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Download Foucault Contra Habermas: Recasting the Dialogue between by Samantha Ashenden (Editor), David Owen (Editor) PDF

By Samantha Ashenden (Editor), David Owen (Editor)

An incisive exam of, and a accomplished creation to, the talk among Foucault and Habermas over the that means of enlightenment and modernity

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Extra resources for Foucault Contra Habermas: Recasting the Dialogue between Genealogy and Critical Theory

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This slippage has typically resulted in the subordination of the expression of the critical attitude to the practice of critique (as, for example, in the work of Habermas) and, concomitantly, to the conception of enlightenment as the project of reconciling the real and the ideal through the lawful use of reason. Against the background of these reflections, Foucault situates his own project as that of reversing this, of trying ‘to take the inverse path to this movement of tipping over, to this slippage, to this way of displacing the question of Aufklärung onto critique’ (1996: 398).

Yet this conclusion is too quick. Habermas can offer a response. He can, for example, claim that a juridical polemic is compatible with dialogue if the participants alternately occupy the roles of the examiner-judge and the examinee-suspect – and here Habermas can reasonably point out that his commitment to communicative freedom entails recognising and defending Foucault's right of reply. This reply commits Habermas to two further claims concerning dialogue as a form of communicative action characterised by mutual recognition and respect.

E. it is a refusal to accept the con- < previous page page_30 next page > < previous page page_31 next page > Page 31 ception of enlightenment which generates the authoritarian logic according to which one must be either ‘for’ it or ‘against’ it). Rather than submit to this logic, Foucault argues: We must try to proceed with the analysis of ourselves as beings who are historically determined, to a certain extent, by the Enlightenment. Such an analysis implies a series of historical inquiries that are as precise as possible; and these inquiries will not be oriented retrospectively toward the ‘essential kernel of rationality’ that can be found in the Enlightenment and that would have to be preserved in any event; they will be oriented to the ‘contemporary limits of the necessary,’ that is, toward what is not or is no longer indispensable for the constitution of ourselves as autonomous subjects.

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