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Na teoria
cultural de Habermas, o conhecimento é determinado pelas
condições socio-históricas que o enformam. O indivíduo é parte
de uma vivência universal e pertence a uma tradição cultural e
linguística na qual está obrigado a participar. Esta vivência
universal possui três dimensões: 1) o mundo objectivo dos factos
que existem independentemente do homem e que constituem a
referência fundamental para a determinação da verdade; 2) o
mundo social das relações intersubjectivas; 3) o mundo
subjectivo das experiências privadas. Para Habermas, a
descentralização do sujeito conquista-se quando o indivíduo
consegue diferenciar-se destes três modos de existência. A
descentralização permite então compreender a diferença entre
certos valores como a justiça, a verdade e o gosto, em vista das
suas concretizações sociais e culturais.

Comentando esta tese, Benjamin Endres, em "Habermas and Critical
Thinking," (1997) (http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/PES/96_docs/endres.html),
resume assim as limitações da teoria de Habermas: "Yet there
seems to be a tension in Habermas’s theory surrounding the
concept of decentering. On the one hand, Habermas recognizes
people as embedded in their personal and social history. On the
other, his theory seems to ask that rational and moral people
give up these prior commitments and consider them hypothetically
when arguing with others about the acceptance of a norm. Yet how
far does Habermas think people can go in giving up personal and
cultural identities in favor of "the force of reason?" In some
places, he is adamant about the historically and culturally
defined nature of human action. Habermas sees himself clarifying
everyday intuitions that are themselves socialized and
historically grounded. (…) Though he does not sacrifice the
primacy of social-historical contexts in determining our
knowledge, he places especially rigorous expectations on
individuals within particular contexts to achieve a
disinterested perspective. Furthermore, he proposes informal
logic as a model for human reasoning, which combines the
consideration of substantive content with the requirements of
logical validity. By adopting this formal methodology, he
believes that participants in argumentation are able to assume
the perspectives of everyone else affected by the practice. This
universal exchange of roles requires that individuals step
outside of their own perspectives to consider the needs of
others while attuning themselves to the requirements of logical
reasoning.".
Para a
continuação deste debate, ver o artigo de Mark Weinstein "Decentering
and Reasoning", em resposta a Endres (http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/PES/96_docs/weinstein.html).

{bibliografia}

Jürgen Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action, vol. 2: Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason (1987)