Freedom, Reason and History: The Hegelian heritage in Gadamer and Habermas. This essay aims at an elaboration of the theme of freedom by taking into account Gadamer"s and Habermas"s appropriation of Hegel. I will approach this theme by dividing it into three main topics: 1) The question of historical reconstruction of the idea(s) of freedom, 2) The question of justification of the idea of freedom, 3) The question of application (of the idea of freedom). The question of historical reconstruction will deal with the Gadamerian appropriation of Hegel"s idea of freedom in his concept of tradition. This will be confronted with Habermas"s twofold critique against Gadamer. Habermas claims that "tradition" could not be understood in a critical, that means, freedom-oriented way. He also claims that even a critical tradition would be one of many traditions, which leads to relativism. The question of justification will deal with Habermas"s and Gadamer"s approach to Hegel"s conception of freedom through recognition. The Habermasian approach to the Hegelian theme is a non-contextualised one, thereby aiming at a non-relative foundation for critical thinking. The third topic relates to the Gadamerian and also Habermasian question of how to apply a certain (non-contextual) freedom-based concept of recognition to different contexts. These last two topics relates to a Habermasian question of how to critically examine the freedom-potentials of a given context by using "freedom through recognition" as an ideal type, or standard
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