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Re: [xmca] Understanding is no method but rather a form of communication

Thanks for the article by Jack mendelson on the Habermas Gadamer Debate.
I believe this is a relevant article for discussing the tension between
hermeneutical understanding and theoretical/methodological explanation.

The question of how does one bridges *mis-understandings* is throughly
discussed in this article. However, as I read the article I was *seeing* an
example of hermeneutical understanding unfold in these pages. Jack
Mendelson, by differentiating the differences between Gadamer and Habermas
was also developing a clarification where a *fusion* of understanding
between Habermas and Gadamer could develop.
I experienced, in my reading of the article a *fusion* [which is another
term for metaphoricity] which is not emphasizing IDENTITY or DIFFERENCE but
the linking or bridging through metaphorical AS consciousness [fusion]

Mendelson also I believe gave an example of hermeneutical understanding
when he wrote that critical theory can,

"justify the normative basis of critical theory, i.e., to unfold a vision
of a free society using linguistic categories. He argues for the need for
such a grounding by referring to the change in the structure of bourgeois
ideology. Crudely put, Habermas sees this as a movement from modern natural
law and equivalence exchange to technocratic ideologies such as systems

72. Habermas, Theory and Practice, trans. John Viertel (Boston, 1973), pp.
30-1. 73. See McCarthy, op. cit., pp. 211-213.

theory. According to Habermas this change implies that the young Marx's
strategy of immanent critique can no longer be relied upon. In his early
writings Marx had been able to derive a normative foundation from the
claims which bourgeois society made for itself in concepts like freedom,
justice, equality, democracy, etc. By using these norms as a critical
standard so as to release their utopian content he was merely "singing
bourgeois society its own tune" when he criticized its failure to live up
to them. But, with the new technocratic ideologies which attack practical
reason per se, the strategy of immanent critique founders: "The new
ideology is distinguished from its predecessor in that it severs the
criteria for justifying the organization of social life from any normative
refutation of interaction, thus depoliticizing them." Either these new
ideologies have no utopian content against which to measure reality, or
else their immanent vision when unfolded issues in a kind of nightmare of
cybernetic self-regulation. Thus, Habermas deems it necessary to rethink
the normative grounds of critique. To make Habermas' strategy still more
plausible, it should be pointed out that the history of Marxist theory also
provides good reasons for tackling this problem. For by the time of Marx's
later theories, and still more evidently in Second International Marxism,
the concept of socialism came to be defined not so much as the
radicalization and realization of the bourgeois concepts of freedom and
democracy but as the overcoming of private property and the anarchy of the
market through state ownership and centralized planning. The authoritarian
potential of such a view should by now be obvious to everyone. Given this
development, one of the strengths of Habermas' concept of communication
free of domination is that it firmly links the need to overcome capitalism
to the effort to realize the ideals of freedom and democracy in all areas
of life. This is an ideal which would be incapable of letigimating
single-party dictatorships in the way that orthodox Marxism now does"

Martin, as I read the above excerpt I *see* an evolution or development of
theory *as* hermeneutical [engaging with the tradition of critical theory
to *see through* its prejudgements.  This is not to argue that the
bourgeois ideals [which became radicalized] are no longer relevant as
private ownership of property became ascendant in critical theory. It is
only to *see through* the hermeneutical movement always grounded in
historically constituted prejudgements [via the hermeneutical process of
reflection] This view does not oppose reason to tradition [and authority]
but suggests a process of received understanding which is pre-reflective
[within traditions] becoming reflected upon and thereby forming that
tradition. This is a historically constituted movement where ALL theories
are constantly evolving or developing from WITHIN traditions PROSPECTIVELY
[with no teleological direction] Retrospectively looking back we can impose
a narrative hsitory AS following a particular line but this is a process of
memory which RE-visions what was chaotic and tangled when emerging into
self/world [being-in-the-world.

Jean Lave in her article discussing how her ideas transformed as she
developed her research as craft is also a hermeneutical exploration in
understanding, interpretation and understanding.

I would recomment others read Jack Mendelson's article as they may *hear* a
different tone of voice. I heard Gadamer and Habermas TOGETHER , in their
mis-understandings further developing our shared understanding.

On Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 4:42 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu> wrote:

> Now I'm puzzled, maybe because my reference point for action research is
> teacher research. Many of them are quite wizened from experience both in
> the classroom and from reading, often in graduate seminars. So I'm not
> buying the dichotomy between practitioners and researchers, or the idea
> that practitioners have no sense of the whole.
> Peter Smagorinsky
> Distinguished Research Professor of English Education
> Department of Language and Literacy Education
> The University of Georgia
> 309 Aderhold Hall
> Athens, GA 30602
> Advisor, Journal of Language and Literacy Education
> Follow JoLLE on twitter @Jolle_uga
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
> Behalf Of Martin Packer
> Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 8:51 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Understanding is no method but rather a form of
> communication
> Peter,
> This is one of the topics, and a point of disagreement, in the debate
> between Gadamer and Habermas. The question gets framed as whether one needs
> something more than the ability to participate in a community of practice
> in order to conduct research that is transformative, emancipatory. (Not all
> action research tries to do this, of course.) Gadamer argued that the
> potential for critique and change is immanent in the practices. Habermas
> argued that the researcher needs something more. He has changed his
> position on what exactly this is over the course of his career; his first
> proposal was that the researcher needs a theory of the distortions that
> exist in everyday practical activity in order to critique them and change
> them. I tend to think of it as a claim that a researcher needs something
> that few if any participants have - a sense of the whole.
> Martin
> On Jul 17, 2012, at 2:39 PM, Peter Smagorinsky wrote:
> > So, just wondering, if action research is truly a bottom-up activity,
> why go to theorists to justify it?
> >
> > Peter Smagorinsky<http://www.coe.uga.edu/~smago/vita/vitaweb.htm>
> > Distinguished Research
> > Professor<http://www.ovpr.uga.edu/docs/policies/iga/DRP-Guidelines.pdf
> > > of<http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/of> English
> > Education<http://www.coe.uga.edu/lle/english/secondary/index.html>
> > Department of Language and Literacy
> > Education<http://www.coe.uga.edu/lle/english/secondary/index.html>
> > The University of Georgia<http://www.uga.edu/>
> > 309 Aderhold Hall<http://www.coe.uga.edu/about/directions.html>
> > Athens<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athens,_Georgia>,<http://owl.engli
> > sh.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/02/>
> > GA<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_(U.S._state)>
> > 30602<http://www.city-data.com/zips/30602.html>
> >
> > Advisor, Journal of Language and Literacy
> > Education<http://jolle.coe.uga.edu/>
> > Follow JoLLE on twitter @Jolle_uga
> >
> > From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu]
> > On Behalf Of Martin Packer
> > Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 2:23 PM
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: Re: [xmca] Understanding is no method but rather a form of
> > communication
> >
> > Hi Larry,
> >
> > I think Gadamer made a valuable contribution to the philosophy and
> theory of hermeneutics, and showed the importance of interpretation in all
> fields. But there are, to my thinking, limitations to his analysis that
> suggest to me that one has to turn elsewhere for a basis for action
> research. Mainly, there is no place for systematic *mis*understanding in
> Gadamer's hermeneutics. He presumes a community of like-minded people,
> united in mutual understanding. it would be nice, I suppose, if life were
> like that, but surely it is not. In most places there is 'an Other who *is*
> an object for the subject,' to play with the words you quoted from Gadamer.
> The debates between Gadamer and Habermas in the 1970s centered around the
> issue of whether there is a place for critique in hermeneutics.
> >
> > Here's one good summary of the debate:
> > Mendelson, J. (1979). The Habermas-Gadamer debate. New German Critique,
> 18, 44-73.
> >
> > Martin
> >
> > On Jul 17, 2012, at 12:58 PM, Larry Purss wrote:
> >
> >> I have been reflecting on action research and the turn it took into
> >> discussing voice, tone of voice, and the loss or extinguishing of
> >> voice when others are marginalized.
> >>
> >> I came across this statement from Gadamer who wrote the foreword to
> >> the book "Introduction to Philosophical Hermeneutics" by Jean Grondin.
> >>
> >> "So, understanding is no method but rather a form of community among
> >> those who understand each other. Thus a DIMENSION is OPENED up that
> >> is not just one among many FIELDS of inquiry but rather constitutes the
> >>
> >> Gadamer is exploring the 2nd person voice and putting it play with
> >> the 1st person and 3rd person voice.
> >>
> >> I wanted to abstract this dis-position towards the 2nd voice. I want
> >> to now embed this statement in its context. Gadamer wrote,
> >>
> >> "But it was only when Dilthey and his school gained influence on the
> >> phenomenological movement that understanding was no longer MERELY
> >> juxtaposed with conceptualization and explanation."[Gadamer,
> >> foreword]
> >>
> >> In other words, understanding came to be seen as constituting the
> >> very fundamental structure of human becoming-in-the-world and moved
> >> to the very center of philosophy.
> >>
> >> "Thereby subjectivity and self-consciousness lost their primacy. Now
> >> there is an Other who is not an object for the subject - but someone
> >> to whom we are BOUND in the reciprocations of language and life. So,
> >> understanding is no method but rather a form of COMMUNITY among those
> >> who understand each other. Thus a dimension is opened up that is not
> >> just one among many fields but rather constitutes the praxis of
> >> life." [Gadamer, foreword]
> >>
> >> Gadamer's tone of voice may have something to contribute to action
> research.
> >>
> >> Larry
> >> __________________________________________
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