Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Educational Coherence, Pure Reason, and Habermas

Stanley Fish posted this like a month ago, but it dovetails nicely with the educational coherence point FLG made:
What secular reason is missing is self-awareness. It is “unenlightened about itself” in the sense that it has within itself no mechanism for questioning the products and conclusions of its formal, procedural entailments and experiments. “Postmetaphysical thinking,” Habermas contends, “cannot cope on its own with the defeatism concerning reason which we encounter today both in the postmodern radicalization of the ‘dialectic of the Enlightenment’ and in the naturalism founded on a na├»ve faith in science.”


The liberal citizen is taught that he is the possessor of rights and that the state exists to protect those rights, chief among which is his right to choose. The content of what he chooses — the direction in which he points his life — is a matter of indifference to the state which guarantees his right to go there just as it guarantees the corresponding rights of his neighbors (“different strokes for different folks”). Enlightenment rational morality, Habermas concludes, “is aimed at the insight of individuals, and does not foster any impulse toward solidarity, that is, toward morally guided collective action.”

FLG's point isn't so profound as Habermas' or Deneen's are. He's not that smart or thoughtful. He'd just like some coherence so that students will understand how the sophisticated construction of worldviews from metaphysical (or epistemological or ontological, if you prefer) assumptions works, rather than the current plethora of approaches offered by different departments. He realizes that this is fraught with its own problems and dangers, but this is his blog and he gets to throw shit out there.

1 comment:

Withywindle said...

"He'd just like some coherence ... but this is his blog and he gets to throw shit out there."

Make me coherent, Lord, but not here!

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