The Subjectivity of Nature

I’m reading Habermas’s essay Science and Technology as Ideology.  I haven’t finished it yet, and so will come back to it at another time to discuss the overall argument, but I read this paragraph and found it intriguing.  I thought I’d share before it slips my mind, though, I should say that it’s not Habermas’s argument and I’m not sure yet if he’s critiquing or building upon Marcuse:

Marcuse has in mind an alternative attitude to nature, but it does not admit of the idea of a New Technology.  Instead of treating nature as the object of possible technical control, we can encounter her as an opposing partner in a possible interaction.  We can seek out a fraternal rather than an exploited nature.  At the level of an as yet incomplete intersubjectivity we can impute subjectivity to animals and plants, even to minerals, and try to communicate with nature instead of merely processing her under conditions of severed communication.  And the idea that a still enchained subjectivity of nature cannot be unbound until men’s communication among themselves is free from domination has retained, to say the least, a singular attraction.  Only if men could communicate without compulsion and each could recognize himself in the other, could mankind possibly recognize nature as another subject: not, as idealism would have it, as its Other, but as a subject of which mankind itself is the Other.

4 thoughts on “The Subjectivity of Nature”

  1. “Only if men could communicate without compulsion and each could recognize himself in the other, could mankind possibly recognize nature as another subject: not, as idealism would have it, as its Other, but as a subject of which mankind itself is the Other.”
    if the bar is that high than all is lost…

  2. Habermas and Brandom and all remind me of the all too many folks who are driven to try and come up with a universal standardized language/code that will somehow put us all on the same page, and here I think the ANTish folks are much more useful in terms of dealing with, negotiating in, the messy realities of life as it is.

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