Saturday, September 16, 2006

Habermas as entrance into philosophical futuring

I have a rather intense sense of applied Habermasian work, making me a neo-Habermasian at best, but actually I'm not anymore basically Habermasian in my thinking, while I know of no better exemplar of philosophical work than Habermas. My post-Habermasian sense of things results after many years of avowedly Habermasian endeavor. Yet, I'm glad to hear from those who subscribe to the Yahoo! Habermas list because it seems to them that Habermas is at the leading edge of philosophy. They're right! Few really understand what he has been uniquely and profoundly trying to do in his career, as a matter of postmetaphysicalist thinking devoted to prospects for cosmopolitan life. If there's another philosopher more worth one's time, let's hear about it.

I try to make the Habermas list more than an intellectual chat room, but I'm apparently alone. Can the Habermas list typify more than that? Would I be censorious to seek that, in group postings?—something that is attuned to details of news and interpretive acuity? Would such seeking cause the list to have few postings, other than being a bulletin board about Habermasian materials? Is something beyond intellectual chat beyond the pale of the email software platform? Frankly, I'm not looking for fraternity via the Habermas list; I'm looking for challenging thought (and, in that venture, I give far more than I get).

Let there be a Web ring of acuitous blogs (I just coined 'acuitous' from 'acuity')—a Critical Circle beyond the sunset of 20th C Frankfurt Schooling—but what a difficult ideal to actually embody! It must seem unfair to idealize discursive challenge in a venue lacking overt editorial policy (which is considered democratic on the Internet, though no medium that one professionally admires actually lacks editorial focus and policy—and it's apparently unprofessional to take Internet groups seriously, maybe as a matter of coveted intellectual property).

My plan for the Yahoo! Habermas list, down the road, is that I (and others?) will begin corresponding with leading Habermas scholars and will post to the list replies and interactions (approved by those quoted, of course), as a matter of developing a philosophical Web ring in which Habermas is a key focus. (I think of Heidegger's sense of symbolic examples of Heisenberg, Trakl, and Klee at the beginning of "On Time and Being," in the group of presentations titled On Time and Being.)

But presently I'm focused on post-Habermasian work. For example, I want to soon share a discussion of Epistemology Futures—but frankly I don't know when I'll have time to do that (and it has no overt relationship to Habermas, so my discussion would only tacitly relate to what "post-Habermasian" may specifically mean).

To say that what I'm doing is post-Habermasian is just to relativize it to Habermas for those oriented by his work. Actually, I think I was working in a post-Habermasian way at the beginning of my participation at the Spoon Collective list, 1997.

In the near term, I want to see the Yahoo! Habermas list overtly support interest in his work (including—especially for my part—substantive disagreement with his views, which of course honors the critical spirit that all scholarship implicitly honors), keeping in mind (honoring) that most subscribers are just trying to basically understand what he argues. Maybe I too readily go my own way in employment of his work (and even "worse" in critique of him).

In the long term, I see no alternative to understanding Habermas' work other than as primarily relative to issues of the 20th century, i.e., work increasingly of merely historical interest (like Kant), rather than relevant for epistemically contemporary philosophical inquiry (relative, for example, to "ontological" issues in the continuum from neurobiology to cognitive science of intelligence; or the netweaving character of multipolitan life where Internetted value is googleable, so to speak—neural Darwinist wisdom of neural crowds in bright individuation meets the electro-latticed emergences of planetary value as global mentality of evolutionary meritocracy?).

Of course, each new generation faces the recapitulative reality of getting up to speed, as they say, i.e., realizing that its generation didn't begin history (and each philosophy student faces the romance of Kantian transcendental illusions, if not its fate expressed in Heidegger's "end of philosophy" as "the task of thinking"), and the 21st C is now still largely a child of the 20th, as the 20th was a child of the 19th, and humanity is largely an historical "phenomenon"—a flourishing of its anthropological Earthliness. (And I am an American Earthling.) But originality happens: 20th C relativity wasn't anticipated in the 19th century. The Internet wasn't anticipated in 1960s dreams of machine intelligence. What happens when it's announced that the S.E.T.I. has succeeded? (What's that International Space Station really for, very secured communications that most Earthlings aren't ready to know about?)

In the long run, will become merely honorific of a period in the development of Internet life antedated by a Webring I imagine we bring about belonging primarily to the 21st century, as all children may grow to primarily belong to their generation, if not becoming points of originality in evolution.

Cheers to a philosophical manifold of Webrings—lattices, netweaves—and philosophy as conceptual design?, as tropological topology?