File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2001/habermas.0101, message 43

Subject: Re: HAB: re: Brave New Conditionality
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2001 09:53:42 

Hello Gary,

>Matthew, you indicate that:
>M:... you find me guilty of an excessive instrumentality in my
>engagement with Habermas.
>G: But this isnt the case.
>(belches in
>the Spoons listserv?).

Guess so.

>M: For what it's worth NOT everyone undertakes doctorate research in
>search of that holy grail of tenure.
>G: Agreed. (I see the apostrope in 'can't' is missing, too). But most
>do search for the holy grail, and most published academic critique of
>major writers is done under pressure of, first, normatve time, then
>annual review cycles within ones department that require multiple
>annual publication for advancement, and this causes a lot of hasty
>misreading for the sake of publication

It's a fascinating process. My original thesis intention was to explore 
EXACTLY these sorts of industrial conditions (constraints ?) in philosophy.

>A common
>strategy in critique of Habermas, in order to have ones own Position
>(I suppose), is to underread, overread, and/or antiread in order to
>justify a position (remediating JHs blindness) that is really just a
>development of the blind side of ones own reading (or one's reading
>exhibits a project different from Habermas, inattention to which JH
>is held accountable).

I very much agree with your apt choice of the terminology of *strategy* as 
regards the dissertation process. Lately, however, I have considered JH to 
be a POOR choice of target. Firstly, he ain't dead yet, secondly his output 
is voluminous, and thirdly he has been the favourite target of young gun 
PMers for a decade or more.

Strategically speaking, and probably even this is getting out of date, 
potshotting Foucault or Derrida et al is perhaps a *better* approach. There 
is a sort of disciplinary dialectic which I would hypothesise is driven 
partly by industrial factors and partly by generational factors.It was an 
eye opener for me when my first supervisor talked freely of *fashions* in 
>I have silently lamented
>readings of Habermas in journals (and books) for a long time, not
>that I pose myself as some great exception (but in fact, I do believe
>Im a non-great exception; I go my own way *thanks* greatly to JHs
>work, posing (to myself) my difference from him as a complement to
>"his" kind of work which he exemplifies, ultimately as a participant,
>*too*--in solidarity with his present and future fellow travelers).

I find these comments intriguing on several grounds. JH is a great 
synthesiser, and has been *accused* of misreading the classics (I think 
Giddens levelled this muted charge in Bernstein's collection... but I could 
be wrong).

Also, I recall ( but cannot put my finger on it at the moment) when JH saw 
the usefulness of misreadings as a sort of mutation (a direct evolutionary 
analogy) which could lead to the generation of newer perspectives.

Still, I am in general agreement with what you say here. Again, though, I 
get surprised reading the _TCA_ on Adorno, and then reading JH's comments in 
_Autonomy & Solidarity_ for example. The point I am labouring towards is 
that sometimes JH is not beyond crafting aspects of his theory for 
rhetorical effect :-)

>G: What *is* the need for an ethical framework to cover the Age of
>Spiritual Machines (Kurzweil, 1999), if not to avoid actualizing the
>cyborgian dream thoughtlessly, such that critique of this dream is
>the basis for *making sense* of an ethical framework for when
>computers exceed human intelligence (Kurzweil)?

Sure. I agree.
>Anyway, my question isnt rhetorical; Im asking: What *is* the need
>for an ethical framework to cover AI development? What is the need
>that is importantly different from being clear about the cyborgian
>dream, at this point, given that (1) there are no AIs to make sense
>of, in an ethical framework--sort of like seeking an ethic for
>interacting with extraterrestrials; and (2) genetic engineering is
>likely to contribute to the cyborgian dream of remaking Eden
>(Silver, 1998) before the robot in the garden (Goldberg, 2000)
>becomes a child of the Churchlands (Paul and Patricia)? In other
>words: genomics has the upper hand, so worries about AI are less
>credible than worries about hypercloning.

Yep ( isn't agreement boring!).
>G: I have trouble making sense of your following comment, so Ive
>inserted an [A] and [B] and made some editorial guesses in
>M: One of my persistent [risks of] misunderstandings of Habermas is
>[my endeavor] to connect [A] his restoration of the normative basis
>of CT by positing communication as equiprimordial with labour to [B]
>the [basing of the] reproduction of [our] species ( _CES_ 1979,
>pp131-38 & esp. p 137) [in] a quasi-foundational commitment to [...]
>a process of inherent value [in this reproduction] (or something like
>G: Uhhhh.... So, you want to see (in your own thinking or / and to
>see in JHs work) such equiprimordiality as an inherent feature of
>our evolutionarity? A keynote here (in my paraphrase, at least) is
>homology of threefold interactivities of world relations across a
>scale of reflectivity that goes (discursively) from formal pragmatics
>(validity relations that are subjective, intersubjective, and
>objectivating) to an evolutionarity that is personal, cultural, and
>social-systemic ("going" *really* from ontogeny to history).

What I wanted to say is that I thought Habermas based the restoration of 
CT's normative basis on the connection between language and the reproduction 
of the human species. If I am misreading JH I would appreciate being put 
right on this rather fundamental point :-)

If I am NOT misreading JH, then I am wondering whether JH locks himself into 
a foundationalist position here i.e the reproduction of the human species is 
a good thing etc
Thanks again
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