File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2000/habermas.0011, message 62

Subject: Re: HAB: Third rock from the Sun
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2000 11:14:30 

Dear Bill,

Well you picked the awkward gap...I had to decide between *eternal* and 
*infinite* and chose *eternal* for its more immediate temporal quality as 
against the spatial quality of *infinite*.

>matthew piscioneri wrote:
> > The eternal dialectic of a ... species' conversation ...

The sense of meaning I way trying to convey actually related to earlier 
posts - and to my mind underdeveloped threads - posed I think by Ken re: the 
dialectical model of conversation Habermas's communication theory suggests.

> > What's an institution?
>To respond, briefly, and in a telegraphic style:
>I propose that an "eternal dialectic" is, by definition, a
>transcendental dialectic; the "dialectic of a specie's conversation", on
>the other hand, can only be quasi transcendental, which is to say only
>virtually transcendental, or 'as if' transcendental.  This quasi
>transcendental quality of conversations and other human institutions
>(since this is the species in question, and the only species in
>question) derives from the nature of humans and their institutions.
>An institution is a type of human construction that enables us to
>transcend the here and now.  This transcendence is, however, always only
>a quasi transcendence.  We always remain anchored in the present--in the
>Lifeworld (which we might reconstruct as the history of the effects of
>our communicative capacities).  We can never live fully in another place
>or time--not even in the future.  To ignore this constraint on our
>capacity to transcend our limits is to succumb to false consciousness.

Bill, do you directly level this charge of *false consciousness* at either 
Habermas or Gadamer? I don't know Gadamer all that well so I can't tell 
which side you are leaning towards in your systematic reading. Given the 
pivotal place of a counter factuality in Habermas's analysis I am guessing 
you are questioning Habermas's quasi-transcendental framework.

Matthew Piscioneri
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