Sunday, October 16, 2005

internetting Habermas



The Yahoo! group “Habermas” address is, like any Internet address, part of an evolving Internet paradigm of interconnectivity. The group address expresses at least the Habermasian interest in that evolution, i.e., generally, a philosophical “Human Interest” or general human interest in discursive interconnectivity, especially that which contributes to [insert pithy synoptic of JH’s project]—which, by the way, is ultimately not a matter of JH’s view of The Project (or “research program”) in which he participates as leading exemplar (while that fact is, of course, no license to ingenuinely misrepresent his difficult views, e.g., to create a straw man in order to have one’s “own” view).

The communications satellite lattice is the prevailing social ground, and the evolving Internet is maybe already the prevailing form of public life.

Has the multimediality of the planetary sphere made some glyphicality of the public interface prevail in communicative life over linguistic sociocentrism? Does Madison Avenue know more about communicative action than the professor? (After all, it was Madison Avenue that brought down the Berlin Wall—the appeal of the better “argument”—rather than the “force” of political design.) Does dramaturgical validity lead normative validity in the evolution of humanity? Does rhetoric lead pragmatics?

Is the planetary public sphere already beyond the Habermasian conception? Is the vision of political cosmopoly antedated by the cultural reality of the global villages’s hypersensitivity to the daily planet’s news cycle? Does communicative life really govern social evolution by a dramaturgical bubble-up (through interplay of stochastic-emergent “tipping” points “speaking” to the whole village) rather than by normative design?

Does Habermasian thought belong to an interdisciplinary field of intellectual historiography that might be called “20th Century Studies”?