File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2001/habermas.0102, message 45

Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 13:58:15 -0600
Subject: Re: HAB: Follow-up, re: Lifeworld & fallibilism

Consider the following paragraph from On the Pragmatics of
Communication, pp. 243-244:

"Like all unthematic knowledge, the background of the lifeworld is
implicitly and prereflectively present.  It is distinguished, first, by
its mode of _immediate certainty_ [original emphasis]. ... Such
background knowledge lacks an internal relation to the possibility of
becoming problematic for it comes into contact with criticizable
validity claims, thereby being transformed into fallible knowledge, only
at the moment in which it is expressed in language.  Absolute
certainties remain unshakable until they suddenly disintegrate; for, in
lacking fallibility, they do not constitute knowledge in the strict
sense at all."

This passage suggests the relation of fallibilism to validity
claims--which I suppose goes along with your notion of defeasibility. 
(I found this passage, by the way, in following your suggestion of
looking up 'fallibilism in the index.) 

Also note the idea of prelinguistic knowledge, which is obviously true
in my opinion, but which Habermas seems to deny sometimes.  I'm thinking
in particular of the section on Mead in TCA2.

I wonder, though, if 'knowledge' must be linguistic to be fallible. 
Animals certainly form fallible expectations/beliefs.  This is so
obvious, to me, that I wonder what I'm missing as far as H. is

I wrote:
> > [Habermas] claims that fallibilism toward practical contexts of
> > action is not defensible--I think drawing on a bounds of sense kind
> of argument--the lifeworld cannot be questioned without performative
> > contradiction.

Gary D wrote:
> Where does he claim this? I would imagine that, inasmuch as Habermas
> *focuses* on fallibilism (does he?), he would--as you say--not find a
> doctrine about beliefs appropriate to evaluations of action. But
> where does he deal with this? (I will follow up on Matthew's
> reference.)

Bill Hord

"Nonidentity is the secret telos of identification, 
that which is to be rescued in it; the mistake of 
traditional theory is that it holds identity as its 
goal." (Adorno, "Negative Dialectics")

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