Thursday, January 22, 2009

The curious critical/dogmatic divide from Kant to Ken

[The real target of this little satire is not so much Kant as the critical/dogmatic divide. We are told that one approach to philosophy is critical while another is pre-critical dogmatism. The curious thing is that nearly anything can be treated as the ultimate condition or the fundamental condition required for a philosophy to count as critical. Thus you get the Kantians talking about the constitutive role that mind plays, such that any philosophy that does not take this role into account is dogmatic. The Gadamerians and Foucaultians respond by making history the constitutive condition, denouncing the Kantians as dogmatically ignoring our fundamental historicity. The Kantian retorts that history wouldn’t be possible without these constitutive structures of mind. The Marxist Critical Theorist intervenes by showing how the Kantian categories are actually generated from economics. Derrida leaps in showing how all these folks are wrong because the role that Arche-Writing plays has not been taken into account. Every one of these positions is able to one-up and explain the other position in terms of what it has located as the transcendental, and every position being denounced as dogmatic is able, in its own turn, to respond by showing how the allegedly critique is in fact dogmatic by the lights of its own critical structure. For example, the Husserlian denounces the Marxist for failing to carry out the reduction and engage in a phenomenological analysis of intentionality, while the Marxist turns around and denounces the Husserlian for failing to carry out a historical and economic investigation into the origins of his very conception of the world (i.e., the Marxist denounces the Husserlian for bourgeois individualism). First Draw a Distinction!
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

[Habermas's Postmetaphysical thinking (Polity Press, 1998)
This book was originally published in German in 1988 and subsequently published, with the ommission of a few essays, in English 4 years later.
Postmetaphysical thinking appears to coincide with the movement away from metaphysical philosophies of reflection of which Hegel is understood to be the final innovator. Hence both Kierkegaard and Marx are seen as paths away from this type of thought and stepping stones on the way to functional sociologies and psychologies that set in motion the procedures of communication theory. Habermas draws heavily on Mead to develop a theory of social interaction that is not dependent upon idealist notions of the self positing of the ego which, upto Fichte, depended upon the I as the original source of consciousness. In developing Mead's idea of the social ego Habermas puts forward that consciousness is not a originary act of the ego, but an external force that encroaches inwardly and forms the ego within a set of responses to stimuli from the other, wherein the I through being refered to by another can gain knowledge of himself in seeing how a second actor organises his interlocutionary demands. In developing communication theory, Habermas is, in our terms, developing a theory of society that is not reducible to a simple totality but has social complexity as its ground i.e. a number of plural language games, different orders of power, different structures of politics in play at anyone time. He is thus concerned with developing a theory of individuation within a discourse of social differentiation.
Note by EE ¦¦ Index ¦¦ Reference ¦¦ Wiki ¦¦ Translations ¦¦ Habermas ¦¦ Recent Additions ¦¦]

[As Wilber writes, modernity and postmodernity have both attacked the practice of metaphysics (from Greek; meta, after and physika, physical). (Metaphysics was the name that the editors of Aristotle's work attached to Aristotle's writings that followed after his chapters on physics. Aristotle's metaphysics dealt with what he called "first philosophy", that is, the study of being, the study of God, and the study of first principles.) According to Immanuel Kant, for example, metaphysics consists in the unwarranted speculation in matters that lie outside the scope of experience (e.g. "Is the soul immortal or not?") and therefore, metaphysics cannot be science; it is the work of untamed Reason. However, in Wilber's eyes it is possible to talk about and work with spiritual realities even though we are not justified in doing metaphysics: integral post-metaphysics is the answer. Wilber's post-metaphysics is based on three principles: Minimalist Metaphysics? Comments on Ken Wilber's Post-Metaphysical Relativism
Magnus Riisager]

Then, Ken Wilber borrowing a term from Habermas calls it integral post-metaphysics. [TNM]

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