Re: communicative action

Wendy Crebbin (
Fri, 28 Jun 1996 10:27:20 GMT+1000

Bob and Lois

Thanks for the interesting challenge

I agree with Bob's interpretation that Habermas was developing a
model as an ideal - he did not anticipate that it would ever happen.
In fact recognising the power of people's underlying values and the
impact of socially constructed ideologies (both plural) I think he was
aware of the constraints.

I do not claim to be very stong on Habermas theory but I recently had
a conversation with our PVC Stephen Kemmis who is very well read in
such matters. He told me that in the years prior to Foucault's
death there was some communication between Foucault and Habermas
talking about the connections, overlaps, separations, and/or
omissions which might exist between the ways we understand
communication, ideology, power, and discourse.

Which gives us plenty of substance to think about. But perhaps more
directly, in this medium of purely verbal communication perhaps we
need to work from notions of dialectic argument - but not in an
attempt to reach consensus (as early liberals and Habermas might
argue) but to value difference as the potential for new questions
(critical postmodern).

What do others think?


Thanks Lois, for the stimulating question. Its not only stimulating, but
delightfully difficult and challenging. Habermas has formulated
interpretations of normative theory in terms of an IDEAL communicative
situation. But I'm not sure how to approach the "how" question with
Habermans. I'm in the middle of a project at the moment, but give me some
time to reflect. I hope you will take a stab at a formulation....or someone
else? Wendy? (I've got a reply to your [Wendy's] interesting statement on
your research also on hold for the moment)

I'm enjoying the exchange on rational action theory and PCP, but I'd also
enjoy a summary of "rational action theory".

Best regards,

>What would Habermas, in his theory of communicative action, say about
>pcp's communication problems? People come here with theories and want to
>have their theories heard. THee is some difficulty setting up a culture
>in which people feel satisfied by the give and take. The little that I
>know about Habermas' work, I think he would suggest we set up a culture in
>which communication can take place more easily. But how do we do that?
>..Lois Shawver