File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2001/habermas.0102, message 7

Subject: HAB: Re: The French Canadian Urban Middle Class context
Date: Sun, 04 Feb 2001 18:18:30 -0800

>From: Martin Blanchard <>

>If "Thom .", alias "therebeing", alias "E", is right, the only philosophers
>I can read speak french, are canadian, live in big cities, and spring from 
>sub-middle class context of thinking.

Very funny--your whole posting, really.

But suppose that my concerns were voiced by a serious student in a seminar 
you're teaching; suppose that I'm seriously having a problem of the boundary 
between cultural relativism in discursive practice and aspirations of 
universalizability in metatheory, such that I feel like walking away from 
what looks like Interventions of the Concept (as a discourse ethic with 
transcendental pretensions, albeit "quasi-transcendental" portrayals of 
this)? You can be dismissive and still get paid for enduring the student, so 
who's to care? In other words, how *should* my kind of problem he "managed" 
in discourse, if it's not to be taken seriously?

>And if I dig very deep, maybe I'll find a determining praxis in my context
>where the only position I can understand is, since I'm neighbor to the
>all-pragmatic America, a theorizing that is "bottom-up" (whatever this
>means, the important thing is that it's contextually-determining!)

Now suppose you're trying to teach teachers in a teacher-training program to 
think critically and to teach critical thinking in their locality. Should 
you not "dig very deep" for a theorizing that is immanently relevant? Does 
Habermas' communicative pragmatics offer any insight into how to understand 
this appropriativity (specifically: Does "Remarks on Discourse Ethics," 
_Justification & Application_ provide a good background--enough 
background--and / or: What's a better resource in Habermas' work for 
discerning the boundaries of cultural relativity?)

>Well, the good news is that I will be able to read all those books in a 
>short time. But then, maybe "therebeing" will allow me, in a benevolent
>rortyan gesture, the contemplation, in my "private" solitude, of 
>german thought. So I don't need to abandon my German lessons after all.

Well, generosity *is* a lovely thing.

Speaking of Rorty, his essay "Universality and Truth," _Rorty and His 
Critics_, Blackwell 2000, would be THE venue for entertaining the notion of 
"gesture" (since the entire essay is largely a response to Habermas' sense 
of Rorty's "pragmatic turn".

>Ps. Is this not symptomatic of a fuzzy, vague, logic concerning thought's
>embeddedness in lifeworld? Habermas was never crystalline on this point.

Oh, you're *sympathetic* to my problem?

(By the way, email addresses always have to be *something*; I created the 
hotmail account when I wanted to received postings from the Spoons Heidegger 
list, but I got bored--kept the address, though.)

Thom "Here" Whitby
Sea Ranch, California

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