Discourse, reflection and commitment

Philosophy and Social Criticism 29 (2):147-161 (2003)
In response to William Rehg’s and Barbara Fultner’s criticisms, I clarify and extend some arguments found in my book Reflection Revisited. I first redescribe how Hegel’s critique of Kant’s theory of reflection opens up the possibility for an intersubjective reflection. Habermas, I argue, can exploit such a theory of reflection since it is immune from the problems attendant on a ‘theory of consciousness’. Second, I address how by means of meta-discourses temporal claims can be formalized for the pragmatics Habermas is developing. Finally, I take up Fultner’s suggestion that Robert Brandom provides a fruitful point of comparison with Habermas’s theory, and argue that norms are in fact formed and critiqued on the basis of - as Brandom describes - the modal capabilities or incompatibilities of their entailments
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