File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2001/habermas.0101, message 22


Subject: Re: HAB: Re: Linking Theory & Practice
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2001 22:37:58 


Dear Gary,

You replied:

>The "unconditionality" you allude to is
>too vague to address. Themes about our form of life and
>quasi-transcendentality of formal pragmatic suppositions are not
>motivated by fondness (as if being self-serving or frivolous or
>secretly metaphysicalist).

I AM distorting JH's sense of conditionality, but I hope in an interesting 
way. It seems to me that what motivates communicative action in the first 
place is the conditionality of the world; otherwise why do we need to seek 
to reach an understanding about anything? Put another way, if our world 
knowledge was unconditionally guarenteed, we would conduct our social life 
almost as if automatons. So, there is a sense in which Habermas's 
communicative rationality with its moments of unconditionality is 
underwritten by the conditionality of the world in spite of - I would argue 
- all the Lifeworld's *attempts* (excuse this reification please) to reduce 
such complexity.
______________________________________________________________________
>To advocate the importance of educational processes for a good
>society is not even prima facie to pretend that any given educational
>agenda is satisfactory without critically focusing on that as well.
>But if advocacy of education processes can transpose focus from
>pathologization of the underprivileged to the politics of curriculum,
>then I can live with the appearance of not having heard of ideology
>critique.

A funny thing happened on the way to the office...I was musing over this 
issue in light of a discussion on education presented on Australia's 
national broadcaster last night. There was one very strong advocate of 
untaught or self-directed learning for children, who claimed that a 
relatively unstructured education produced happier (more Enlightened ?) 
adults. I tend to still regard mainstream education along Althusserian lines 
to do with the reproduction of domination. Yet
I am saying this from an extremely PRIVILEGED standpoint. I have had access 
to plenty of education.

I wonder though if Ken's point about unlearning grammar can be transposed 
onto this discussion of the emancipatory potential of education? Do we need 
to unlearn aspects of our learning to realise the emancipatory potential of 
this learning? I think this idea can be applied to the *negative utopia* (to 
my sensibilities) I think Habermas gets close to describing in _BFN_. We may 
not need to build institutions which guarentee us freedoms as much as 
somehow *maintain*/*foster* (?) unlearning processes. Negative 
learning/negative dialectics? Hmmmm.
______________________________________________________________________
>
>MP: .... a quasi religious notion of *free* volition seems to be
>important.
>
>GD: Ghost in the machine?

I don't know, Gary :-) I am just a little surprised at my own reaction & 
discomfort at a vision of a bio-tech achieved Enlightenment. As they say you 
can take the boy out of catholicism, but you can't take the catholicism out 
of the boy. My early brainwashing may have proved TOO effective!

Cheers

MattP

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