File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2001/habermas.0102, message 70

Subject: Re: HAB: re: Thinking beyond the old Gadamer-Habermas debate
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 01:27:49 -0500 (Eastern Standard Time)

On Tue, 20 Feb 2001 09:50:21 -0800 (PST) Gary D <> wrote:

> [K] .in most of the secondary literature on the Gadamer-Habermas debate, 
there is *no* mention of Freud at all (despite the fact that a substantial 
portion of Habermas's article on the universality of hermeneutics is devoted to 
his reading of psychoanalysis!). 

> [G] This would be because Freud is not basically the issue, circa 1970, in 
the employment of psychoanalysis as an exemplar of critical hermeneutical 
practice, which I argued last year here. And, again, Habermas moved on-quite 
constructively!-for an educatively-based practice, not therapeutic-based 

Sure, I agree. But it is bizarre that psychoanalysis is construed so narrowly. 
Freud ardently maintained that psychoanalysis was, in fact, interminable. In 
effect, the 'best' insights of analysis are precisely those *not* strictly 
related only to the clinic. Civilization and Its Discontents is not 
therapeutic-based practice, it is social theory. Clinical work testifies only 
to the analytic experience - which, it seems to me - is rich in insight with 
regards to the function of speech, systems theory, and an entire range of 
social phenomena.

> [K] The think is, .

> [G] Slips can be nice sometimes.

What makes you think this was a slip?  ; )

> [K] a Lacanian intervention forecloses the direction Habermas moves
> in, even if he elaborates it well,

> [G] I'm not drawn to foreclosing directions that were elaborated well.

Hegel elaborated the phenomenology of geist well too...

> [K]  so in this regard his earlier work is more fruitful to work with

> [G] A strange sense of fruitfulness, it seems. 

Habermas's earlier work is more... Hegelian, and I think this is both easier 
to work with (for the moment) and, actually, more consistent with the aims of 
critical theory. Dieter Misgeld emphasizes this in his response to Mendelson. 
Habermas's later work is more Kantian, although a slightly expurgated Kant (for 
Kant, respect also engendered a kind of fear... Wellmer, Whitebook, and Bubner 
have emphasized the relation between terror and formalism... and, in a Lacanian 
vein, Salecl with regards to Rawls via fantasy.


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