Monday, December 22, 2014

drawing thought beyond transcendentalism



This long posting has seven sections.
1 | a short note on sociocentrism and psychocentrism: conceptual foci
2 | being drawn to Piet Strydom’s “The latent cognitive sociology in Habermas...
3 | December 20: beginning an essay letter to Piet Strydom
4 | Habermas and cognitive sociology
5 | An issue of ontological radicalization
6 | Note of Habermas’ sense of the community of inquiry (with mine)
7 | re: Strydom’s comments about my Dec. 19 portion of discussion here


Sunday, June 1, 2014

telic appeal in the flow of being



I’m presently in the latter stages of transposing the “Habermas and Truth” e-mails into Webpages [June 4: Finished! and a new sense of the Website initiated, to be updated as apt], yet also using the occasion to comment on that earlier work, which makes those pages very involved. I don’t imagine that anyone has read much of them, though the project links almost directly from the Facebook/Habermas Page. Students of Habermas’s work may find the Facebook Page, find my pages, and read a few paragraphs before moving on. Fine. The work is there; one can’t claim that my innerworldly reveries don’t result from sober philosophical explorations. I welcome better sense from others about it all. But I don’t obsess about others’ disinterest. The work is there. I move on.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

facing desire for Truth



Let me start off frivolously, fun; then get into worthwhile things.

Since I hadn’t posted to the Facebook/Habermas Page for a couple of weeks, I’ve been getting a daily e-mail from the software indicating in the subject line that “Habermas fans want to hear from you.”

We know what this is: educing the reader to put a face on algorithmic interaction. Face the text. We so want to personify things. [Insert monograph: from toys to Literature…Phenomenology lives. Pygmalion finds True Love. A movie moves one. The trees know.]

There’s no programmed assessment of what “fans” want (but you, too, can be a fan of philosophical venturing!). There’s a Facebook algorithm that either [1] automatically generates an e-mail if a Page with relatively high content has no activity (I have a Facebook Page with little activity, no posting for months, and I get no reminder); or [2] folks are checking the Habermas Page at X rate, causing a software widget to be triggered. I hope for the latter (2), but I presume it’s the former. Anyway, Facebook is less about connectivity than about “eyeballs” for ads. “It’s a business, honey, just like everything.”


Thursday, May 8, 2014

communicative community: the basis of good systems



If you find plausible that a “lattice” approach to political change tends to prevail over a “wheel” approach (“Sustainable Global Growth” posting), then a focus on dynamics of reflective equilibration may tend to prevail over dynamics of normative structure (and collaborative innovation precedes norm formation). In this case, Habermas’s theory of communicative action becomes all the more useful, not less so.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

sustainable global growth as international focus



In his February, 2014, lecture to the SPD, Habermas said “...the fact that the European Commission abstained from setting guidelines for national climate protection objectives is one of the many fatal signs of a regression into the stronghold of the national state.”

But the Europe2020 platform, shaped in 2011, is full of guidelines, including specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, among other goals, “as part of a comprehensive global agreement.” The EU Commission has a detailed policy platform for a “Resource-efficient Europe” and “An industrial policy for the globalisation era.”

How does inter-regionality evolve?



Given that internationalism has been an evident feature of global politics for a century, how does global change work?

That's a more-accessible question than one might expect. In March 2014, Robert O. Keohane (Professor of International Politics at Princeton) published an essay which implicitly, but definitely, serves the question: How does internationalism—or inter-regionality—evolve? His article is entitled “Contested Multilateralism.” The tediousness of his discussion (typified by his abstract below) implicitly dramatizes the state of play in international studies.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The challenge of fruitfully distributed authority



The challenge in existing democracy never goes away, but it’s most prominent in constitutional processes: When does authority that is granted to intra-national regions undermine the potential effectiveness of governing trans-regional interests? This is a problem that Ukraine is presently grappling with.

Friday, April 25, 2014

fast times in Ukraine


the Ukrainean Event as philosophical venue

On the PBS News Hour, Janusz Bugajski (Center for Strategic and International Studies) says what may seem obvious, but there’s an implicit, important philosophical point to be drawn for Habermasian discourse (after my quoting):
It’s a free choice...of every nation that emerged from the communist bloc to belong to the international organizations that best protect their security and that best ensure their prosperity and their development. And all the Central European countries, almost, have chosen to ally with the West, because the European Union and NATO provides the security, stability, sovereignty, and development. The Russian world, the Customs Union, the Eurasian Union, will be a source of instability, because Russia cannot provide that sort of security, integrity and international — and national independence.

Habermas and the international EU as it is



Isn’t there already transnational democracy enough in the EU (pending economic recovery from recession)?

A fascinating comment about Germany in a recent NYTimes article on the Ukraine Event is that, in effect, the European Commission is a “partnership...hallowed in Berlin as the real...governing body of Europe.”

Monday, April 21, 2014

silent spring, fat city, and being here now



Isn’t the notion of Earth Day precious?

It should be every day, of course. So, what does this mean for every day?

Do you nearly cringe at the triteness of such a question? Aren’t you tired of hearing about deathly pollution and extinction-level climate change?

It’s all not trite, of course, for kids (who will inherit the Earth), for health care professionals, educators, community developers, progressive activists, social entrepreneurs, policy wonks, and Earth scientists.

Indeed, a holism of relevance is greatly to The Point, not some redemptive tokenism of preciousness.

Healthy planet, healthy nations, healthy regions, healthy lives...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

environmental engineering


commitment to excellent policy tools can work

"As world leaders head to the UN Climate Summit in September, what's critical can't wait for theorists to create populist mandates. What we need is effective leadership."

Saturday, March 15, 2014

a reality of geopolitics: permanent improvisation


part of a project on Habermas and transnationalism

So, Russia vetoes UN Crimea Resolution. What else is new?

Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador, remarks:
This is a sad and remarkable moment. The truth is that this resolution should not have been controversial. It was grounded in principals that provide the foundation for international stability and law—Article 2 of the U.N. Charter—the prohibition on the use of force to acquire territory and respect for sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of member states. These are principals that Russia agrees with and defends vigorously all around the world—except, it seems, in circumstances that involve Russia.



Like the child whose outbursts can ruin a family gathering, if he isn’t pacified, the world’s enmeshment with the Russian economy (largely via Europe) allows Putin to easily threaten financial markets, risking global recoveries, if his adventurism isn’t tolerated.

U.S./E.U. optioning for diplomacy isn’t a choice; it’s the only feasible response to blackmail. Of course, insistence on the power of diplomacy is also exemplary of the “soft power” approach to leadership that attracts Ukraine to the EU. And around the world, one great appeal of democracy is its devotion to soft power. 

on solidarity: culturally-based, not politically


part of Habermas and the EU

The M-W Unabridged Dictionary defines ‘solidarity’ as one might expect: “an entire union of interests and responsibilities in a group : community of interests, objectives, or standards.”

This is not a primarily-political notion, to which Habermas confines the term in his Athens lecture (properly, given his context). Indeed, the English dictionary’s exemplar is Joseph Conrad: “...solidarity that knits together innumerable hearts.”

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Habermas’ “...Detranscendentalized ‘Use of Reason’”



Habermas’ “From Kant’s ‘Ideas’ of Pure Reason to the ‘Idealizing’ Presuppositions of Communicative Action: Reflections on the Detranscendentalized ‘Use of Reason’” might be the only essay by Habermas that’s been published in English three times, thereby signaling its central importance for representing his philosophical position—which is no surprise: The essay relies on conceptual commitments which span his career; and cites essays by him that had seemed fundamental to the development of his thought. The essay is as difficult to work through as anything he’s done.

I would enjoy discussing this essay with anyone who has thought through it entirely. In particular, I’m interested in JH’s discussion of Davidson in a later section of the essay. You can contact me via the Facebook/Habermas Page or e-mail me


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

pragmatism as progressive realism



A recent article in Politico extendedly characterizes Obama’s leadership as “realist.” Politico invites expert response, resulting first in a ping-pong by Dennis Ross (counselor to Obama) on realism vs. idealism which he labels “pragmatism.”

This is a happy thing. Firstly, Obama was academically pragmatist, literally. Secondly, I’ve long capsulated my sense of pragmatism as a fruitful balancing of idealist and realist perspectives. But that’s just heuristic. In a phrase, my sense of pragmatism is a progressive realism (overtly begging the question of what is the best sense of ‘progressive’; what is the best sense of ‘realism’?). Yet, it gets complicated: 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Habermas and religion



Habermas and Religion is an anthology of essays from a 2010 conference on this topic with a lengthy “Reply to My Critics” by Habermas at the end. Habermas’s reply is actually a rather systematic address of his views, rather than simply response to the essays.

The area of interest has been long running, both for Habermas and for readers of him, including myself. In a progressive and practical American spirit, I posted two long discussions earlier, one of which links at the end to the other discussion; so, I’ll link here just to the first: “‘Post-secularity’ as just modern humanism.”

This posting presently is basically a placeholder for further work on the topic. At this time, I hear, Habermas is working on an extensive treatise about the evolution of religion. So, I expect that future years will provide occasion to link to more from here.