Who is the ‘communis’ in sensus communis? A response to Ferrara

Philosophy and Social Criticism 45 (2):159-167 (2018)

Abstract
Of the many interesting points that Alessandro Ferrara raises in reply to my article, I focus in response on the question of context transcendence for, as well as seeming to lie at the heart of our differences, it is of foundational importance to the tradition of critical theory which influences both our work. I agree with Ferrara about the ‘conceptual necessity’ of context transcendence for critique but I disagree with the assumption that he makes that experientially grounded critique is necessarily inimical to context transcendence. I argue that this need not be the case if we conceive of the transcending capacity of thought in ways that are more compatible with the practical logic of social life, for example, in the historicized terms of a sociolinguistic expressivism. Ferrara’s elision of experientially grounded critique with radical contextualism tout court sets up something of a false dilemma between immanence and transcendence which ultimately serves to justify his reliance on the dubious ahistoric...
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DOI 10.1177/0191453718816350
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