Pragmatism and Critical Theory

Ray, Larry J. (2004) Pragmatism and Critical Theory. European Journal of Social Theory, 7 (3). pp. 307-322. ISSN 1368-4310. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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This article discusses Habermas’s project of reformulating Critical Theory through a pragmatic philosophy of communication, while defending post-metaphysical reason and commitment to grounded critique. Habermas’s use of pragmatics is contrasted with Rorty, who argues for a non-foundational pragmatism that eschews the idea of science as the only site of reason and social progress. The argument moves through three stages. First, it outlines Habermas’s project of recovering critical activity with particular attention to his debt to pragmatic philosophy and the departures from earlier Critical Theory that this entailed. Second, it examines his theory of communicative action and identifies some key areas of contestation with sceptical approaches. Finally, it identifies some of the problems and limitations in Habermas’s pragmatic turn, suggesting that his quasi-transcendental critique is developed at the expense of a pragmatic commitment to grounding in embodied agency-in-the-world. It concludes that the spirit of pragmatism, rather than its detail, might help Critical Theory focus on political analysis and resistances to domination.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Larry Ray
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2008 01:30
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2014 14:36
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