AbstractThe development of empirical research methods in both the social and the natural sciences has deeply impacted the self- conception of philosophy. Jürgen Habermas aims to strike a balance between two ways of understanding the relationship between philosophy and the sciences: between a conception of philosophy as an Archimedean point from which to view the human condition and a conception of philosophy as a mere artefact of Western culturally embedded assumptions. Against the first, Habermas aims to integrate the resources and methods of the social sciences into philosophy and to deny that philosophy can proceed outside of historical and social contexts. On his view, philosophical knowledge is produced communicatively, through socially embedded dialogue. Against the second, Habermas claims fundamental questions about the human condition cannot be answered by purely social or natural scientific approaches. His “postmetaphysical” methodology aims to integrate empirical resources into philosophy without losing sight of what is unique to philosophy: namely, its ability to step back from the empirical data in order to reconstruct in a systematic way underlying universal truths about us, our societies and our place in the world.
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