Monday, October 16, 2006

for philosophical cognitive science, thoroughly evolutionary in self-conception

OK, so I was a little eccentric (more than a little) in my enthusiasm for Habermas' "The Language Game....," in my Oct. 15 posting. You can't tell from its beginning what it will become, but the essay looks like a career-culminating statement of his sense of mind in nature. It's an essay that I've hoped, for many years, he would write. He doesn't intend to fundamentally venture beyond his earlier work, but he shows (relative to his selection of engaging others) how his thinking relates to recent engagements with the issue of mind in nature, and that's exciting news for me. I did virtually nothing the past weekend, Oct. 14-15, (not counting necessities) except work through the latter half of his essay. I can't briefly represent what a milestone for me that working-through process was, but it proved to me the validity of what I'm doing (in obscurity, by choice), as a detailed commensurability of my project with where Habermas' thought brings him toward the end of his career. I showed this in terms of revising his discussion (conscientiously—which is necessarily tedious, as constructive editing is generally).

When I read an essay by anyone, I'm hoping to have my thinking fundamentally changed (a thrill of thinking newly), so I welcome critical efficacy of the text. The current work, though, turned out to be appropriative (Habermas didn't venture new directions of thinking), though the working-through did educe some new terms for me (not from Habermas, but in the process of working with his text). The working-through provided an occasion to detail how his thinking can be conscientiously appropriated with (into) a philosophical approach to cognitive science that is thoroughly evolutionary in self-conception (beyond what Habermas intends in his discussion).

October 10, in the previous posting here, I indicated that I would provide "a long, free-standing discussion, to which [that] note will remain a link." That aim remains, and the content of that previous post (and this one) will more or less disappear in that linked discussion—someday, definitely, but maybe not soon. (Expression of your interest would be facilitative.)

But I wasn't earlier anticipating that I would get so involved with Habermas' essay, thus creating such a task for myself by fairly discussing it. I was then merely anticipating a detailed discussion of the last section of his essay, not a revision of many paragraphs of the latter half of the entire essay. (And his first section on free will calls for revision, too; but that's presently undone.) I was anticipating a short exercise in solidarity (with some critique), not an extended intimacy of "collaborative" work (i.e., my extended reworking of his discussion).

I can't literally provide my revisions because my text properly looks a mess: I've deliberately retained text of his that I've deleted, by using strike-through and insertion of my revisions adjacently in blue, as well as adding my own expansions of his discussion in blue, yet freely using terms from my own work (not yet explicated anywhere) that I understand, of course. So, the reader would find many of my revisions obscure, unless I do a lot of prefacing.

I say this (and what follows) in place of beginning to dwell with details of his essay because a concern for documenting a thinking process ("dialogue" with the text) was important to the working-through; so, dramatizing that interest here (otherwise looking like self-absorbed procrastination?) is pertinent—thematizing the revising that evinced the revision, a hermeneutical issue that belongs to the reading.

Accordingly, I need to gather all of my probable obscurities (for others) and write an introduction to my revisions. Add to that explication no mere indication of differences but contextual discussion showing proper appreciation for what Habermas says (rightly, as well as wrongly) and why a revision is appropriate—all of which is standard fare in discursive work, of course—and the discussion becomes a very long endeavor—which I won't make time for now.

I confess self-possession in this not-yet-making-time: being most interested in what contributed to my project development (now getting on with that), less interested in validating that publically. For the sake of manageability (given time), I should take a small part of the essay that's undergone major revision, introduce the background to that, and do the sorting through of differences for that paragraph (or set of paragraphs). That's the issue of "publication" (in this trivial sense of doing things publically). But my prevailing interest is the pre-public [re]searching (that keeps folding into itself as furthering the research).

Anyway, what I've done will surely get woven into other writing that I do link to soon, but there I may or may not indicate relationship to the revision of JH's essay—though, let me be very clear: I do not use Habermas' formulations without honoring him with due credit, let alone failing to cite him when I'm quoting his words. I'm devoted to the virtue of due credit. I have to say that because I am so influenced by his work.

Ultimately, I go my own way, relative to Habermas-in-English, which (apart from the rather trivial German-English issue) is to have appropriated his thinking in very new contexts, in my own way, making me a "Habermasian" that Habermas himself might regard ambivalently. Accordingly, I can't not do that discussion of his essay, one way or another. But I have to be led by my own project, which tends to go further from Habermas' thinking, rather than nearer (moving apart from "his" issues, rather than staying near). After all, I'm not him; and moreover, I feel receding importance of his work for the future of philosophy and for the foundation of human sciences, thus for my own development, which is fundamentally a conceptual prospecting.

The prevailing importance for me is philosophical: the [re]search for conceptual insight, with preference for new research (e.g., in cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary science, developmental psychology) for integration into my own long-ongoing conceptual experiments, rather than mainly appropriating Habermas' 20th-century inspirations to that work.

Anyway, this prospecting (above) of undone public discussion is a beginning of that!