File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2000/habermas.0011, message 38


Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2000 21:45:22 -0800 (PST)
Subject: HAB: re: Individuation & Sociality 


Matthew,

Good comments. 

Interesting to hear about Australian cultural life---sounds like
heartland USAmerica.

> Is your reading of Habermas [you quoted] uncontroversial?

Re: finding individuality integral to his sociocentric thinking? I
don't have a good response. I just offered a few comments earlier;
there's so much that could be said. The email list medium doesn't
appear highly practical for in-depth discussion (and those who care
enough to want in-depth or at-length don't have time to sustain it,
including me). Individuality vis-a-vis Habermas isn't an especially
central issue among Habermas readers, though it has interested me a
long time. 

Perhaps the more that interdisciplinary questioning between social
and psychological modes of thinking is appealing, individuality
vis-a-vis sociality is more interesting in Habermas' work. Whatever
the the strength of a *"social"* movement, only individuals can be
motivated to act. Whatever the generality of an interest, it is
groups of individuals who articulate and evaluate among themselves
the prospective or advocative generality of their shared interest(s)
or the generalizability of the appeal of a compelling voice. 

> Reading Habermas on the status of an intentionalist semantics is
> one more 
> example (as far as I am concerned) of now you see it, now you
> don't! Are you 
> suggesting that for Habermas Grice is equiprimordial with
> Wittgenstein?

Explicate this a little, please. JH prefers speech-actual analysis
rather than language game analysis because, in part, the validity
basis of speech is essential to our form of life, and a language game
analysis cannot appreciate the deep-structural manifoldness of this
(in my view). Language game analysis implies or presupposes
speech-actual efficacy as the former's ontogenic condition of 
possibility, which would make the communicative speech act primordial
over the ontolinguistically derivative language game. 

I'm just playing around, maybe. 

> ... when
> do 
> Habermas's work-in-progress *excuses* end? 

All the best work--be it science, arts, philosophy....remains work in
progress, don't you agree? JH has always seemed to me to be
idealizing a communication community in which he is ideally a
participant among participants, not an Idealistic philosopher being a
foundation. If we outgrow the dream of First Philosophy, it seems we
no longer want to find Hegels, but rather, facilitators of more very
good research, which one's own life can at best hope to exemplify
greatly, but ultimately no longer ground. 

In any event, I wonder these days how to formulate what it is that a
philosopher is addressing if one takes the stance of being a
participant *with* Juergen--being a student of that-which-Juergen
Habermas works toward, more than being a student of JH's work
strictly speaking. Assuming that JH is the best spokeman for that
which he is altogether doing, what is that---such that one can say:
*This* is what authentic influence by his work is about, which he
himself is about--not as "Habermasian" himself but as the kind of
philosopher that one is that he greatly exemplifies. Is he doing
Social-Evolutionary Pragmatism? Evolutionary realism (Peirce's
rubric)? Pragmatic realism? Whatever--there IS something in which, by
which JH's work remains a work-in-progress toward, that remains for
his participants to advance.  


> >G: ....How do you distinguish hermeneutical
> projection
> >from hermeneutical disclosure?
> 
> Isn't the process of reaching understanding ALL a fusing of
> horizons? 

To a degree. But what about appreciating difference?: the singularity
of the other, if not the *originality* of possibility in disclosure.
So: a kind of identity-in-difference, an appreciation of diversity,
hybridity, etc., is an authentic potential in hermeneutics, too? 

Yet, this is a different matter from my distinction between
projection and disclosure. You'd surely admit the difference between
finding technicism in JH's work and reading JH technicistically (or
finding cyberneticism between the lines *of* the work vs. thinking
cybernetically "in" the reading).  So, how is the difference
sustained in reading? This is a basic hermeneutical issue that
deconstruction has addressed in the self-betraying reading that
implicates itself in terms of the exposed "other". I've seen this in
Marxist readings,  Hegelian readings, Kantian readings, etc., "of"
Habermas. 

>...yet I am 
> happy to provide the pre-CES passages where I think Habermas is
> infected 
> with the mechanical cybernetic systems analysis around at that
> time, mainly 
> from _Legit. Crisis_ and _Towards a Rational Society_.

OK, be happy. 

> It appears to me that by the time of the
> _MCCA_ JH 
> is working mainly within the territory of memetics, a sort of
> Popperian 3rd 
> worldly discourse analysis, and the prescriptive futuristic design
> of 
> either. That is at the coal face of a hermeneutics with
> pratcical/political 
> intent by which I mean an ideologised program of democratic
> apologism.

Sounds like your own perspective developing itself in terms of JH's
work. Using the other as a foil for one's own articulations is not a
bad thing; but it's different from making redeemable claims about
another's work. How is the difference to be navigated? This seems to
be an endless dilemma for developing one's own work. 

> What is the nature of the
> relationship 
> between individual interests and generalisable interests? What
> makes some 
> individual interests *generalisable*? Thus the emphasis on
> environmental 
> selection.

Good issue, but I don't accept the "Thus". The "environment" of human
interest is culturally intentional, made of appeals, preferences,
choices, valuations, etc., in which *apparently* general interests
become gradually established as *actually* general, relatively
speaking, through reasonable events and sets of such events--not as
happenings in an environment but as constructions. So a notion of
environmental selection (which tends to be functionalistic) seems to
conceal the humanity of developing interests (which tends toward an
open teleology that evolves, not just readapts, not like natural
selection). 

In solidarity (I hope)


Gary






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