a contrived debate between Popper and Marcuse, it was 
possible to see Habermas as a synthesising agent between these strains of 
thought: liberal democracy/critical theory/methodological 
individualism/communal solidarity.
     I think Habermas is strongly Popperian in both methodology, and in the 
pragmatic espousal of his version of social/liberal democratic politics, in 
a way which links him also to Rorty, for example.
    It is not the falsificationist method which unites Habermas and Popper, 
but the analogue of Popper's evolutionary epistemology which is discernible 
in Habermas's thesis on social evolutiuon as a developmental learning 
process wherein lays their methodoligical common ground. This picks up the 
theme of Habermas and memetic theory discussed earlier on this list. I would 
want to suggest that this also goes some part of the way towards explaining 
the strength of Habermas's reaction to Derrida and Foucault in the PDM - an 
evolutionary trial by fire or testing of competing theses.

Well, there you have it ( a revised version of my thesis in a nutshell I 
suppose :-)) Actually saddened by Gore's apparent failure to win Office in 
the U.S. The U.S could have had a decent and clever President all at the 
same time. C'est la vie.

Matthew Piscioneri
School of Philosophy
University of Tasmania

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