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The Gadamer-Habermas debate
Gadamer was not properly understood by Habermas.To deny tradition and authority their proper place in our discursive practices is to build castles in the air of idealism and  to  overlook  our fallibility

 and  finitude  that  stand for who  we are.

The Gadamer-Habermas debate
This is a claim, but not a paper.  And it may or not be true.  Please explain how you arrived at this conclusion about Habermas. 

Dr. L. Nannery

The Gadamer-Habermas debate
To hope for a position standing where we could survey the
parade of history and pronounce verdict about its fate is chimerical.
In order to find our discursive practices systematically distorted to serve
interests of a few or to suspect it to have been vitiated by unconscious
desire to desubjectify the other are  ontolgically rooted.
These immanent criterions of truth are not absoulete in themselves.
Gadamer never denies the legitimacy of social sciences as critical theories
illuminating some of the darker recesses of our being.
Truth in the realm of human affairs has a very
strong ontologico-hermeneutic dimension to it.
In acknwledging this we have reaffirmed our
faith in science.    

The Gadamer-Habermas debate
Of course I have oversimplified the matter and thereby paved the way for a claim without any substantiation'.My aim was to provoke reaction among the readers.

Gadamer's appeal to Kant in order to vindicate the transcendental nature of "hermeneutics of facticity" is the antithesis to any theory that lay claim to a vantage point not embeded in history.Habermas wants this hermeneutic insight to turn into theories critical enough to challenge the status quo and bring emancipation to invidual and society.He thinks Marxism and Freudian psychoanalysis are two such theories.This again is a prejudice having its root in enlightenment rationality whose obsession with science  as a methodlogical tool,meant to liberate us from all kind of ignorances,is astounding beond a certain limit.The enlightenment had one prejudice:prejudice against prejudice.It is not surprising,given that he is a political thinker commited to praxis on a societal level,he had held a position-partly as a critic of postmodernists- more akin to that of enlighenment ratioality.          

Gadamer is not concerned with how Understanding should avail itself of methods(certainity) so as to provide a foundation for social sciences.Neither is he againist any method.His aim ias philosophic in nature:what happens to us over our understanding.Understanding for Gadamer is ontological to the core.The complete transparency of the subject as pschoanalsists claimed to have achieved is rooted in certain opaqueness.  

The Gadamer-Habermas debate
I think the more I read both of them the more I realize that what they share is far more suggestive than what separates them.Critical theory presupposes hermeneutics and vice versa.It is like the two sides of the same coin:Habermas is emphasizing the revolutionary side of historicity whereas Gadamer is emphasizing the evolutionary side of it.

The Gadamer-Habermas debate
Hi Bijaya,
I think you are on the right track when you are giving more importance to what is common to Gadamer and Habermas than to their differences. Haberrmas does not ignore that all thought starts from cultural traditions. Gadamer, on the other hand, does not defend traditionalism, the voluntaristic and belligerant defence of traditional ways of thought and actions, but he was perhaps not explicit enough in warning against the fallacy of confusing the generic concept of tradition, which may justly be considered as a transcendental condition (as is language), with specific traditions, and has not spoken about the basic possibility of critical disengagement in regard of parts of the received ways of life.
Habermas' notion of critique is not so much the frankfurterian notion of social critique, as the kantian one which defends the capacities of free discussion of proposals and stresses the importance of the diffferentiation of cosmological, moral and aesthetic points of view.
But when you consider Habermas' position as revolutionary, I strongly disagree. That's not his spirit nor his letter: 'revolution' is not one of his words, whereas 'evolution' is.

The Gadamer-Habermas debate
I think both Gadamar and Habermas are in consensus with regard to the problem of understanding 'other'.Gadamar's hermeunetical understanding of other and Habermas's discourse ethics which is based on the possibility of communication in the inter-subjective space z related with the ethics of dialogue. But the methodologicalproblem which haunts both gadamar's hermeunatical dialogue and Habermas's discourse ethics is the stability of the context which will make the sharing of the meaning possible in the intersubjective realm,so before any dialogue to happen we have to stabilize the context which will make the communication possible,quite like 'rule-following' in Wittgenstein terms but the question arises if i dont know the language of the other,how can the criteria of rule be decided? How can we sure that in understanding the Other,we have not appropriated the other?

The Gadamer-Habermas debate
Reply to Ezra Heymann
Hi Professor Heymann

My apology for the misgivings that I had of Habermas.I got so carried away by Gadamer that this factual error-the error of calling Habermas's observation as revolutionary-crept in to my vocabulary.I thank you for reminding me of that.I must  admit that my knowledge,particularly of Habermas,is far from exhaustive and I wonder whether anybody could lay claim for such an exhaustiveness given that the Habermas literature is so vast and complex(as Habermas's position has kept on changing over the years).But, as you observe, this Kantian lineage of Habermas sounds sounds intresting as Gadamer too would like to be clubbed together with Kant.In that case one has to see how far hermeneutics can go together with critical theory.

I would like to learn from you more about this Kantian heritage that Habermas has imbibed.     

The Gadamer-Habermas debate
Well,perhaps one can not essentialise the other to the point that the other shall  cease to remain the other for us.But political forces some times knowingly or unknowingly end up doing so.Even worse is the fact their "philosophy of understanding the other"is projected as an ideal that mankind,they think, has been striving for centuries.Hegel comes very close to inventing such an alleged teleological schema of understading the other.Gadamer would not support such a claim not withstanding his debt to Hegel.Perhaps the best we can do is to make sure that howsoever trivial the other's view may be he or she should be given a fair chance of representation.Gadamer has a beautiful phrase to capture this sprit:the soul's dialogue with itself.This also applies to the our dialogue with others.Our understading of the other may sometimes be hampered by our biases and prejudices but they also can be transcended by the more illuminating experience of the other.This "stablization of the context" does not need to be an "anything goes" kind of ultra radical remedy."Appropriatation" in Saurav's sense is inevitable but not immutable as being and becoming codermine man.I must submit that the "criteria" and rule following that Saurav is talking about,invoking Wittgenstein,is something we can hope for but not practice to perfection because of our finitude.