Critical political economy essay

Against this skeptical predicament of the first generation of Critical Theory, it could be said without exaggeration that Habermas's basic philosophical endeavor from Knowledge and Human Interests to The Theory of Communicative Action has been to develop a more modest, fallibilist, empirical account of the philosophical claim to universality and rationality. This more modest approach rids Critical Theory of its vestiges of transcendental philosophy, pushing it in a naturalistic direction. Such naturalism identifies more specific forms of social scientific knowledge that help in developing an analysis of the general conditions of rationality manifested in various human capacities and powers. Thus, Habermas's alternative sees practical knowledge, or reason in the robust sense, as it is “embodied in cognition, speech and action” (Habermas 1984, 10). Habermas's calls for particular “reconstructive sciences,” whose aim it is to render theoretically explicit the intuitive, pretheoretical know-how underlying such basic human competences as speaking and understanding, judging, and acting. Unlike Kant's transcendental analysis of the conditions of rationality, such sciences yield knowledge that is not necessary but hypothetical, not a priori but empirical, not certain but fallible. They are nevertheless directed to universal structures and conditions and raise universal, but defeasible claims to an account of practical reason. In this way, Habermas undermines both of the traditional Kantian roles for philosophy and brings them into a fully cooperative relation to the social sciences. This can be seen in the clear differences between his account of the critique of ideology, which is at once contextualist and antirelativist but also underwrites its own normativity in ways that Horkheimer and Marcuse's more nearly transcendental account could not, given the inevitable tension between philosophical ideals and the historical conditions of current societies and their practices.

Critical political economy essay

critical political economy essay

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