Habermas

jones/bhandari djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Thu Feb 16 16:04:01 MST 1995


As I accidentally left out some key phrases from the Rosenthal passage on
Habermas, I am resending it to the line with corrections (sorry--I need to
buy a scanner!); by the way, this article is not only an excellent critique
of Habermas but also a very important exposition of the power of value
theory, dynamically conceived:


"Habermas does manage to allude towhat is, I think, a real tendency of
capitalist development: namely, the progressive displacement of procedures
of consensus-formation by systemic mechanisms of action  coordination
 With the extensive and intensive expansion of market relations that
accompanies the accumulation of capital, the reproductive role of what
Habermas calls 'communicative action' (at least in its *idealized* form as
essentially non-coercive) is certainly diminished.  But so long as
Habermas's employment of the 'lifeworld' concept remains ambiguous between
the 'lifworld' construed construed as transcendental condition and
"lifeworld" as objective 'domain of action', the thesis of
'lifeworld colonization' must take on the additional connotation of a
*substantive* abuse of the latter....if the point of turning to value
theory is to explain the systemic tendencies to expansion which have the
result of curtailing the integrative scope of communicative
interaction,then we had better avail ourselves in it of a conceptual
framework that enables us to grasp the logic of those tendencies.  Marx's
value theory is indeed designed to do exactly that, at least in respect of
a capitalist economic system."

>From John Rosenthal "What is Life?: a Habermas critique", SOCIAL SCIENCE
INFORMATION, 31, 1 (1992), p. 8




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