Re[2]: >Habermas is Habermas, 'nough said.

Joe Cronin, et. al.,

I'd like to throw in one more theme:
> "I think, in fact, that reason is self-created, which is why
> I have tried to analyse forms of rationality: different
> foundations, different creations, different modifications in
> which rationalities engender one another, oppose and pursue
> one another." (Politics, Philosophy, Culture 28-29)
> I think that F's conception of ratioanlities and power
> relations poses a severe challenge to the critical
> theorists, and that the heart of teh challenge concenrs the
> two principles mentioned: the (self)cretivity of
> ratioanlities, and the principle of immanence. For the
> "critters," reason has an exteriority - it lies apart from
> power relations, just as the Descartes found it necessary
> for the subject to stand apart from its object.

Okay, I understand that Foucault thinks that rationality, that is
what counts as reasonable and as something possible to say in a meaningful
way, depends on the discourse in which it occurs. Any discourse defines by
its discursive rules what can be said and what is reasonable to say- it
does so by "defining" concepts and "pointing" to certain objects. Thus
reason is a very subjective (at least to a discourse and perhaps a people
engaged in a specific discourse) thing. Scientists will not accept as
reasonable any claims that try to explain away evolution and scientific
data by reference to God's hands. Similarly, some religious sects won't
accept as reasonable claims made by scientists that the Earth is several
billion years old and that dinosaurs died out long before humankind came
along. (This is a particularly relevant issue in Kentucky because some
religious group is proposing building a museum which takes the latter point
of view in its displays.)
But this does not mean that there is no external rationality per
se. I am not convinced that F denies that there is. Those of you who are
familiar with Gutting's _Foucault's Archeology of Scientific Reasoning_
knows he defends a position that F beleived progress could be made in
discovering the truth. If this is a reasnable and valid understanding of F
(particularly against others such as Lyotard) then it would follow that F
accepted that there was some external rationality.
Unfortunately for Gutting's position, F does not defend such a view
and states at other times things like there is no external rationality.

Even so, I am not willing to give F the prize here without some
defense of the position of the Frankfurt School/Critical Theorists. I
suppose that as an essentialist, I beleive in some external measure of
rationality and reason. But since we are human beings who are fallible and
limited, our access (am I sounding too Platonic) to such reason is
jeopardized and does not give us full use of that reason. But indeed we do
use it. This is how multiple rationalities occur- through various cultures
and societies which have a different access route to rationality itself
(now that does sound Platonic, sorry).
I am still not convinced by F or Lyotard that all life and
rationality is incommensuarable, and that we are each engaged in different
games where rules do not cross borders. How then, does one defend against

University of Kentucky


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