August 29, 2009
I loved Virginia Heffernan’s postscript to the Facebook exodus:
You’re not the first to think it’s creepy to have your personal life commercialized. Jürgen Habermas has been especially eloquent about this. Start with “The Theory of Communicative Action.” Copies are available on AbeBooks.com.
Just in case it’s not clear why this is, um, unexpected AND funny, this is the sort of thing Habermas’s two-volume book is about:
With this failure of the search for ultimate foundations by “first philosophy” or “the philosophy of consciousness”, an empirically tested theory of rationality must be a pragmatic theory based on science and social science. This implies that any universalist claims can only be validated by testing against counterexamples in historical (and geographical) contexts - not by using transcendental ontological assumptions.
This is what I take to be the gist of Heffernan’s recommendation: “No longer wasting time on Facebook? You finally have time to bone up on the Frankfurt School’s critique of instrumental reason!” Sign me up.