Habermas and the Grounding of Critical Theory

The introduction and appendices to Habermas's texts reveal, both explicitly and implicitly, some inner contestations within his social theory. Habermas attempts to ground critical theory in a philosophical anthropology based upon quasi-transcendental cognitive interests and an ideal speech situation involving a consensus theory of truth. Unlike other expositors of dialectical theory, Habermas fails to address systematically the notion of supplementarity. Thus the dichotomous typologies of his analysis appear frozen within the existing ideological framework and some are in conflict with the emancipatory aspect of his theory. Habermas must clarify the overlapping character of his categories and recognize the logic of harmony implicit within his analyses in order to make his theory compatible with his criticism.