In this paper, I contemplate the relationship between two apparently opposing approaches to critical theory: one privileges the focus on the rational coherence of discourse (which is characteristic, for instance, of Habermas), while the other privileges the focus upon experiential world disclosure (which is characteristic of those influenced by Heidegger). I will suggest that these two approaches complement each other in that they accentuate two different dimensions of intellectual and practical approaches towards the world: the quest for systematicity and the quest for adequacy. Habermas’ claim that critique that is not based in the protocols of rational coherence quickly becomes obscurantist and reactionary does admittedly articulate an important point in relation to critical reflection when it aims at articulating alternatives to an entrenched power structure. It will, however, be argued that critical reflection also needs an openness towards alternative narratives that are not bounded by fixed truthclaims, but rather operate through problematising the prevailing horizons of truth. This will be my starting point for suggesting that the critical aspect of world-disclosing approaches consists in their showing alternative potentialities - rather than alternative realities. In order to carry out this argument, I propose a distinction between rationality, irrationality and the non-rational, which leads to the claim that it is not irrational for rationality to be contemplated in relation to the non-rational.
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