A critical inquiry into Habermas's philosophy of emancipation: Toward an ontology of the human person
This study argues that Habermas's philosophy of emancipation furnishes an emancipatory communicative model that may be viewed as providing a novel entry into a non-traditional conception of metaphysics as it specifically relates toward the development of an ontology proper of the human person. Though Habermas does not develop the metaphysical/ontological ground for understanding the human person, in articulating a model of the subject for the exercise of the human emancipatory potential, he opens a space which points toward the further reaches of his own philosophical compass, i.e., toward metaphysical reflection. Habermas's philosophy of emancipation provides a model of the subject in which the human person is understood as possessing an emancipatory tendency from hypostasized desequilibria that is realized by approximating a form of life modelled on the ideal speech situation (ISS). However, given that ISS provides the methodological framework for the realization of the emancipatory potential, the critical question concerns the adequacy of the purely formal conditions of ISS in terms of a pragmatic logic of theoretical and practical discourse for the adjudication of truth and normative claims respectively. Accordingly, the discourse theory of truth is, with reservations, considered adequate for the resolution of truth claims; the principle of universalization, however, is affected with a rationalist formalism and is thus rejected as an inadequate instrument for moral guidance. Habermas's overall project is then understood as pointing toward a transcendent ground in function of which the subject may articulate the good. Given certain affinities with ISS, the later Heidegger's notion of Being as the ground of Dasein is considered but dismissed as unsuitable given that it is affected with an existential formalism resulting from the vagueness and non-dialogical character of his conception of Being. The move is then made to consider Fernando Rielo's "genetic conception of the principle of relation" as providing the metaphysical model in favor of a personal and dialogical transcendent ground, that finding its confirmation in Christian revelation, provides Habermas's ideal communicative model, i.e., ISS, with an ontology and an ethics proper of the human person.