The latent cognitive sociology in Habermas

Philosophy and Social Criticism 41 (3):273-291 (2015)
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Abstract

The aim of this article is twofold: to display some of the fruitful starting points in the later Habermas’ principal monograph for the development of a new kind of cognitive sociology; and to indicate the form of such a sociology by critically extrapolating its major parameters from Habermas’ assumptions regarding immanent transcendence, formal pragmatics and reconstructive sociology. The intended cognitive sociology is conceived as a refinement of a hitherto largely implicit dimension of Critical Theory. Its promise is far-reaching: to sharpen considerably the latter’s analytical repertoire and penetration; to draw attention to the need to recognize that the foundations of critique are not to be sought directly in normativity but rather in the cognitively structured normative dimension; and to stimulate consideration of the materialist implications of the rootedness of the human cognitive endowment in natural evolution and phylogenesis and the role of the resultant cognitive structures in the construction and elaboration of socio-cultural forms of life.

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