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"Critique" Immanent in "Practice": New Frankfurt School and American Pragmatism Author(s): Shijun Tong Reviewed work(s): Source:

Frontiers of Philosophy in China, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Jun., 2006), pp. 295-316 Published by: Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30209971 . Accessed: 26/09/2012 14:39
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295

Tong Shijun

in"practice": New Frankfurt and American immanent School "Critique" pragmatism

Education PressandSpringer-Verlag 2006 a Higher

Abstract As a result of a new understandingof the relation between theory and practice, the "New Frankfurt School," with Jiirgen Habermas as its major representative, highly values the philosophical traditionof Americanpragmatism,in contrastto the first generationCriticalTheoristsrepresentedby Max Horkheimer.In Habermas,the idea of"critique" is, both substantiallyand methodologically, closely connected with the idea of "praxis"in the following senses: communicativeaction, rational argumentation,public discussion and political culture. "Critique"is thus found to be immanentin "praxis"; or, a la Horkheimer, pragmatismturnsout to be a "critical philosophical analysis" without "falling back upon objective reason and mythology." Keywords New Frankfurt School, American pragmatism, critique, practice, communicativeaction, rationalargumentation, public discussion, political culture Hilary Putnam,one of the leading American philosophersof our time, once said in an interview:"In fact, it is interestingto comparethe developmentsin what I call the New Frankfurt School with the Americanpragmatismof William James and Charles Peirce"([1], p.61). What is called by Putnamhere as the "New Frankfurt School" has as its leading theorists JiirgenHabermasand Karl-OttoApel. In the broadersense, however, this School includes Germanscholars such as Alfred Schmidt, Albrecht Wellmer, Axel Honneth and American scholars Martin Jay, Thomas McCarthy, Seyla Benhabib, and many others ([2], p. xv; [3], p. 409). The affinity between the New Frankfurt School and AmericanPragmatism has
Translated fromHuadongShifanDaxueXuebao $a

of Huadong Normal (Journal

2001(5),withminor modifications University), Tong (0) Shijun


of Philosophy, EastChinaNormalUniversity, Department 200062, China Shanghai E-mail: tongsj@yahoo.com

296 been noticed by many students of the contemporaryWestern intellectual world.1 This affminity is not only a matterof interest among those who inheritmore directly the tradition of the FrankfurtSchool in the philosophical movement of American pragmatism,but also a matterof interestamong those who inheritmore directly the tradition of American pragmatism in the tradition of Critical Theory. There is, actually, a mutual influence between the two living traditions.This phenomenoncan be explained not only from a philosophical perspective, but also from a sociological perspective. The Critical Theory, to a large degree, was formed by members of the when they were exiles in America in the Institutefor Social Research in Frankfurt 1930s and 1940s. After the Second World War, the USA heavily influenced the social and cultural development of the BRD, and communication between philosophersacross the Atlantic was greatly strengthened.As a result of the student movement in the 1960s, American academic circles startedto become interestedin the Critical Theory, which was one of the spiritualbackgroundsof the movement, and those who were actively involved in the movement at that time have now itself against this background, entered intellectual mainstream.In orderto "market" CriticalTheory needs to make use of the "local resources"in the new continent.And the task of cultivating a democratic political culture in a nation that had suffered great setbacks in this aspect requiresthat one pay more attentionto the philosophical roots of the experience of the nation that has been most successful in this regard.All these aspects need to be considered in our discussion of the relation between the School and American Pragmatism.The focus of this paper,however, New Frankfurt School came to be interestedin Americanpragmatism, is on why the New Frankfurt motive behind this interest. The paper is composed of the that is, on the theoretical following sections. In the first section we will have a review of the attitude of the first generationof the FrankfurtSchool, with Max Horkheimeras its representative, towards American pragmatism, in order to provide a system of reference for our discussion of the attitudeof its successors. In the second section, we will discuss the ideas of JuergenHabermas,the leading philosopherof the New Frankfurt School, on the relation between theory and practice, since it is this problem that is behind the attitudes of the thinkers of the two generations of the School towards American by Pragmatism.In the third section we will discuss in more detail the appropriation the New FrankfurtSchool of the tradition of American pragmatism, focusing on differentlevels of the relationbetween theory and practice, or, in the terminologyof Critical Theory, the relation between the ideas of "critique"and "praxis."In the concluding section we will make a short reference to the difference between Dewey and James so that the idea of "a critical philosophical analysis without falling back upon objective reason and mythology" is relatedto the idea of "transcendencefrom
SSome books on the history of the FrankfurtSchool, such as Martin Jay's TheDialectical Imagination, David Held's Introductionto Critical Theory:Horkheimerto Habermas (University of CaliforniaPress, School: Its History, Theories, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1980) and Rolf Wiggershaus's The Frankfuirt and Political Significance (Translatedby Michael Robertson, MIT Press, 1995), all touch this problem. Among other works on the issue we may mention Ross Posnock's paper "Bourne, Dewey, Adorno: Reconciling Pragmatismand the FrankfurtSchool" (The University of Wiscosin-Milwaukee, Center for Twentieth Century Studies, Working Paper No. 4, Fall-Winter 1989-1990) and Habermas and Pragmatism(edited by Mitchell Aboulafia, Myra Bookman and CatherineKemp, Routledge, London and New York,2002).

297 within" shared especially by Habermason the one hand, and Peirce and Dewey on the other.

I The natural starting point for an inquiry into the relation between the Frankfurt School and American pragmatismis September 1934, when the major members of the Institute of Social Research in Frankfurtsuccessively arriving in American establishedthe International Instituteof Social Research at ColumbiaUniversity in New York City. The most famous philosopher at Columbia was nobody but the Emeritus Professor John Dewey, retiring in 1929, who was the most important thinkerof the Americanpragmatistmovement. There is no evidence, however, showing that Horkheimer and his German colleagues had any substantial contacts with Dewey. Moreover, there is also no evidence showing they had any importantdialogues and cooperationwith Dewey's pupil, Sydney Hook, who tried to blend Marxism with pragmatism, or any other importantleft-wing American intellectuals.Just as MartinJay, the first scholar who systematically studied the history of the School, said, "Continuingto write almost exclusively in German, confining their teaching to the occasional course in the Columbia extension program, only rarely opening the pages of their journal to American authors, they managed to keep the local academic world at arm's distance.... Virtuallyno sympatheticconnections appearto have been made with the philosophers in New York. ...In short, relatively secure behind the walls of the building at 429 West 117th Street, provided by Columbia, the Instituteremained a hidden enclave of Weimar culture in exile and not in any meaningfulway a part of Americanacademic life"([4], p.18). This does not mean, however, that Horkheimerand his colleagues were totally ignorantof or uninterestedin the American intellectual circles and the mainstream among them, pragmatism. In a letter written in 1946, Horkheimer said to Leo Lowenthal, another member of the Institute, "You can see from my quotes that I have read not a few of these native products and I have now the feeling to be an expert in it. The whole think belongs definitely into the period before the First World War and is somehow on the line of empiricocriticism, but much less cultivatedthan our old Cornelius"([2], p. 83). The works in which Horkheimermade the most citations of and comments on Americanpragmatistphilosophersare the paper "On the Problemof Truth"in 1935 and the book Eclipse of Reason in 1947. In "On the Problem of Truth,"Horkheimerdiscussed pragmatismas part of the general situation of bourgeois philosophy, regarding it as one of the latter's manifestations.His comments include the following aspects. On the one hand, there are two seemingly opposing but actually complementaryphilosophical movements in contemporaryphilosophy, that is, dogmatism as well as relativism, or positivism as well as irrationalism.This kind of conflict exists not only in society at large, but also in the thinking of one and the same philosopher,such as William James. James, though proclaiming a version of positivism, turnedto mysticism, even mediumism,

298 thinking that there is a kind of intuition in the transcendentalworld, which might appear in the form of telepathic experiences as soon as the brain's activity is "abnormally"reduced. On the other hand, as far as the doctrine of pragmatism, James and Dewey are its major advocators for their detailed discussion on the problem of truth.Horkheimer'scriticism of pragmatismis focused on its conception of truth,which includes the following aspects: Firstly, the pragmatist conception of truth is "closely related to positivism in France"([5], p. 425); it would have been an unconditionalaffirmationof and trust in the existing world if it were not supplementedby any contradictorymetaphysics (as

in the case of HenriBergson)in it: "Ifthe goodnessof everyidea is giventime and


opportunityto come to light, if the success of the truth--even if after struggle and resistance-is in the long run certain, if the idea of a dangerous, explosive truth cannot come into the field of vision, then the present social structureis consecrated and-to the extent that it warns of harm-capable of unlimited development"([5], P.425). In Horkheimer'smind, even if a pragmatistphilosophercan be struckby the prevailing injustice in society as an individual, his demand for societal reconstructioncan only be personal commitments and utopian supplements,with a merely externalconnection to his philosophy. Secondly, pragmatismblurs the distinctionbetween two concepts of"proof': "An opinion can be completely validated because the objective relationships whose existence it asserts are confirmed on the basis of experience and observation with unobjectionable instruments and logical conclusions; and it can moreover be of practicaluse to its holder or other people" ([5], p. 426). Strictly speaking, a typical positivist would lay stress on proof in the first sense, while a typical pragmatist would lay stress on proof in the second sense. But Horkheimerfailed to notice this difference, regardingpragmatismas merely a version of positivism. Thirdly, as far as the concept of "proof' in the second sense is concerned, pragmatismclaims that truthis to advance life and happiness,but overlooks the fact that "the same theory can be an annihilatingforce for other interestsin the degree to which it heightens the activity of the progressive forces and makes it more effective" ([5], p.426). In the concrete situation of history, the process in which a particular social orderturnsfrom an advancing force for creative culture to an impeding force, is also a process of the growing contradictionbetween the "verified truth,"or truth theoretically proved (proved in the first sense of the term "proof'), and the social interests associated with the social order. The chance that the truth is successfully realized is thus reduced rather than increased: "According to pragmatism, the verification of ideas and their truth merge. According to materialism,verification forms the evidence that ideas and objective reality correspond, itself a historical occurrencethat can be obstructedand interrupted ([5], p.429). Historicalmaterialism is thus indispensable to understanding the problem of truth: "The concept of verification as the criterionof truthmust not be interpretedso simply. The truthis an impetus to correct practice. But whoever identifies it directly with success passes over history and makes himself an apologist for the reality dominant at any given time"([5], p.429). Fourthly,Horkheimerdiscusses more generally the relationbetween the theory of knowledge and truth and the theory of history and society. Since verification is

299 the discussion "itself a historical occurrencethat can be obstructedand interrupted," of the problem of verification or truth should become part of a social theory that from a particulartheory of society as a studies this historicaloccurrence:"Separated remains formalistic and abstract. Not only of whole, every theory cognition life also terms like and but expressions promotion, seemingly specific to cognitive remain vague and indefinite such as verification, confirmation, etc., proof, theory despite the most scrupulous definition and transference to a language of mathematicalformulae, if they do not stand in relation to real history and receive their definition by being part of a comprehensive theoretical unity. The dialectical propositionthat every concept possesses real validity only as a partof the theoretical whole and arrives at its real significance only when, by its interconnectionwith other concepts, a theoreticalunity has been reached and its role in this is known, is valid here too" ([5], p. 427). Running through the above ideas is Horkheimer's position on the relation between theory and practice. In his mind there is no "pre-establishedharmony" between them: they connect with each other in actual processes of history, in which "what is seen as theoretically correct is not therefore simultaneously realized. Humanactivity is no unambiguousfunction of insight, but rathera process which at every moment is likewise determinedby other factors and resistances"([5], p.427). To the phenomenahe stressedhere-what is theoreticallycorrectis often practically unrealized--Horkheimer gave various explanations. In addition to the above-mentionedfact that the dominantforces in society are too strong,Horkheimer referredmainly to the following two factors:On the one hand, a historical tendency predictedby a certaintheory can in turnbe influenced by the social activities of the social forces convinced by this theory, and thus even though this tendency does not display itself clearly, this cannot be regardedas a negation of the theory that has predictedit. Take as example Marx's view of what is happeninginside the capitalist society: those tendencies that have been predicted by Marx's view of history are "tendencieswhich could be prevented from leading to a relapse into barbarismby the effort of people guided by this theory. This theory, confirmed by the course of history, was thoughtof not only as theory but as an impetus to a liberatingpractice, bound up with the whole impatience of threatened humanity. The testing of the unswervingfaith involved in this struggle is closely connectedwith the confirmation of the predictedtendencies which has alreadytaken place, but the two aspects of the verification are not identical; rather,they are mediated by the actual struggle, the solution of concrete historical problems based on the theory reinforced by experience"([5], p. 428). On the other hand, what are responsible for setbacks and are usually partialmistakes in a theory, and these setbacks can thus not frustrations be regardedas evidences for the falsehood of the theory as a whole: "While it is the duty of everyone who acts responsiblyto learn from setbacks in practices,these can nevertheless not destroy the proven basic structureof the theory, in terms of which they are to be understoodonly as setbacks"([5], p. 429). In Eclipse of Reason, though still understanding pragmatism as a true manifestationof positivism based on the reason that they both assimilatephilosophy into science, Horkheimerpaid more attentionto their differences, regardingthem as two versions of the change from "objective reason" to "subjective reason." With

300 Max Weber as his startingpoint, Horkheimerunderstood the so-called "objective reason"in two terms. On the one hand, it admits that there is a structureinherentin the reality, which by itself demands that in each case there is a particularmode of behavior, no matter if it is a practical or theoretical attitude. On the other hand, objective reason can also refer to men's efforts to reach this structureand their ability to reflect upon this objective order,or their efforts of dialectical thinking and the ability of Eros. In modern times, said Horkheimer,there occurreda tendency of replacing objective reason with subjective reason. If "objective reason" is reason with substantive content and reason as an end in itself, then subjective reason is characterized,correspondingly,by depriving reason of its substantive content, so that reason is "formalized"while "subjectivized,"denying that something can be an end in itself at all. Horkheimerthus summarizedthe relation between pragmatism and the subjective conception of reason in his mind in the following way: "Having given up autonomy, reason has become an instrument.In the formalistic aspect of subjective reason, stressed by positivism, its being unrelatedto objective content is emphasized; in its instrumentalaspect, stressed by pragmatism, its surrenderto heteronymouscontents is emphasized. Reason has become completely harnessed to the social process. Its operationalvalue, its role in the dominationof men and nature, has been made the sole criterion... It is as if thinking itself had been reduced to the level of industrialprocesses, subjectedto a close schedule-in short, made part and parcel of production"([6], p. 21). Comparedwith his paper "On the Problem of Truth,"Horkheimer'scriticism of pragmatismin this book has the following new contents: Firstly, pragmatism is wrong not only in reducing truth to satisfying human interests, but also in stressing that these interests are "ours"-for this reason pragmatismis a kind of subjectivism:"the subjectivismof the school lies in the role that 'our' practices, actions, and interestsplay in its theory of knowledge, not in its acceptanceof a phenomenalisticdoctrine"([6], p. 45). Secondly, what pragmatistsregardas "our"interests cannot become the basis for democracy, even if they are "the people's interests": "Deprived of its rational foundation, the democratic principle becomes exclusively dependent upon the so-called interestsof the people, and these are functions of blind or all too conscious economic forces. The do not offer any guaranteeagainsttyranny.In the period of the free marketsystem, for instance, institutionsbased on the idea of humanrights were accepted by many people as a good instrumentfor controlling the government and maintainingpeace. But if the situationchanges, if powerful economic groups find it useful to set up a dictatorshipand abolish majority rule, no objection founded on reason can be opposed to their action... Once the philosophical foundation of democracy has collapsed, the statement that dictatorshipis bad is rationally valid only for those who are not its beneficiaries,and there is no theoreticalobstacle to the transformationof this statement into its opposite" ([6], pp.28-29). Interestingly, Horkheimerhere resorted to the political ideas of the "Founding Fathers"of the USA to criticize the pragmatist conception of reason. Though advocating the majority rule, they in his mind did not substitute the verdicts of the majority for those of reason. They incorporated"an ingenious system of checks and balances"in the structureof government because they were worried by the possibility that a

301 Congress controlled by the majority would violate the rights of the minority. To Horkheimer'sview, this possibility has, in a sense, already been actualized: "The majority principle, in the form of popular verdicts on each and every matter, implemented by all kinds of polls and modern techniques of communication, has become the sovereign force to which thought must cater. It is a new god, not in the sense in which the heralds of the great revolutions conceived it, namely, as a power of resistanceto existing injustice, but as a power of resistance to anythingthat does not conform"([6], p. 30). In the last analysis, therefore, the major problem Horkheimer found in pragmatism is that there is no dimension in it critical of the existing society. Horkheimer quoted the following remark by Dewey: "Faith in the power of intelligence to imagine a futurewhich is the projectionof the desirablein the present, and to invent the instrumentalities of its realization,is our salvation.And it is a faith which must be nurturedand made articulate;surely a sufficiently large task for our philosophy" ([6], p.53). Here, Horkheimer commented, Dewey mistook the satisfactionof the existing desires of the people for the highest pursuitof mankind. As to "theprojectionof the desirablein the present,"of course, Horkheimersaid that two possible explanationscould be given. According to one explanation,it refers to the desires as they really are, and since these desires are conditionedby the whole social system under which people live, one has reason to doubt whether they actuallyare people's desires at all: "If these desires are accepted in an uncriticalway, not transcendingtheir immediate,subjectiverange, marketresearchand Gallup polls would be a more adequatemeans for ascertainingthem than philosophy"([6], p. 54). As an alternative explanation of "the projection of the desirable in the present," Dewey somehow accepted that a distinction could be made between subjective desire and objective desirability. "Such an admission," Horkheimer said, "would mark just the beginning of critical philosophical analysis-unless pragmatism is willing, as soon as it faces this crisis, to surrenderand to fall back upon back objective reason and mythology"([6], p. 54). To the New Frankfurt School, as we will see below, pragmatismis not merely a "beginning of critical philosophical analysis," but contains plenty of critical resources. Thereforeit does not need to "surrender" itself, not to speak of "falling back upon objective reason and mythology"-as long as, of course, the critical theory (originatedin Germany)is blended with pragmatism(originatedin America), or, the idea of"critique"is blended with the idea of "practice." II The theoreticalprepositionfor the combinationbetween "critique"and "practice"is a new understandingof the relation between theory and practice. The theoretical condition for integrating"critique"with "practice"is a new understandingof the relationbetween theory and practice. Critical theory, in Habermas's words, is "a theory of society conceived with a

302 practical intention"2 ([7], p.1). From this expression, we can see clearly how of the importantthe relationbetween theory and practice is to the self-understanding critical theory. It is no accident that the first philosophical book written by Habermas,a critical theorist, is Theoryand Praxis (1963). But this book is basically a collection of papers on the history of philosophy; Habermas's theoretical explication of the relation between theory and practice was systematically made in his long introductionto this book ten years later. Criticaltheory, in Habermas'smind, is a development of the theoreticaltradition of historical materialism, and historical materialism contains in itself the relation between theory and practice in two senses. On the one hand, it studies the historical condition outside the theory; on the other hand, it studies the action situation in which the theory can possibly interfere.A theory of society in this sense, or a critical theory of society, is differentboth from scientific and philosophical theories. Unlike science, it does not hold an objectivist attitudetowards its object; unlike philosophy,

it does not regardits own origin as something or somethingwith transcendent,


ontological superiority. While arguingfor understanding "theory"as "critique," Habermasinsists to make a distinctionbetween "praxis"and "techne."The idea that serves as the connecting thread of the discussion in Theory and Practice, according to him, is "the Aristotelian distinction between praxis and techne" ([7], p.1). Habermasexplicates the distinction in his own terms: "Technicalquestions are posed with a view to the rationally goal-directed organization of means and the rational selection of instrumentalalternatives, once the goals (values and maxims) are given. Practical question, on the other hand, are posed with a view to the acceptance or rejection of norms, especially norms for action, the claims to validity of which we can supportor oppose with reasons"([7], p. 3). As far as this paper's theme is concerned, the most importantconsequence of Habermas'snew understanding of"theory" and "practice"outlined above, is that he both expands and modifies Horkheimer'sconception of verification presupposedin the latter's criticism of pragmatism. Firstly, Habermas argues that any type of knowledge is inherently related to practice. We mentioned above that Habermas differentiated the concept of "practice"in a general sense into "praxis"and "techne"in particularsenses. After this differentiation,"practice"in general is still a useful concept in anothersense: it refers to human activities in everyday life or in a general sense, and these activities are always connected with human interestsand aspirations.It is in this sense that we say that Habermas argues for inherent connections between practice and human knowledge. In his mind, every type of scientific theory has behind itself a type of human interest, either the subject's interest in technical control of the object, or the communication between subjects. These cognitive interests function not as the motives of researchersin the psychological sense, nor as the backgroundof research in the sense of sociology of knowledge, nor as the genetic structureof a human being in the biological sense. "Rather, they result from the imperatives of a sociocultural life-form dependent on labor and language" ([7], p. 9). This kind of
2 Italics mine.

303 sociocultural life-form is, of course, an empirical fact, but the cognitive interests produced thereby enjoy the position which Kant gives to his "a prior form of knowledge": condition without which no experience is possible, or condition without which no objectivity is possible. By relating knowledge to human interests in such a close way, Habermas's critical theory moves towards pragmatismat the meta-theoreticallevel. According to him, just like to pragmatists,"knowledge for the sake of knowledge" is in principle impossible. In the Horkheimerterminology mentioned above, this position of Habermascan also be regardedas a result of the transitionfrom "objectivereason"to "subjectivereason." Secondly, in Habermas'smind, critical theory, as a "theoryof society conceived with a practical intention," is meant to address "practical questions" instead of "technical questions": it is concerned with the communicative relation between subjects, but not the knowing and interferingrelation between subject and object; the major way of its study of social relations and social agents is intersubjective but not the subject's observationof the object. Furthermore, critical understanding, theory is not only different from the natural science and the social science embodying human interest in technical control, but also different from the human-historical sciences in the ordinary sense which are supposed to be the embodiment of the human interest in subjective communication. These human-historical sciences presuppose the cognitive interest in intersubjective communication, while critical theory not only presupposes this interest, but also self-consciously reflects upon this interest,and makes efforts to expose and criticize obstacles to communication.Thus, critical theory is not only characterizedby the fact that cognitive interests are admitted in its methodological self-understanding, but also by the fact that it has a cognitive interest in the new sense: it has itself an interestin humanemancipation. Thirdly, critical theory with the emancipatory interest in the above sense is significantly different both from classical Marxism and the first generation of the Frankfurt School not only in termsof a theory's normativebasis, but also in termsof a theory's practicaleffect. In terms of a theory's normative basis, classical Marxism bases the hope for human emancipation on the development of the productive forces and the objectively lawful historical process of fundamental contradictions of society produced thereby. Facing the fact that the expected success of the projects of practiceon the basis of this theorywas delayed again and again, membersof the first generationof the FrankfurtSchool criticized pragmatismfor its thesis of testing a theory's truth by its success in practice, on the one hand, and more and more resorted to a conception of reason that is neither based on the objective law of history nor reduced to "subjective reason." But on the whole this conception of reason is more a negative one (criticism of reality) than a positive one (imagination of alternatives).The so-called "dialecticallogic" referredto in Horkheimer'sEclipse of Reason and Marcuse's One Dimensional Man is, in the last analysis, nothing but Adorno's Negative Dialectics. Considering this, therefore, Habermassays that the normativebasis of a theory of society with practicalintentionis not dialogical logic, but "the logic of undistortedlanguage communication":"Competentorators know that every consensus attained can in fact be deceptive; but they must always have

304 been in possession of the prior concept of the rational consensus underlying the concept of a deceptive (or merely compulsory) consensus. Reaching an understandingis a normative concept; everyone who speaks a naturallanguage has

intuitiveknowledgeof it and is therefore confidentof being able, in principle, to


distinguish a true consensus from a false one" ([7], p. 17). In order to ascertainthe normative basis of critical theory, according to Habermas,we should "clarify the normativeimplications that lie in the concept of possible understanding with which every speaker(and hearer)is naively familiar"([7], p. 17). In terms of a theory's practical effect, Habermas says that we should make a distinction between three functions of a social theory, or three criteriaby which a theory's function is tested: forming theoretical understanding,organizing practical enlightenmentand being engaged in actual struggle. He writes: "The mediation of theory and praxis can only be clarified if to begin with we distinguish three functions, which are measured in terms of different criteria: the formation and extension of critical theorems, which can stand up to scientific discourse; the organizationof processes of enlightenment,in which such theorems are applied and can be tested in a unique mannerby the initiation of processes of reflection carried on within certain groups toward which these processes have been directed; and the selection of appropriate strategies,the solution of tactical questions, and the conduct of the political struggle"([7], p. 32). In fulfilling these three functions a theory aims at, respectively, three things: true statements, authentic insights, and prudent decisions. In the history of the Europeanworking-class movement, all three tasks were traditionallyassigned to the partyorganizationat the same time. But Habermas argues that these functions could not be fulfilled according to one and the same principle: "a theory can only be formulated under the precondition that those engaged in scientific work have the freedom to conduct theoretical discourse; processes of enlightenment(if they are to avoid exploitationand deception) can only be organized under the precondition that those who carry out the active work of enlightenmentcommit themselves wholly to the properprecautionsand assure scope for communications on the model of therapeutic 'discourses'; finally, a political struggle can only be legitimately conductedunder the preconditionthat all decisions of consequence will depend on the practicaldiscourse of the participants--heretoo, and especially here, there is no privileged access to truth"([7], p. 34). If all of the three functionswere to be fulfilled at the same time, we could either achieve success in none of these aspects, or achieve success in one aspect only at the cost of others. The above analysis is mainly meant to answer the question of the verification of critical theory itself; as we have seen, Horkheimercriticized pragmatismfirst of all because the pragmatistconception of truthas success in practiceposed a great threat to the validity of critical theory. Briefly speaking, Habermas's answer to this question is this: the validity (truth)of critical theory must be tested at various levels, and the aspect that Horkheimer claimed to be the emphasis of pragmatism, the action, is, in a sense, the least importantin the aspect of the instrumental-strategic verification of critical theory. Habermaswrites: "The first step of corroborationis scientific discourse; there the claim to truth of theoretically derived hypotheses is supportedor refutedin the usual form of scientific argumentation. Naturallya theory which does not survive discursive examinationmust be rejected, and, of course, the

305 claim to validity of reflexive theories can only be confirmed tentatively. But it can

which lead to the only be realizedin the successfulprocessesof enlightenment, of those free of concerned, acceptanceby any compulsion, the theoretically derivableinterpretations. To be sure, processes of enlightenment, too, merely supportthe theory'sclaim to truth,withoutvalidatingit, as long as all those has reference, havenot involved,to whomthe theoretical potentially interpretation had the chanceof acceptingor rejectingthe interpretation offeredundersuitable circumstances. Fromthis resultsa reservation with respectto the application of of a politicalstruggle" reflexivetheoriesunderthe conditions ([7], pp. 37-38). In
other words, the test of critical theory, which can also be called the "practicaltest" of critical theory, contains mainly two levels: the level of scientific discourse, and the level of public enlightenment.Actual political struggle is, of course, relevantto critical theory, but Habermasargues that it is relevant only indirectly. The direct practicalconsequence of critical theory, as a critical self-reflection, is the change of attitudebroughtforthby the insight into the causalities in thepast, while the goal of political struggle, which Habermasplaces in the category of strategicaction instead of public enlightenmentin the category of communicative action, is to bring forth changes of social reality in thefuture. That is to say, critical theory reflecting upon the past does not provide plans for action in the future, and neither can this kind of action provide verification for the theory. Participantsin a political struggle should be actors who have undergone enlightenment, and their practical discourses concerning strategiesand goals of the political struggle also belong to the "logic of undistortedlanguage communication."Since one of the tasks of critical theory is to work on this logic, political struggle is also relevant to critical theory. Moreover, Habermasthinks that under the condition of strategic action, critical theory can be applied in the following sense: it can be used to interpretthe present in retrospect from the perspective of the future. Although strategic action can be explicated by means of this interpretation, however, the lattercannot be verified by this action. In Habermas's view, critical theory's "claim to validity can be verified only in the successful process of enlightenment:in the practical discourse of those concerned ([7], p. 2). When he was writing the introductionto Theoryand Practice discussed above, he more or less identified critical theory to self-reflection both at the level of the individualand the level of the species, and in this self-reflectionwere included two forms: reflection on the false consciousness produced by the ego (Freudian psychoanalysis and the critique of ideology on this model) and reflection on the normal competence of everyday communication. Habermas later admits that to presupposea parallelbetween the individualand the species is to comparea "micro subject"to a "macrosubject,"and thus to commit the mistake of the "philosophyof consciousness" or the "paradigmof subjectivity." He also comes to make clear distinctionsbetween the two forms of self-reflection, and to a large degree focus his attention on the second form of self-reflection, i.e., self-reflection on the normal competence of everyday communication. Self-reflection in this sense requires that the emphasis of critical theory be transferredfrom the critique of oppressive and deceiving forces to the reconstructionof the normativefoundationof critical theory itself, and to turn its attention from the theory of knowledge to the theory of

306 communication, the result of which is his book The Theory of Communicative Action, published in the early 1980s. In an articlepublished in 1999, Habermastakes his own theory of communicative action as an example in discussing the relation between theory and practice. Here Habermas's focus of attention is no longer the relationbetween critical theory and practice,but the relation between philosophical theory and practice; but in some sense his discussion of the relation between philosophy and practice is just his discussion of the relation between critical theory and practice: he seems to hold that in our times it would be better for every philosopherto be a critical theorist, though "critical"in a much less radical sense to many people's mind. In our "post-metaphysical period,"accordingto Habermas,the best job a philosophercan do is not to solve technical problems as an expert, nor to convey the meaning of life as a spiritual teacher, but to take part in public discussions as intellectuals of modern society. Compared with other types of intellectuals (such as writers, professionals and scientists), philosophers are more competent in dealing with some types of questions. The first type of questions Habermas takes as example are questions of totality, such as the question of the self-understandingof modern society as its self-diagnosis: from the eighteenth century on, discourse of modernity is first of all made in philosophical form, or in the form of reason's self-critique. The second type of questions Habermas mentioned are those across different spheres: because of its connection with the totality and its "multilingual"nature, it can play an important role in mutual communication and interpretation between different spheres and disciplines. Philosophy's role of mediation between science and common sense, between professional language and everyday language, for example, may help criticize and overcome the phenomenaof the so-called "colonizationof the lifeworld." The third type of questions Habermasmentioned are those of normativenature:philosophy is specially equipped to deal with normative questions, especially basic questions of the common life of just politics. Philosophy and democracy not only shared a common situationof origin in their histories, but also depend on each other in their structures.The public influence of philosophical thinking requires the institutional support of freedom of thought and communication,and the democratic discourses that are constantly under threat in turn depend on philosophy's warning and interferenceas a public guardianof democracy. Habermas says: "In the history of modern Europe, from Rousseau through Hegel and Marx to John StuartMill and John Dewey, political philosophy has exerted considerable public influences" ([8], p.331). The fact that Habermashere mentioned Dewey, and mentioned Dewey's political philosophy ratherthan his theory of knowledge, is no accident, but shows Habermas, as the majorthinkerof the second generaionof the Frankfurt School, has a new and a view American as whole. On the new interpretation of quite positive pragmatism of the relation between theory and practice and the relation between critique and conception of truththat had been regardedas practice, pragmatism'sinstrumentalist the majorthreatto the validity of criticaltheory, is now no longer consideredto be a threat;some of its ideas that had been regardedas less importantare now raised up to much higher positions; the critical dimension that had been seen only as merely a possibility in it is now valued as its most important contribution: "critique"is

307 because "practice" thought to be capable of integrationwith "practice" proves to be

"critical" in the firstplace.


III In Habermas'scritical theory, the concept of "practice"can basically be understood at the following four levels, from the more abstractones to the more concrete ones: communicative action, rational argumentation, public discussion and political culture. At all these levels, Habermas found important intellectual resources in pragmatist philosophers. (1) Communicativeaction Habermas,as we said above, laid emphasis on the distinctionbetween "practice" and "technical activity" (or "instrumentalaction" and "strategicaction"), and this distinction lies in the fact that while technical activity is concerned with the subject-object relation, practical acvitity is concerned with the intersubjective relation. Rules for technical activities are based on objective laws, and thus cannot be violated, while rules for practicalactivities are based on people's acceptance,and thus can possibly be violated. The so-called practical activities, therefore,are those by which people regulatetheir interactionsaccordingto rules they all accept, or, on a higher and reflexive level, those activities by which they readjustand modify these rules. Ultimately, therefore,practiceis just communicativeaction, and criticaltheory with practicalintent should be based on a theory of communicativeaction. As we have seen from the above discussion on Horkheimer, American pragmatismin his mind is not only a philosophy stressing the importanceof action to knowledge, but also a philosophy stressing the importanceof technical action to knowledge. In Habermas' mind, however, or from the perspective of his theory of communicative action, other aspects in the work done by American pragmatists come to the fore: it turns out that they not only stress the importanceof technical action, but also stress the importanceof communicativeaction; they not only stress the importanceof action to knowledge, but also stress the importanceof action to personal developmentand social integration.CharlesPeirce's semiotics and Herbert Mead's theory of symbolic interaction, respectively, provide Habermas with theoreticalresourcesin these two dimensions. Habermas divides human actions into four basic types: "teleological action", action" have, respectively, the "normativelyregulated action" and "dramaturgical objective world, the social world and the subjective world as their main systems of reference,while "communicativeaction,"or "the interactionof at least two subjects capable of speech and action who establish interpersonalrelations (whether by verbal or by extra-verbalmeans)" ([9], p.86), refers simultaneouslyto these three worlds. The process of "interaction" in this sense is the process in which different subjects reach understandingamong themselves on their situations of action and their plans of action, and in orderto reach this kind understanding, agents must have already mastered the language in which they can understand each other, the competence with which they can defend by reasons their speeches before possible criticism, and this in turn presupposes that they have already got the concept of

308 "reason,"the concept of "validity" defended by reasons, and the concepts of the above-mentioned three worlds respectively connected with the three concepts of validity ("truth,""normativerightness" and "authenticity").These competents, the concepts inherentin the application of these competents, and the relations between these concepts, Habermas called "the general presuppositions for communicative action," and his "universalpragmatics"aims to study these general presuppositions ([10], p.21). It should be noted that when Habermas was systematically explicating his universal pragmatics, he did not start with Peirce's theory. But his universal pragmatics is indirectly related to Peirce's work. Firstly, although the term was coined by AmericanphilosopherCharlesWilliam Morrisat a later "pragmatics" stage of its development, although pragmatics as a branch of linguistics and philosophy.of language was developed mainly under the influence of the later Wittgenstein, Peirce was nevertheless regardedas having laid the foundation stone for pragmatics through his continuing of and debating with Kant's transcendental philosophy ([11], p.1). Secondly, Habermas's efforts in developing his universal pragmatics are closely connected to Apel's similar work ("transcendental pragmatics"),and Apel's work, from its very beginning, is based on his systematic study of Peirce, especially on the superiority of the latter's three-dimensional semiotics (including pragmatics as well as syntax and semantics) over the two-dimensional semiotics (stressing only syntax and semantics) advocated by logical positivists ([12], p.192). Thirdly, Habermas not only made frequent references to Peirce in his discussion of universal pragmatics and his theory of communicativeaction in general, but wrote papers focusing on Peirce's work in this field. In his paper "Peirce and Communication,"for example, Habermas, while criticising Peirce in his later works understoodprocesses of communicationin too abstractterms so that the intersubjectiverelationbetween the speakerand the hearer is overlooked, speaks highly of Peirce's criticism of the "philosophy of consiousness" or the "philosophyof subjectivity,"his emphasis on researchactivity as a process of communication,and his attentionto the fact that a sign both "stands for" something and "standsto" somebody ([13], p. 90). Just as an American scholar points out, "in the development of his theory of communicativeaction, Habermasin fact has always given pragmatism, especially the Peircian version of it, a central meaning"[14]. If Habermas'stheory of communicativeaction is relatedto Peirce only indirectly, then it is related to Mead's work rather directly. In his The Theory of CommunicativeAction, Habermas discusses Mead's social psychology in great detail. Though Mead calls his theory "social behaviorism," Habermas thinks his theory is actually different from behaviorismin two aspects: what he emphasizes in behavior is not the behaviorof an individualorganismas a reactionto stimulus from the environment,but the process of interactionin which at least two organismsreact to each other; and the behaviors he discusses are not limited to observablebehavior reactions, but actions oriented to symbols, and it is thus possible to reconstructthe general structureof the linguistically-mediatedinteractions. Mead is importantto Habermas for more reasons. Both Peirce's semiotics and Habermas's general pragmaticsare interestedonly in the kernel of the "communicativeaction"-speech

309 acts orientedto mutualunderstanding, but not communicativeaction itself, because communicativeaction is not only a process of using symbols, but rathera process of developing interpersonal relations and coordinating actions by making use of symbols. Mead's social psychology is just focused on the second side: "His communicationtheory is not restricted to acts of reaching understanding;it deals with communicationaction. Linguistic symbols and language-like symbols interest him only insofar as they mediate interactions,modes of behavior, and actions of more than one individual. In communicative action, beyond the function of achieving understanding,language plays the role of coordinatingthe goal-directed activities of differentsubjects, as well as the role of a medium in the socialization of these very subjects"([15], p.5). Though he thinks that a communicationtheory that almost exclusively focuses on these two aspects needs to be supplemented by semantics and speech-act theory, Habermas is more interested in seeing the coincidence between Mead's communicationtheory and the theories of language of analytic philosophy: the presuppositions of the process of human individuals' individuationthrough socialization discussed by Mead, are just those general and ([13], p. indispensablepresuppositionsof the action orientedto mutualunderstanding 191). (2) Rationalargumentation In Habermas,communicativeaction and rationalargumentation have an internal relation to each other. On the one hand, everyday communicative action is the and their relation is similarto that between potential form of rationalargumentation human anatomy and monkey anatomy mentioned by Marx. The "general presuppositionsof communicative action" referredto above are made in everyday communicationonly tacitly and unconsciously, and only through research into the process of rational argumentation can we have full understanding of these is the specialised form of presuppositions.On the otherhand, rationalargumentation communicativeaction. In everyday communicativeaction, each agent's action plans are presupposed and need to be coordinatedwith each other through speech acts oriented to understanding.When this effort of coordination fails, however, if the alternativeof strategic action (such as bargainingand threatening)is to be avoided, one has to resort to the choice of argumentationor discourse. In argumentationor discourse, the focus of attentionis no longer on each agent's teleological action, but on the negation or affirmation of the validity claims raised in these speech acts. These considerationsare closely relatedto Habermas'sview of the relationbetween theory and practice. On the one hand, argumentativeactivity is also a type of practical activity: it is the "practice of research"([16], p.367), different from the "practiceof life." In epistemology and the philosophy of science, when discussing the relation between theory and practice, one usually regards theory as a static system of abstractconcepts, and regardspractice as actions searching for concrete aims. When he regardsargumentativeaction, the typical case of which is scientific research, as a type of practical action, he accepts some important ideas in the philosophy of science influencednot only by the laterWittgenstein,Quine and Kuhn, but also by Americanpragmatism.On the other hand, however, though being a type of practice, argumentativeactivity is not meant to bring forth particularchanges in the three worlds (the objective world, the social world and the subjectiveworld), but

310 somehow "brackets" the aim of bringing forththis kind of change. Or in Habermas's words, "discourserequiresvirtualizingvarious restrictionsof action"([7], p. 18). To test a theory by practice,therefore,does not mean necessarily to make it the basis of a plan of action in the "worlds,"and thus to show its theoreticalvalidity throughits validity in actual action. A "practicaltest" of a theory can now also be understoodin this way: to place it in a situation of rational argumentation,and to scrutinize its validity claim by intersubjective discussion and criticism. As far as Habermas's critical theory is concerned, the importance of rational argumentationhas another two special aspects. On the one hand, in terms of its substantive contents, Habermas's theory of modernity, his theory of discourse ethics, his political philosophy, and his philosophy of law, are all developed on the basis of his theory of On the other hand, in terms of the way of justification of this theory, argumentation. Habermas, like Apel, often uses the argument of "performative contradiction" against oppositions from post-structuralismand post-modernism:those who argue against the contemporaryform of rationalismwith communicative rationalityas its kernel are opposing what they have already presupposed from the moment when they startedtheir argumentation ([17], pp.80-81). The fact that scientific research is a type of intersubjective communication between members of the scientific community has been noticed by American pragmatistsas early as Peirce. In his Knowledge and Human Interests published in the late 1960s, Habermasmentioned Peirce's work in this aspect, but did not give it high regard.There Habermasdiscurssed Peirce in great detail, regardinghim as an example of self-reflection of naturalscience, but he thought that Peirce took notice only of the transcendentalconnection between knowledge and instrumentalaction (this idea of Peirce, by the way, was absorbedinto Habermas'sconception of human cognitive interests as one of its major dimensions), but did not move furtherby making serious reflection upon the intersubjective communication within the communityof researchers.Several years later, Habermasadmittedthat when he was writing that book, he had not made a clear distinction between everyday communication and scientific argumentation. In his consensus theory of truth developed systematically in the early 1970s, one can see a clear affinity with Peirce's conception of truth.In the paper "Peirce and Communication,"Habermas, while criticizing Peirce for basing symbolic processes on a cosmopologist theory rather than an intersubjective framework, affirmed his view that no empirical objectivity is possible without intersubjectivityinvolved in the process of reaching of Peirce's ideas in this aspect includes understanding.Habermas's"reconstruction" the following points: there is an internalconnectionbetween private experience and public communication; public communication must take the form of rational the consensus reached in this argumentation is the "supremecourt of argumentation; appeal"in knowledge; this consensus is neverthelessnot to be identified with what happensto be agreed upon within a certainparticular group, but refers to the "final ideal under conditions: "Peirce makes the rationalacceptabilityof an reached opinion" an assertion,and thus its truthas well, dependent upon agreementthatcould be reached under communicativeconditions for a communityof investigatorsthat is extendedto ideal limits in social space and historicaltime" ([13], p. 103). In his book Between Facts and Norms published in the early 1990s, Habermas speaks more highly of

.,11

Peirce's workin thisaspect, it as one of themostimportant efforts madeby regarding


beforehim in explicatingthe tensionbetweenthe so-called"facticity" and philosophers inherentin everydaylinguisticcommunication and scientificargumentation, "validity" which, in Habermas'smind, is the ultimateroot of the similartensions inherentin the democraciesin the West in general([18], modernlegal system and even constitutional pp.29-32). (3) Public discussion Rational argumentation differentiates itself from everyday communicative activities, on the one hand, and differentiatesitself into different spheres of expert culture (cognitive discourse of science, normative discourse of law and morality, evaluative discourse of art criticism and aesthetics), on the other. In addition to communicative actions at these levels and in these spheres, Habermasstresses the importanceof public discussion, or free discussion and public use of reason among people as private persons gathering in the public sphere (especially the political public sphere)on issues of public interest.On the one hand, taking place in a sphere between everyday life and expert cultural spheres, this kind of discussion neither aims to make particular action plans, nor limits itself in circles of experts and bracketsthe pressuresof action altogether.On the otherhand, this kind of discussion can play a role in mediatingbetween different expert cultural spheres: same issues, such as Germanunification and humancloning, are discussed by experts in different spheres in non-professional and everyday language that are understandableboth among themselves and to the general public. Modern society, according to Habermas, is both a society whose politically dominant order can only be legitimized by the consent of those under it, and a society with highly differentiated and complex functional systems. Under this condition, "systems" (economy and administration, with money and power as their respective steering media) differentiatedfrom the "lifeworld"(the location of meaning, solidarityand identity and with communicationas the steering medium) can neitherbe reducedback to the lifeworld, since this would mean the negation of the complexity of modern society, and thus the negation of many achievements of social evolution, nor be allowed to control or even swallow the lifeworld, since this would lead to the exhaustion of meaning, loss of freedom and crisis of identity. Public discussions in the public sphere can thus play the role of a "soundingboard"sensitive to social problemsand crises, and a place where public opinions and public wills, which are to be transferred to the functionalsystems throughdemocraticlegislation, are formed. Public discussion in the above sense is importantto Habermas'scriticaltheory in three aspects. Firstly, it is an importantpart of the normativecontent of this theory: if this content can be called "socialism,"it is opposed neither to individualism,nor to capitalism, but to "economism" and "statism," since its kernel is a "society" understoodas the "lifeworld,"including first of all the public sphere in the above sense. Secondly, a theory advocating these ideas has to address the problem of the unity between practice and theory in a particularsense: theoretically stressing the importance of public discussion, Critical Theory needs to keep a so-called "performativeconsistency" in practice, that is to say, critical theorists themselves should become active participantsin free discussions in the public sphere. This kind of "performative consistency" can be clearly seen in Habermas, as a public

312 intellectualactively involved in variouspublic discussions on many importantissues in the last half of the century. Thirdly, as we said above, Habermasargues that the major practical effect of Critical Theory is not the result of a plan of instrumental action on its basis, but the result of a process of public enlightenmenton its basis. From the importanceHabermasattachesto the idea of public discussion we can more easibly understandwhy he is so interested in Dewey, compared to other American pragmatist philosophers. Dewey did so much work on scientific methology or what he called the logic of inquirymainly because he wanted to apply it in the fields of formation of personality (education) and formation of public opinions and public wills (the public sphere), or to unite Mr. Science with Mr. Democracy, as Chinese intellectualswould say duringthe May FourthMovement in the early twentieth century. In his book Towards a Rational Society published in of politics represented 1968, Habermasdiscusses three models of the "scientization" is necessarilyrelatedto by Dewey, and says that "only one of them, the pragmatistic, democracy" ([19], p.67). This view has two reasons. According to this model, on the one hand, "the development of new techniques is governed by a horizon of needs of these needs, in other words, of values and historically determinedinterpretations "these social as reflected in the value systems, the other on interests, hand, systems"; are regulatedby being tested with regardto the technical possibilities and strategic means for their gratification"([19],p.67). Although in Habmeras'smind Dewey did not make clear distinctionsbetween the roles in the public sphere played by natural science, by social science on the model of natural science, and by the humanties beyond the model of natural science ([19], p.72), although Dewey's view of the social significance of science can also be understood as one case of "scientific expertocracy"([20],p.564), Habermasthinks that "afterKant it was above all John StuartMill and John Dewey who analyzed the principle of publicity and the role an informed public opinion should have in feeding and monitoring parliament,"and says that their view is indispensable to a proper understandingof the idea of "popularsovereignty" ([21], p. 171). That is why in one of the most influential biographies of Dewey published in recent years, John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism, the author regards Habermas as "the most Deweyan" of contemporarysocial theorists ([20], p.357). The authorthen goes on to say, "There are many connections between Habermas's ideas about emancipatory forms of social theory and Dewey's conception of philosophy as social criticism; there is a clear affinity between the way Dewey's Democracy and Education links human communication and democracy and the way Habermas develops an account of democracy in communicative terms in his enormous Theory of Communicative Action." From what is provided in this biography, Dewey as a public intellectual took an active role in discussions in the public sphere and this is also clearly similar to Habermas. What is more important is that these activities and opinions are, contraryto Horkheimer'sidea, not irrelevantto his pragmatistphilosophy. (4) Political culture "Practice"refers not only to particularactivities, but also to patterns in these activities or that which the later Wittgensteincalls "formsof life." If we understand political culture as a kind of practice in this sense, then practice in this sense is also highly relevant to Habermas's critical theory. Firstly, one of the salient features of

313

Habermas's critical on "internal criticism" of Western theoryis the emphasis society,


or criticism of it accordingto the "unfulfilledpromise"of this society itself, and this "promise"is embodied not only in constitutionaldocuments resulting from major bourgeois revolutions,but also in the political culture formed in Western society in modern times. Political culture, in Habermas's mind, is "political"not only in the sense that it is concernedwith political issues, activities and institutions,but also in the sense that it is formed through political processes: it is thus different not only from "apolitical culture,"but also from "pre-politicalculture." It is "political,"so that it can serve as a basis for the collective identity of an increasinglymulticultural national society; it is a "culture," so that it can relate to people's motives and attitudes,and thus create "the supportivespirit of a consonantbackgroundof legally noncoerciblemotives and attitudesof a citizenry orientedtowardthe common good" ([21], p. 499). On the one hand, political culture in this sense should distance itself from the mainstreamcultural tradition, so that it can treat as many subculturesas possible. On the other hand, it should have a sufficient force of integration,so that a multicultural political community can be held together. Developing a political culturein this sense is, in Habermas'smind, one of the majortasks of contemporary Critical Theory, and to see whetherthis task has been successfully accomplished is an important way of testing CriticalTheory in practice. The political culture in postwar Germany was developed on the basis of the political education under the tautology of the occupying allied forces led by the USA and the Grundrechte that embodies the principles of constitutionaldemocracy in the West. This process can also be regarded as one of "Westernization,"even of the Germannation that had traditionallythoughthighly of its "Americanization," particulargeopolitical position and cultural identity. Generally speaking, Habermas gives consent to this process because he thinks that in Americancultureone can find something important that is lacking in the German nation; "constitutional patriotism,"the political culture that the BRD as a democracy is in urgent need of, has the USA as its model. When he was criticizing new conservatives in Germany, he compared it to those in America, noting that the American new conservatives relatively had raised more significant questions, and made more creative theoretical analyses. This difference, Habermasthought, resulted from the difference between the political cultures of the two countries. Thereforehe said: "The political culture of the FederalRepublic would be in worse condition today if it had not adoptedand assimilated ideas from American political culture during the first decades after the war. For the first time, the FederalRepublic opened itself without reservationto the West; at that time we adoptedthe political theory of the Enlightenment,we came to understandthe power of a pluralism borne initially by religious sects to shape attitudes, and we came to know the radical democratic spirit of American pragmatism,from Peirce to Mead and Dewey" ([23], p.45). In an interview around the same time, Habermassaid: "Like Rorty, I have for a long time identified myself with that radical democratic mentality which is present in the best American traditions and articulated in American pragmatism" ([24], p.198). The latest evidence on the common ground between Habermas, Rorty as well as classical pragmatismcame with Habermas'sresortto Americanpragmatism. Though sharing the radical democratic mentality articulated by American

314 pragmatistphilosophers, Habermasand Rorty have opposite views on the relation between democracy and pragmatismas philosophy. While claiming time and again that philosophy cannot justify democracy, Rorty frequently refers to remarks by Dewey and other classical pragmatistson democracy,and criticizes those who claim to be leftists but neglect the traditionof pragmatism,saying that these people are abandoning for no reason the American nation's proudest achievements. These seemingly conflicting views are rooted in Rorty's understanding of American pragmatism:this philosophy, in his view, does not give theoreticaljustification for democracy on universalistic grounds, but provides "stories" or "narratives"that appeal to one's feelings and imagination, and have to a large degree formed the minds and self-images of the American nation. In an article titled "Truthwithout correspondenceto reality," Rorty argued that philosophy has nothing to do with politics and the same philosophy can have different political uses, and then said: "For all that, Dewey was not entirely wrong when he called pragmatism "the philosophy of democracy." What he had in mind is that both pragmatism and America are expressions of a hopeful, melioristic, experimental frame of mind. I think the most one can do by way of linking up pragmatismwith America is to say that both the country and its most distinguishedphilosophersuggest that we can, in politics, substitutehope for the sort of knowledge which philosophers have usually tried to attain([25], p.24). But Habermasdoes not agree with this view. In his mind, this political culture, this "radicaldemocraticmentality which is present in the best American traditions and articulated in American pragmatism," is not something monopolized by a particular nation or culture, but has in it a transcendent dimension and a universalistic kernel, and can thus be justified philosophically. Habermas's own work, his thoery of communicativeaction, his discussions on rationalargumentation and public sphere, in the last analysis, are all efforts to excavate and justify this universalistickernel.

IV
Going back to Putnam's remark quoted at the beginning of the paper, we may mention an interesting fact to finish this paper. Putnam suggested that comparison be made between the New Frankfiurt School and the Americanpragmatismof James and Peirce, but to my knowledge Habermas almost never quoted James in his philosophical discussions, although his first encounter with American pragmatism was through a Viennese philosopher who had been the first German translatorof William James, and he said he was impressed very much by the lines of the later inscribed in James Hall at Harvard:"The community stagnateswithout the impulse of the individual, the impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community"([26], p.228). Putnam once made a comparison between Dewey and James, and this comparsion may help us understandHabermas's attitude towards James. While regarding Dewey's social philosophy as "overwhelmingly right," Putnam said that his emphasis on science, argumentationand rationality is not so satisfactory if applied to individual existential choices. Comparatively, Putnam

315 thoughtthat in this kind of cases James's view that one should sometimes make his

decisionon issuesvitalto his life "inadvance is moresuitable([27], of the evidence" pp.190-192).Here the differencebetweenDewey and James could perhapsbe characterized as one between their attitudestowardswhat Horkheimer called
"objective reason or mythology." Like Dewey, James no longer accepts "objective reason"; unlike Dewey, James still preserves some room for a certain form of "mythology,"or a transcendentgod in which one cannot believe on scientific basis. What is common to most classical American pragmatistsand the New Frankfurt School is a "critical philosophical analysis" without "falling back upon objective reason and mythology," or in a phrase Habermas used not only when he was discussing with theologians ([28], pp.67-94), but also when he was interpreting Peirce's conception of truth:"transcendence from within" (Transzendenzvon innen) ([21], p. 14). School in China, we Reading both Americanpragmatismand the New Frankfurt the Chinese interest may note an interestingfact that might also help one understand in the former since the first decades of the last century and the Chinese interest in the latter in the last couple of years: the idea of "transcendence from within" or the idea of "immanent transcendence"happens to be one that many contemporary Chinese scholars claim to be centralin the traditionalChinese culture in general and in Confucianismin particular3.

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23. JuergenHabermas. New ConservativeCulturalCriticismin the United States and West Germany, in Juergen Habermas, The New Conservatism:Cultural Criticism and the MITPress, 1989) Historians'Debate, (ambidge,Mass.:The 24. Juergen Habermas.Question and Counter Questions, in Richard J. Bernstein (ed.), Habermas and Modernity, Mass.:The MITPress, 1985 Cambridge, 25. RichardRorty.TruthwithoutCorrespondence to reality, in: Rorty,Philosophyand Social Hope, PenguinBooks, 1999 26. JuergenHabermas. Reflectionson Pragmatism, in MitchellAboulafia(ed.), Habermasand Pragmatism, 2002 MyraBookmanandCatherine Kemp,LondonandNew York:Routledge, 27. Hilary Putnam. Renewing Philosophy, Cambridge, Mass/London, England: Harvard UniversityPress, 1998 28. JuergenHabermas.Transcendence from Within, Transcendence in This World, in His Religion and Rationality:Essays on Reason, God, and Modernity,edited and with an Introduction Mendieta, by Eduardo PolityPress,2002 29. ZhengJiadong."Transcendence" and"Immanent Transcendence": betweenMo Zongsanand Kant(in Chinese),Zhongguo ShehuiKexue(ChinaSocial Sciences),Vol. 4, 2001