Regina Kreide, Tilo Wesche
April 18, 2021
In his latest book, Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie , Jürgen Habermas attempts nothing less than a reconceptualisation of the history of human reason. Why, according to the central question that runs through the book like a red thread, can we, in the face of all social adversities and psychological obstacles, still be morally motivated to stand up for overcoming injustice in the world? This almost classic question about what I can hope for undoubtedly bears Kantian traits. And yet Habermas clearly goes beyond Kant. We argue that this becomes visible, first, in his post-metaphysical conception of motivation, which links individual and collective moral learning processes. The enormous explosive power of this conception comes into its own, secondly, especially against the background of some additional assumptions (trust, grief, open future). Nevertheless, thirdly, the question arises to what extent the Habermasian narrative of progress does not have a blind spot because it is in some sense not dialectical enough. The negative side of reason, which Adorno and Benjamin emphasised, are not included in the progress narrative, or only indirectly, which makes the conception of moral motivation seem weaker than it ought to be.