Habermas’ (2004) in “Time of Transition” declared that Judaeo-Christian-centred liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, civilisation are exclusively essential to civil society. What about Islamic, Buddhist or indigenous philosophies? Quebec, Canada’ most multiethnic high school political philosophy class answer back.

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Abstract: Habemas’ Judaeo-Christian-centred communicative theories meet saavy, enlightened, extremely multiethnic Quebec students: Habermas’ (2004) declaration that Judaeo-Christian-centred liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, civilisation make intercultural understanding, it is what makes it possible What happens to 18th century Enlightenment concepts of civil society in a postnational public sphere, where Habermas’ concepts and theories, developed in the 1960s and popularized in the 1980s meet a saavy, enlightened, extremely multiethnic highschool political philosophy class in a fractured nation-state (Quebec) within a fractured nation-state (Canada) in a knowledge-risk society?

This is a stub of a discussion which I will develop over the next few months instigated by this article in Le Devoir. Google now offers a service whereby anything on the web can be instantly translated. So this is Google’s English translation of Dubreuil’s original  article in the French-language newspaper Le Devoir. Nothing compares to reading an author in their own languages of preference. While this Google service is probably not a perfect solution for discussions on political philosophy where one word can be the topic of an entire body of work, it is at least a way into this fascinating and timely debate. Maureen Flynn-Burhoe, November 19, 2006. To be continued . . .

Dubreuil, Benoît. 2006. “Le Devoir de Philo – Habermas et la classe de Mme. Lise,” Le Devoir, Quebec, Canada. November 19, 2006. http://www.ledevoir.com/2006/11/18/123119.html . Accessed 2006/11/19.

Habermas, Jürgen. (2004) Time of Transition.

 

 

I am convinced that Derrida’s more inclusive theories on political philosophy as revealed in his writings particularly in the 1990s onwards, are more useful in a philosophy from a cosmopolitical point of view. It is evident that any dialogues on human rights, democracy, hospitality, friendship, civil society need to be inclusive. Habermas’ contributions as public intellectual, political philosopher who brought difficult topics to the public through mass media will continue to be topical, relevant and useful. But truly useful additions to the urgent conversations about social inclusion, social justice, economic efficiency, globalization need to be undertaken with a level of hospitality and friendship that Jacques Derrida (who acknowledged his own status as marano, a French-Jewish-Algerian)  exemplified in his discussions with Arabo-Islamic scholars. There is indeed an urgency for inclusive conversations hospitable to Bhuddism, Arabo-Islamic, Baha’i, First Nations, Inuit, indigenous points of view. 

A partial chronology of a debate on political philosophy 

The following is a draft of a Chronology I am developing as background for Habermas-Derrida debates in political philosophy.  

18th century coffee houses: “Jürgen Habermas wrote extensively on the concept of the public sphere, using accounts of dialogue that took place in coffee houses in 18th century England. It was this public sphere of rational debate on matters of political importance, made possible by the development of the bourgeois culture centered around coffeehouses, intellectual and literary salons, and the print media that helped to make parliamentary democracy possible and which promoted Enlightenment ideals of equality, human rights and justice. The public sphere was guided by a norm of rational argumentation and critical discussion in which the strength of one’s argument was more important than one’s identity.” Wiki

Habermas built the framework out of the speech-act philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, J. L. Austin, and John Searle, the sociological theory of the interactional constitution of mind and self of George Herbert Mead, the theories of moral development of Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg, and the discourse ethics of his Heidelberg colleague Karl-Otto Apel. Jürgen Habermas considers his own major achievement the development of the concept and theory of communicative reason or communicative rationality, which distinguishes itself from the rationalist tradition by locating rationality in structures of interpersonal linguistic communication rather than in the structure of either the cosmos or the knowing subject. This social theory advances the goals of human emancipation, while maintaining an inclusive universalist moral framework. This framework rests on the argument called universal pragmatics – that all speech acts have an inherent telos (the Greek word for “purpose” or “goal”) — the goal of mutual understanding, and that human beings possess the communicative competence to bring about such understanding.

Xxxx Kant the Enlightenment and of democratic socialism Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) carried forward the traditions of Kant through his emphasis on the potential for transforming the world and arriving at a more humane, just, and egalitarian society through the realization of the human potential for reason, in part through discourse ethics. While Habermas concedes that the Enlightenment is an “unfinished project,” he argues it should be corrected and complemented, not discarded.

19xx Ludwig Wittgenstein developed his speech-act philosophy which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality.

19xx J. L. Austin developed his speech-act philosophy which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality.

19xx John Searle developed his speech-act philosophy which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality.

19xx George Herbert Mead developed his theory of sociological theory of the interactional constitution of mind and self which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality

19xx Jean Piaget developed his theories of moral development which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality

19xx Lawrence Kohlberg developed his theories of moral development which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality.

1929 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) was born June 18, 1929 in Düsseldorf. wiki

1956 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) burst onto the German intellectual scene in the 1950s with an influential critique of the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. He had been studying philosophy and sociology under the critical theorists Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno at the Institute for Social Research at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main since 1956, but because of a rift over his dissertation between the two – Horkheimer had made unacceptable demands for revision – as well as his own belief that the Frankfurt School had become paralyzed with political skepticism and disdain for modern culture – he took his Habilitation in political science at the University of Marburg under the Marxist Wolfgang Abendroth. Wiki

1961 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) became a privatdozent in Marburg, and very unusual in the German academic scene at that time, he was called to an “extraordinary professorship” (professor without chair) of philosophy at the University of Heidelberg (at the instigation of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Karl Löwith) in 1962.

1964, Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) returned to Frankfurt to take over Horkheimer’s chair in philosophy and sociology, strongly supported by Adorno. wiki

1971-1983 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) was Director of the Max Planck Institute in Starnberg (near Munich). wiki

1981 ??? Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) published his magnum opus, The Theory of Communicative Action. Habermas then returned to his chair at Frankfurt and the directorship of the Institute for Social Research. In his magnum opus Theory of Communicative Action (1984) he criticized the one-sided process of modernization led by forces of economic and administrative rationalization. Habermas traced the growing intervention of formal systems in our everyday lives as parallel to development of the welfare state, corporate capitalism and the culture of mass consumption. These reinforcing trends rationalize widening areas of public life, submitting them to a generalizing logic of efficiency and control. As routinized political parties and interest groups substitute for participatory democracy, society is increasingly administered at a level remote from input of citizens. As a result, boundaries between public and private, the individual and society, the system and the lifeworld are deteriorating. Democratic public life only thrives where institutions enable citizens to debate matters of public importance. He describes an ideal type of “ideal speech situation[1], where actors are equally endowed with the capacities of discourse, recognize each other’s basic social equality and speech is undistorted by ideology or misrecognition. wiki

1980s??? Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) distanced himself from the Frankfurt School. Habermas argued that the Frankfurt School theorists, and others he lumped together as much of postmodernistists, who critiqued Kant, the Enlightenment, the concept of progress and of democratic socialism, were misdirected, excessively pessimism, radical and prone to exaggerations.

1980s Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) became a renowned public intellectual as well as a scholar.

1980s Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) used the popular press to attack historians (i.e., Ernst Nolte, Michael Stürmer and Andreas Hillgruber) who, arguably, had tried to demarcate Nazi rule and the Holocaust from the mainstream of German history, explain away Nazism as a reaction to Bolshevism, and partially rehabilitate the reputation of the Wehrmacht (German Army) during World War II. The so-called Historikerstreit (“Historians’ Quarrel”) was not at all one-sided, because Habermas was himself attacked by scholars like Joachim Fest and Klaus Hildebrand.

1980s Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) and Jacques Derrida engaged in somewhat acrimonious disputes beginning in the 1980s and culminated in a refusal of extended debate and talking past one another. Following Habermas’ publication of “Beyond a Temporalized Philosophy of Origins: Derrida” (in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity), Derrida, citing Habermas as an example, remarked that, “those who have accused me of reducing philosophy to literature or logic to rhetoric … have visibly and carefully avoided reading me”

1986 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which is the highest honour awarded in German research.

1988 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) was elected as a member of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

1993 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) retired from Frankfurt and continued to publish extensively. He is also a Permanent Visiting Professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

1997 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) photo on the cover of William Outhwaite’s (1997) Habermas, – en kritisk introduktion. Bogen gennemgår alle væsentlige titler i forfatterskabet, fra de tidlige bøger om videnskab, politik og offentlig meningsdannelse i det kapitalistiske samfund til de seneste arbejder om retssystemets rolle i den demokratiske stat. photos

2001 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) visited the People’s Republic of China in April 2001 and received a big welcome. He gave numerous speeches under titles such as “Nation-States under the Pressure of Globalisation.”

2004 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-), wrote in regards to his views on secularism and religion in the European public sphere, in his essay (2004) Time of Transition, “Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilisation.” He also maintains that “recognising our Judaeo-Christian roots more clearly not only does not impair intercultural understanding, it is what makes it possible.” [2] Jürgen Habermas had his photo taken with with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

2005 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) traveled to San Diego and on March 5, 2005, as part of the University of San Diego‘s Kyoto Symposium, gave a speech entitled The Public Role of Religion in Secular Context, regarding the evolution of separation of Church and State from neutrality to intense secularism. He received the 2005 Holberg International Memorial Prize (about € 520 000).

XXXX Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) More recently, Habermas has been outspoken in his opposition to the American invasion of Iraq.

2006 wiki photo taken

2006 “The reflexion of Habermas joined the remarks of Jacques Godbout, who worried recently (Topicality, September 1, 2006) about the multiplication of the parabolic aerials allowing the immigrants to remain connected permanently on the television of their country of origin and never to be integrated into Québécois public space. Some, like the playwright Olivier Khemed (the Duty, September 12, 2006), saw in this comment a form of arabophobie. However, the question deserves to be put! Can there really be a public space when the citizens adopt profiles radically different in their consumption from cultural goods? The diagnosis drawn up by Godbout is undoubtedly partial, but he recalls us that we do not know anything in Quebec mode consumption cultural goods by the immigrant populations. Are their principal channels of integration to the Québécois democracy TQS, VAT and Radio-Canada or rather CTV, CNN and Al-Jazira? We do not know anything of it since there is not any serious study on this question. (Dubreuil 2006)” (Dubreuil, Benoît (2006), “Le Devoir de Philo – Habermas et la classe de Madame Lise,” Le Devoir, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. November 19, 2006. http://www.ledevoir.com/2006/11/18/123119.html , Édition du samedi 18 et du dimanche 19 novembre 2006

xxxx Noted academic John Thompson, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Cambridge, has pointed out that Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) notion of the public sphere is antiquated due to the proliferation of mass-media communications. wiki

Xxxx Noted academic Michael Schudson from the University of California, San Diego critiques the work of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) arguing more generally that a public sphere as a place of purely rational independent debate never existed. wiki

Xxxx “Quite distinct from this, Geoffrey Bennington, a close associate of Derrida’s, has in a further conciliatory gesture offered an account of deconstruction intended to provide some mutual intelligibility. Derrida was already extremely ill by the time the two had begun their new exchange, and the two were not able to develop this such that they could substantially revisit previous disagreements or find more profound terms of discussion before Derrida’s death. Nevertheless, this late collaboration has encouraged some scholars to revisit the positions, recent and past, of both thinkers, vis-a-vis the other.” wiki

Xxxx “What would say Jürgen Habermas of the Class of Mrs Lise? In her superb documentary, the director Sylvie Groulx follows during one year a class of first year to the school Barthelemy-Vimont, in the district Park-Extension, in Montreal. This school, attended with 95% by children of immigrant origin, is most multiethnic in Quebec. The documentary one testifies to the difficulties to which facefaces Quebec as regards integration of the immigrants and famous with wonder what it is advisable to call our “school apartheid”. By looking at the Class of Mrs Lise, it is difficult not to wonder which Quebec are integrated these children. Do we divide with them a common world? Do we take part in the same public space?” (Dubreuil 2006)” (Dubreuil, Benoît (2006), “Le Devoir de Philo – Habermas et la classe de Madame Lise,” Le Devoir, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. November 19, 2006.http://www.ledevoir.com/2006/11/18/123119.html, Édition du samedi 18 et du dimanche 19 novembre 2006

 

In a June 27, 2017 article entitled “Is the Problem With Tech Companies That They’re Companies?: A Stanford professor argues that a profit imperative is in tension with the needs of a democratic society” published in The Atlantic , Rebecca J. Rosen reported on the Aspen Ideas Festival co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. One of the speakers, Stanford professor Rob Reich, argued that “a profit imperative is in tension with the needs of a democratic society”. Reich Reich referred to the economist Milton Friedman’s 1970 article in The New York Times Magazine called “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits.” These “ideas have contributed to a libertarian ‘background ethos’ in Silicon Valley, where people believe that ‘you can have your social responsibility as a philanthropist, and in the meantime make sure you are responding to your shareholders by maximizing profit.'”

Economist Milton Friedman, propagated 18th century values in the Post-WWII global economy. Like Adam Smith he preached the gospel of minimal government, laissez-faire. The triad, Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom (1944), Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (1957), and Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom (1962) pit economic efficiency against social justice. Social responsibility of business is to increase its profits

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Footnotes

I compiled this digitized collage, inspired by Deborah Barndt’s Tangled Routes: Women, Work and Globalization on the Tomato Trail on November 16, 2006. I used a Google earth generated globe to situate as a kind of circumtomato globe. I developed the concept of John Elkington’s Cannibals with Forks for the image of a world being devoured by those who choose to make decisions based on only one bottom line.

See also speechless.wordpress.com

Barndt, Deborah (2001) Tangled Routes: Women, Work and Globalization on the Tomato Trail, Aurora, ON, Garamond Press.

Davis, Ian. 2005. “The biggest contract: By building social issues into strategy, big business can recast the debate about its role, argues Ian Davis.” The Economist. May 28.

“The great, long-running debate about business’s role in society is currently caught between two contrasting, and tired, ideological positions. On one side of the current debate are those who argue that (to borrow Milton Friedman’s phrase) the “business of business is business”. This belief is most established in Anglo-Saxon economies. On this view, social issues are peripheral to the challenges of corporate management. The sole legitimate purpose of business is to create shareholder value. On the other side are the proponents of “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR), a rapidly growing, rather fuzzy movement encompassing both companies which claim already to practise CSR and sceptical campaign groups arguing they need to go further in mitigating their social impacts. As other regions f the world—parts of continental and central Europe, for example— move towards the Anglo-Saxon shareholder-value model, debate between these sides has increasingly taken on global significance. That is a pity. Both perspectives obscure in different ways the significance of social issues to business success. They also caricature unhelpfully the contribution of business to social welfare. It is time for CEOs of big companies to recast this debate and recapture the intellectual and moral high ground from their critics. Large companies need to build social issues into strategy in a way which reflects their actual business importance. They need to articulate business’s social contribution and define its ultimate purpose in a way that has more subtlety than “the business of business is business” worldview and is less defensive than most current CSR approaches. It can help to view the relationship between big business and society in this respect as an implicit “social contract”: Rousseau adapted for the corporate world, you might say. This contract has obligations, opportunities and mutual advantage for both sides.” See The Economist premium content.

Elkington, John (1997) Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business, New Society Publishers, Limited.

Elkington, John (2003) Chrysalis Economy: How Citizen CEOs and Corporations Can Fuse Values and Value Creation, Wiley, John and Sons, Incorporated.

CBC, 2006. “In Depth: Wealth Canada’s super-rich,” CBC News, Last Updated December 4, 2006, accessed December 12, 2006.
Canadian Business magazine lists 1. the Ken Thomson family (media) $24.4 Billion Cdn or 19.6 Billion US); 2. Galen Weston (groceries) $7.1 $24.4 Billion Cdn; 3. The Irving family (oil) $5.45 Billion Cdn; 4. Ted Rogers Jr. (media) $4.54 Billion Cdn; 5. Paul Desmarais Sr. (Power Corp.) $4.41 Billion Cdn; 6. Jimmy Pattison (entrepreneur) $4.35 Billion Cdn; 7. Jeff Skoll (eBay) $3.93 $4.41 Billion Cdn; 8. Barry Sherman (Apotex drugs) $3.23 Billion Cdn; 9. David Azrieli (real estate) $2.44 Billion Cdn; Fred and Ron Mannix (mining) $2.38 Billion Cdn as ten of the 22 Canadian families who are part of the uber wealthy group of 793 billionaires who control $2.6 trillion US of the world’s wealth. Others include Alexander Schnaider (steel) baron, Calvin Ayre (online gambling), John MacBain (classified ads), Guy Laliberté (Cirque du Soleil) 1 Billion Cdn. of this group of 22 billionaires their money came from pharmaceuticals, media, oil and gas, food retailing, printing, money management, construction and the BlackBerry. Five of the 22 are in their forties.
Danko, William D. The Millionaire Next Door
Danko, William D. Richer Than A Millionaire
Drummond, Don, Tulk, David. 2006. “Lifestyles of the Rich and Unequal: an Investigation into Wealth Inequality in Canada.” Special Report. TD Bank Financial Group. December 13, 2006. Accessed December 14, 2006.
Drummond explains how the wealthier quintile of the Canadian population will continue to become wealthier while the middle quintiles will suffer with lower wage gains intensifying wealth disparities. The assets of of the lowest quintile fell by 9. 1% since 1999. This is the group which includes single women, Canada’s children who live in poverty and seniors.

What is also interesting is that there is a significant amount of inequality within the highest wealth quintile of Canadians. One can get an appreciation of this fact by noting the pronounced difference between the mean and median asset holdings. While median net worth for the top 20% is $862,900, the average stands at $1,264,200 suggesting a significant skew towards the extremely wealthy. This difference is even more pronounced when holdings of individual assets are compared for those who hold them within the highest quintile. The largest source of the skew towards the wealthy comes from the holdings of bonds which has a mean-median ratio of 7.9 (the larger the ratio, the greater the share of the asset is held by the top segment of the wealthy). The nebulous category of “other non-financial assets” also has a significant concentration in the super-wealthy. Included within this category are such items as the contents of the residence, valuables, collectables, as well as such high value and sparsely-held items as copyrights and patents. […] Within this category, the share of employer-sponsored pension plans (18.5%) is twice as large as individual pension assets (10.5%) such as Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs), and Locked-in Retirement Accounts (LIRAs). Holdings of non-pension financial assets (10.4%) and equity in business (10.5%) each represent a comparatively smaller portion of total asset holdings.

Morissette, René, Zhang, Xuelin. 2006. “Revisiting wealth inequality: Perspectives on Wealth and Income,” Statistics Canada. http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/75-001-XIE/11206/high-1.htm
Vol. 7, no. 12. December 13, 2006. Accessed December 14, 2006.
“When all families are considered, real average wealth rose 70% from [1999 to 2005] however wealth inequity increased as well. Real average wealth increased between 51% to 70% reflecting large increases for the wealthiest 10% of Canadians who held 58% of the wealth, a percentage that continues to rise as it has since 1984. For fifteen years prior to the deep cuts made in the post-1984 period of deficit panic wealth inequity fell then plateaued. Canadian families will continue to become more at-risk to social exclusion as their debts increase, equities are reduced and they face little or no wage increase.Morissette and Zhang (2006) reveal how challenging it is to estimate the share of total wealth controlled by the upper quintile, particularly the UHNW. See also Davies (1993). While 10% may control 58% of Canadian wealth less than 1% of Canadian families may in effect hold up to 46% of the wealth.While Morissette and Zhang (2006) claim that elderly unattached individuals saw their median wealth double, from roughly $48,000 in 1984 to $100,000 in 2005, they did not qualify that the extremes of wealth and poverty skew the statistics. See the article on the large number of senior Canadians who live below the poverty line.While the wealthiest quintile, particularly the top 1% benefited since 1984, the lowest quintile, mainly female lone-parent families remain as by far the most financially vulnerable. “In all years, more than 40% of persons in these families were in low income and would have stayed in that state even after liquidating their financial assets.” This is where Canada’s children who live in poverty in a rich country live. Lower quintile included those with median wealth no higher than $7,000, families with no assets at their disposal to lessen the impact of unexpected expenses or earnings disruptions. The average wealth of the most vulnerable families fell to -$1000 between 1999 and 2005 from zero assets/debt ratio through the 1980s to negative (about -$1,000) in both 1999 and 2005. The value of their real estate, for those who did have a modest home, did not rise. “it fell substantially among those in which the major income recipient was aged 25 to 34. In 2005, these families had median wealth of $13,400 (in 2005 dollars), much lower than the $27,000 and $17,400 registered in 1984 and 1999 respectively.” While in the middle quintile there was a modest rise of average wealth rose of about $19,000, families in the most wealthy quintile experienced a substantial increase in the value of their real estate. They allocated more of their financial assets to RRSPs and LIRA holdings. They sharply increased their investments in RRSPs between 1986 and 2003. “Median wealth more than doubled between 1970 and 2005, having grown by c.20-25% since 1984. While the median wealth of young families fell by half between 1984 and 2005, it rose by almost 40% for those in which the major income recipient was a university graduate aged 35 to 54.”
Stenner, Thane, Bower, Rod, Currie, John, O.Connor, Rory. 2006. “True Wealth Report: Values and Views of Ultra-Affluent Individuals,” http://www.truewealthreport.com/downloads/2006_TWR_low.pdf.
Researchers for the True Wealth report surveyed 165 Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) individuals, those whose assets are over $10.

 

Black Pupil as Mirror the </p> <p>Other-Eye

I used AdobePhotoshop to digitally insert my own image onto the reflective surface of Leonie’s eyes. Black Pupil as Mirror: the Other-Eye (2004) is from my Flickr album.

I am using the free tools of cyberspace to tag, geotag, reference and categorize in an attempt to find myself by mapping where I have been and maybe contributing to an emerging organic taxonomy in the process. I am fortunate enough to have a monitor, a mouse and access to metablogging.

Before I went on leave from my studies, I was investigating the work of artists, political philosophers, theorists, anthropologists who had taken the ethical turn. There was already a call for a sociological imagination from a postnational point of view. The more I read the more it seemed public policy analysts, journalists, artists, rights workers, cultural workers, anyone involved in teaching, learning and research … could benefit from at least engaging — if only to disagree — with the arguments put forth. But these thinkers are part of the slow world. It takes time to read with a high tolerance for ambiguity. Most of these writers need to be read as we read hypertext. For someone already aware of their references their is no need to click on the hotword. For most of us we need to follow the links through a virtual labyrinth. It’s a way of reading that is in that liminal space between browsing and searching. I often felt like a detective looking for clues. It wasn’t enough for me to finally reach some heightened understanding of an argument or concept. I wanted it to be traceable so I could follow my own paths back and help someone else see the strength, utility and/or elegance of a thought. Or even to help me find it again so I could appreciate it anew. I had the advantage of a lifelong connection to the visual arts. I could picture the ideas. I am so grateful that there are these tools now that allow us to create these shareable mind maps. Rob Shields had suggested I introduce students in my Off-Campus Aboriginal Program to the concept of dialogism. Dialogism is more respectful of the other and therefore offers the potential for a more ethical relationship between Self and the Other. Bakhtin described this as the relationship between Self and the Other-I. I have played with that idea visually by using reflections, people mirrored in the eyes of others. Leonie’s eyes are particular good for this because they are so dark and reflective.

However, as discussed in chapter four above, Bakhtin’s Hermeneutik is of a distinctive character. Whilst he acknowledges the embeddedness of ‘Being’ or Dasein in tradition and in history, he does not shy away from the Marxian conclusion that modern society is riven with antagonistic material interests and that, accordingly, language can be seen as a medium of dissimulation and domination as much as a conduit of interpersonal communication and self-understanding. In drawing such a conclusion, Bakhtin sides with Habermas against Gadamer on this issue; yet, with certain provisos, he refuses the former’s recourse to a nomothetic or generalizing social science to justify the conduct of critique. In this he subscribes to Goethe’s famous dictum that ‘theory is grey but life is green’. To justify his particular interpretive stance, Bakhtin appeals to distinct ethical or moral standards which owe much to the tradition of German idealism (especially Kant) and as Clarke and Holquist point out, to certain theological/ religious idioms (such as Russian orthodoxy and the Jewish dialogical tradition of Buber, Levinas and others)” (Gardiner 1992:192).