File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2000/habermas.0011, message 65

Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2000 10:14:22 -0600
Subject: Re: HAB: Third rock from the Sun


No, I'm charging neither with false consciousness.  In their
conversation (rather than debate, really), however, each charged the
other with false consciousness.  Habermas charged Gadamer with not
taking hermeneutics far enough to become a critical theory of society,
and thus being bound by the illusion of traditionalism; Gadamer charged
Habermas with the opposite illusion, of wanting to destroy all
traditions (and institutions?), of anarchism.  The idea of false
consciousness was at the heart of their relationship.  It was at this
time that Habermas first explicitly drew out the psychoanalytic analogy
for understanding systematically distorted communication at the social
level.  In the end, I think, each learned from the other.

But the problem of false consciousness was not solved.  Can we recognize
it at the social level?  It seems to me it is even getting harder to
distinguish systematic *distortions* at the individual level.  Moreover,
is a theoretical analysis possible, especially one that links clearly
with practice?

My suggestion was intended more in the spirit of critical practice, of a
critical pragmatism, that recognizes the necessity of institutions (and
traditions) for its quasi transcendental optimism, but that also insists
on the inevitable need for critique and debate.


matthew piscioneri wrote:

> 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.

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