Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason by Jürgen Habermas, Thomas McCarthy

By Jürgen Habermas, Thomas McCarthy

"One of the broadest, so much entire, difficult and very theoretical works in social thought. Social conception and philosophy might by no means be an identical again." (Philosophy and Social feedback)

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Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason (The Theory of Communicative Action, Vol. 2)

"One of the broadest, so much finished, difficult and very theoretical works in social conception. Social thought and philosophy may well by no means be an identical back. " (Philosophy and Social feedback)

Additional info for Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason (The Theory of Communicative Action, Vol. 2)

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To this point we have assumed that ego and alter, when interacting with one another, take up exactly two communicative roles, namely, those of speaker and hearer. Correspondingly, there are two coordinated perspectives of participation; the intermeshing of the interchangeable perspectives of speaker and hearer describes a cognitive structure that underlies their understanding of action situations. We have further assumed that the constitution of a world of objects has at least begun; the child must have at least a nascent ability to adopt an objectivating attitude toward perceptible and manipulable objects if it is to act intentionally and to understand imperative requests and statements of intention.

Oddly, Mead uses the generalized other, the phylogenesis of which is to be explained, only in the role of explanans. " Mead is moving in a circle: in order to explain the phylo9 10 The Authority of the Sacred 45 genetic transition from symbolically mediated to normatively guided interactions, he resorts to something that figured in ontogenesis, even though the ontogenesis of this "generalized other" cannot itself be explained without recourse to phylogenesis. My criticism measures Mead against the task he set himself: to distinguish three stages of interaction, in order to elucidate their structure from within, that is, from the perspective of a participant, and to place them in a hierarchy, such that the emergence of any higher stage can be understood as a learning process that can be recapitulated from the inside.

This internal relation between imperatives and statements of intention shows that the claim connected with imperatives is not a validity claim, a claim that could be criticized and defended with reason; it is a power claim. Neither imperatives nor announcements appear with claims that aim at rationally motivated consensus and point to criticism or grounding. They do not have a binding effect but need, if they are to have any effect, to be externally connected with the hearer's empirical motives.

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