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Marx and Habermas - Research Paper Example

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A belief or theory may produce successful predictions, as in the case of Newtonian mechanics,and yet not be true;that is,rationally justifiable in the long run.Indeed,Thomas Kuhn's study of scientific revolutions,which Habermas cites,indicates that the most basic propositions of a scientific theory are worked out in advance of evidential confirmation…
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Marx and Habermas
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Download file to see previous pages A belief or theory may produce successful predictions, as in the case of Newtonian mechanics, and yet not be true; that is, rationally justifiable in the long run. Indeed, Thomas Kuhn's study of scientific revolutions, which Habermas cites, indicates that the most basic propositions of a scientific theory are worked out in advance of evidential confirmationThis happens in conversations between scientists about what counts as a pressing problem, how such a problem ought to be conceptualized, and so forth. Such propositions are irreducible to empirical predictions. For it is only when they are taken in combination with one another that they yield testable hypotheses. Consequently, their truth would have to be captured in terms of an ideal consensus. Thus, true propositions are those which anyone would agree to in the long run, given sufficient time for rational reflection. (Deborah 2004) The fact that scientific truth presupposes the existence of a communicative community leads Habermas to consider the categorical framework in which intersubjective meaning, value and validity are constituted. It is obvious how predictive science is related to the context of instrumental action. (Allen, 2009) It is also obvious that the anthropological usefulness and transcendental validity of science resides in its successful satisfaction of a technical interest. However, it is unclear what, if any, interest is satisfied by communication. Equally unclear is the relationship between communication and those sciences of man associated with history, literature, cultural anthropology, etc. Nevertheless, Habermas will argue that the kind of textual interpretation preferred by these sciences is essentially related to communication. The latter, in turn, will be shown to satisfy a practical interest in procuring intersubjective agreement, regarding shared norms and values. This is a necessary condition, not only for the creation and maintenance of personal and social identity, but also for the achievement of individual freedom. Peirce provided the necessary link connecting the logic of causal explanation to Marx's notion of labor as an activity underlying self-realization and world constitution. (Moore and Robin, 1964) Dilthey provides a similar link connecting communication and symbolic understanding to Hegel's master-slave dialectic. This dialectic shows how one's identity is defined and confirmed through recognition by other. For Dilthey, this dialectic is as essential to the methodological grounding of history, philology, and literary criticism-sciences concerned with understanding the spiritual life of humankind—as causal explanation is to the methodological grounding of the natural sciences. The method of understanding grounding the human sciences is none other than the circular interpretation of textual wholes in terms of their parts, and the interpretation of these parts in terms of more inclusive wholes. This circular dialectic also encompasses the interpreter. The interpreter is responsible for much of the meaning contained in the text. At the same time, the text is responsible for opening up new meaning for the interpreter. Stated somewhat paradoxically, text and interpreter mutually constitute one another as meaningful identities. This activity of symbolic reproduction, Habermas will argue, is capable of advancing moral knowledge. Yet, it can do so only to the extent that the dialectic between text and interpreter assumes the form of a simulated dialogue. (Habermas, 1872) According to Dilthey, the understanding of the past, or the interpretation of an ancient text, is an elaboration of the sort of retrospective self interpretation that an individual continually engages in, while reconstituting the continuity of his or her life history--the very substance of one's unique identity. (Hodges. 1944) To begin with, the generation and maintenance of a stable, personal identity involves assigning one's ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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