Argumentation and Transformation

Argumentation 16 (1):81-110 (2002)
Abstract
I consider argumentation from the point of view of context-transcendent cognitive transformation through reference to the critical social theory of Jürgen Habermas. My aim is threefold. First, to make the case for a concept of context-transcendent cognitive transformation. Second, to clarify the transformatory role of argumentation itself by showing that, while argumentation may contribute constructively to context-transcendent cognitive transformation, such transformation presupposes the existence of a reality conceptually independent of argumentation. Third, to cast light on the problem of how to justify argumentatively the poetically formulated, novel and innovative semantic contents that may be required for context-transcendent cognitive transformation. I conclude that the difficulties involved in argumentatively assessing novel and innovative semantic contents should not be misconstrued as evidence of an unbridgeable gap between language and experience but rather suggest the need for a more dynamic normative conception of language and for a more receptive model of autonomous agency
Keywords argumentation  context-transcendent cognitive transformation  critical social theory  Jürgen Habermas
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