Habermas Commentary/Books/TCA1/p15

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Communicative Rationality Within a Communication Community[edit]

Re: the reference (at 15.1.3) to "A greater degree of communicative rationality . . . within a communication-community” and "unconstrained coordination of actions and consensual resolution of conflicts ...."

Habermas says it is typical, in empiricism, to separate cognitive-instrumental rationality from communicative rationality (p. 14). His point, there, seems to be that the latter adds to (i.e., does not simply contrast against) the former. Persons proceeding in a cognitive-instrumental perspective are directed toward controlling some conditions, so as to achieve their goals, in a self-assertive manner. That constitutes rational behavior in that perspective. But in the perspective of communicative rationality, goals are rational only if, in addition, they proceed in light of intersubjectively recognized validity claims. Community is postulated to provide an environment within which actions can proceed toward common goals with a minimum of contraints upon coordination of action.