A "totally misguided" Hans Albert reception
in the English speaking countries
Some remarks from the editor of these pages (H. J. Niemann)
German philosophy is often considered as being best represented by Hegel, Heidegger, XXXXXX and XXXXXX. This is right only in a special meaning: If any philosophy is typically German, that is so because there are some typical faults. Sound philosophy has no nationality. Hans Albert's philosophy is critical rationalism. He would be put in his right place if philosophy were a science, i.e. if philosophy had the same habits and procedures as science. Just one example. In XXXXXX' new book about truth and justification Albert is quoted nowhere, though as for truth and justification no other critic has given XXXXXX more stuff to think about than Albert did.
Things like that are unthinkable in science: there is a scientific community and there exist some rules. However, what is important and what is not, will be seen in the future. But this process could be faster if philosophy would work like science does.
There is another problem in German philosophy. In the fields of physics or biology nobody would be barred from knowledge only because it is written in a language he or she doesn't understand. There are ways of learning what is on. Not so in philosophy. There are language barriers. Therefore I think philosophy would gain a lot if more of Hans Albert's work could be translated into English. Up to now only two of his about thirty monographies and 15 of his two hundred papers have been translated. These books are:
(1) Hans Albert, Treatise on Critical Reason, Princeton (Princeton Univ. Press) 1985.
(2) Hans Albert, Between Social Science, Religion and Politics. Essays in Critical Rationalisms, Amsterdam-Atlanta (Rodopi) 1999.
In the preface of (2) Hans Albert writes:
is the second book of mine presenting my views to readers in the English
speaking countries. The first book of this kind has been my Treatise on Critical Reason, Princeton University Press, Princeton,
New Jersey 1985, translated by Mary Varner Rorty from my Traktat über kritische Vernunft, Verlag Mohr (Siebeck), Tübingen 1968 (fifth enlarged edition
1991). In my preface to the American edition of this book I have stated that
this book arose out of a particular problem situation which has been portrayed
only one-sidedly in America and that the further discussions to which it led are
virtually unknown there. This seems to be true to this day.
The reader who does not
understand German might be totally misguided, for instance, by the report about
my views by XXXXXX, in his book Modern German Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
1981, where he has managed to distort some of my views to the point where they
are incompatible with my often stated arguments. And people who read XXXXXX's long essay: The Problem of
Philosophical Foundations in Light of a Transcendental Pragmatics of Language, in:
Kelineth Baynes/James Bohmann/Thomas Mebarthy (eds.), After
End or Transformation? Cambridge, Mass./London 1988,
in which XXXXXX criticizes my views, will find that he only refers to my above
mentioned book, in spite of the fact that I have countered his criticism in my
book: Transzendentale Träumereien, Hamburg
1975, in chapter IV, Münchhausen oder der Zauber der Reflexion, of my book: Die
Wissenschaft und die Fehlbarkeit der Vernunft, Verlag Mohr (Siebeck), Tübingen
1982, and in other places, and have shown that his own conception is completely
untenable. And he will find that XXXXXX in one of his books is
supporting XXXXXX's criticism without any argument and with no reference to my
Niemann Nov 23rd 2000.
Hans-Joachim Niemann Nov 23rd 2000.
XXXXXX made by me because of lawyers looking for jobs, Jan 2005 hjn)
(Blackening XXXXXX made by me because of lawyers looking for jobs, Jan 2005 hjn)