Habermas Forum logo Habermas Forum logo
Forum on Jürgen Habermas

Jürgen Habermas


:: Index

:: Sponsors

:: DK: Habermas om frihed og determinisme (13-11-2004 17:16)
Under sit besøg i Japan, hvor Habermas den 10. november modtog Kyoto-prisen, holder Habermas en række foredrag.

Den 12. november holdt Habermas i Kyoto et foredrag med titlen: ”Freedom and Determinism: Is Human ”Freedom of Will” an Illusion?”

Her er Habermas’ eget resumé af det nye paper, som han lagde til grund for sit foredrag:

“Recent developments in neurobiology have revived an old debate about deterministic accounts of human action. It takes off from the well-known experiments of Benjamin Libet and his followers. The experiments prove that an observable neurological disposition to act in a certain way precedes the test person’s awareness of having voluntary chosen between alternative ways of action. Contrary to Libet’s own interpretation, prominent proponents of determinism defend the conclusion that our self-attributed freedom is an illusion.

The paper summarizes three of the main counterarguments:
(1)An overly narrow conceptualisation of freedom is assumed to lead to a misleading operationalization in terms of an inadequate experimental design, that does not allow a sweeping generalization of the findings.
(2)The reductionist interpretation does not pay due attention to the implications of the gap between the mentalist and the empiricist language games, attached to a first and third person perspective respectively.
(3)From the point of view of biological evolution, it were a rather mysterious fact, if the self-understanding o factors as being free to act in one way or the other would not play any causal role in the explanation of human behaviour.

A sharper definition of the controversial issue directs attention to the (supposedly two way) interaction between brain and culture, while culture is conceived as the storage and symbolic enshrinement of rule-governed propositional contents. The paper finally suggests a combination of epistemological dualism (which leaves room for the phenomenon of freedom) with ontological monism (which satisfies our quest for a coherent view of the universe). A soft, that is non-scientific natualism can be secured by an evolutionary explanation of the fact, that human cognition depends on the unavoidable interrelation of two complementary perspectives, that of an observer and that of a participant. A species of socialized individuals can only learn how to cope with the objective world of observable events by simultaneously learning from one another, through communication within the ”public space” of shared symbolic meanings and reasons. Even if we, as scientists, were permanently impeded in our attempt to ”get behind” this bifurcated view directed simultaneously at both, the world and one another, we can still know that it is just one and the same nature from which there has evolved a cultural form of life which permits an objectivating view at the world of objects only from within an intersubjectively shared life-world.”
Thomas Gregersen