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.

Indeed, his own recent focus on amplifying the democratization of political systems is intended to facilitate an increase in the popular effect of communicative interaction. By his own lights, adequate democratization tends to transfer attention from increased system rationality (in the best sense) to increased focus on the creation of that: Our deliberating about what We need and want from our localities in terms of our shared lives.

An effect of sufficient democratization is to ensure that systemic attention is kept on issues which matter, at best reflecting our thinking together about higher values, aspirations, projects, prospects for our futures, etc.

Conceptual attention to high aspects of making and sustaining good community has hallmarked Habermas' career, more than being the exemplary public intellectual. In fact, no philosopher has applied his or her sensibility to as many leading issues as Habermas has done.

If you’re new to philosophy, I hope that you will grow to see through Habermas’s career—all across the decades of his career—what “philosophy” can be and how important philosophy can be for the interdisciplinary university, for a conceptually-holistic approach to intellectual life, and for the importance of conceptual issues for one's life.

Education matters. Thinking well matters. Realism matters. Philosophy matters.

Good systems emerge from good communities: reason for democracy