My manifold dwelling with Habermas’s sense of truth, “Habermas and Truth,” evinces from years of engagement, but expresses an activity of a few days, late September and early October, 2003. Its first part, “What is truth for?,” begins:
Given all due regard for technicalities, a theory of truth must (as a practical imperative) be realistic, in at least the pragmatic sense of according with what we do when we look for truth or ask for truth in everyday life, as well as via methodic determinations.That first sentence of the presentation basically distinguishes theoretical and practical interest in truth, in order to emphasize practical interest. It begs the question: How may a theory be a practical imperative in being “realistic”? I’m implicitly presuming association of the English idiomatic sense of ‘realistic’ with practicality, prudence, or candor. The movement of attention is from theory as conceptual analytics (“technicalities”) to practicality in theoretical terms, then (back? “back”?) to theory as inquiriality—from interest in conceptual analytics to theory of practices to interest in method. (I don't believe that my present comment here clarifies anything; rather, it emphasizes unreconstructed background context.)
Yet, the Point (the sway) of the statement is on ‘realistic,’ specifically an accordance with “looking for truth...in everyday life.” That is: looking for “truth” in everyday life, where we want (need, desire) to “be realistic,” not just have understandings which are “realistic,” but to be realistic.
There’s an implicit sense of there being (or appealing possibility of) convergence between (1) some unreconstructed sense of everyday interest in realism and (2) truth-theoretical interest in realism. What’s the (“the”?) relationship between pragmatic “realism” and scientific realism? What’s the “and”?
It’s conceptual, discursive, “philosophical”; so, what is that?
That first sentence of the presentation is aggressive (presumptive), if not oblique (unreconstructive). It’s presumptively unreconstructive. This comment now frames that—indeed, may be read to frame the entire “Habermas and Truth” endeavor—as distanced reading, as if being read by any stranger—as if the entire endeavor is in quote marks.
For me, lack of comment, going forward with the presentation, implicitly carries a Derridean ghostwork of distance that remains invisible, yet infective for my reading. Was I attuned well then to what I would still think now? (I.e., would the exercise that day have durable value for me?) Inasmuch as I’ve shifted thinking in the decade since (change of conceptual interest, not rejection of my view—but maybe that, too?), what do I think now of the entire endeavor, in terms of this-and-that? (And who but I would care?—unless there’s something exemplary, if not durably practical, in my conceptual prospecting.)
“Given all due regard for technicalities...” You wouldn’t know that the entire endeavor is within a forum of interaction in which I had been very active for already six years (an “assumptive form world,” a phenomenologist might say), in particular: in contention with a few others who were doing their dissertations on Habermas.
Entering into the endeavor is like tuning into an ongoing conversation, in which the reader is confronted with unreconstructed context, if not confronted with the condition of textuality itself: always distanced from authoriship—somewhat, at least (the presentation of that era of thinking), then inaccessibly (re: absent community, immanence of desire to gain useful response).
My extraction of a series of presentations there (i.e., the entire “Habermas and Truth” set) from the relationships—both (1) with Habermas’s work, as shared over years with others in the group, and (2) an implicit engagement with several other recent discursants in the group—makes my endeavor there (with and for others) mere notes now being shared (transposed to Webpage) which can’t stand as fair presentation to a general reader.
Our anchor must be the text of Habermas, increasingly there my dialogue with that, and now the textuality of that, as if there never was anyone else, save you and I and the text. Yet, for that, I’d have to place every passage in brackets (as well as anticipating who you are), then explicating the frame.
But I’m not going to do that.
Yet, I want to. Yet, I wouldn’t want to implicitly ask of a reader a back-and-forth between short passages and long postings. It’s best to just let it be; and say that, to my mind, possession by a ghost—so being in time—is generative.
Indeed, I was in the flow of development then as now, though differently (like being on the “same” Path whose eras of belonging together in the Same could not foresee then “the” Path as it was to be—non-destined!—in now having been). I was as Habermasian as anyone (but Habermas), yet not fundamentally Habermasian at all—already then, 2003, as old as Habermas was, 1980, when he wrote Theory of Communicative Action, when I was back then already reading him through Derridean eyes (inasmuch I could, post-Heideggerian that I felt myself to be), five years before Habermas lectured on Derrida.
Time in textuality can be eerie.
So, back now to "What is truth for?"