On the mystical shaping of self

Auguste Rodin, ’Le Penseur’, 1904, bronze, Musée Rodin, Paris. A testament to both patriarchy and the ‘feminine’ reason of the mystical.

One of the greatest, most fruitful and resonant metaphors in Western culture

From Plotinus:

‘But how are you to see into a virtuous Soul and know its loveliness? Withdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful: he cuts away here, he smoothes there, he makes this line lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work. So do you also: cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labour to make all one glow of beauty and never cease chiselling your statue, until there shall shine out on you from it the godlike splendour of virtue, until you shall see the perfect goodness surely established in the stainless shrine.’

The Enneads, Trans., Stephen MacKenna, Penguin, London, 1991, 54, 1.6.9

through Christianity:

‘A sculptor who wishes to carve a figure out of a block uses his chisel, first cutting away great chunks of marble, then smaller pieces, until he finally reaches a point where only a brush of hand is needed to reveal the figure. In the same way, the soul has to undergo tremendous mortifications at first, and then more refined detachments, until finally its Divine image is revealed.’

through Catholicism

through Cusanus:

‘For the wise thought as if [along the following line]: a craftsman [who] wants to chisel a statue in stone and [who] has in himself the form of the statue, as an idea, produces – through certain instruments which he moves – the form of the statue in imitation of the idea’

De Docta Ignorantia II.10, in Jasper Hopkins, Nicholas of Cusa On Learned Ignorance (De Docta Ignorantia, 1440), The Arthur J. Banning Press, Minneapolis, 1985, 112

through Nietzsche:

‘Man is no longer an artist, he has become a work of art: the artistic power of the whole of nature reveals itself to the supreme gratification of the primal Oneness amidst the paroxysms of intoxication. The noblest clay, the most precious marble, man, is kneaded and hewn here, and to the chisel-blows of the Dionysiac world-artist there echoes the cry of the Eleusinian mysteries, “Do you bow low, multitudes? Do you sense the Creator, world?”‘

Friedrich Nietzsche The Birth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Music (1872) Penguin, Trans., Shaun Whiteside, Ed., Michael Tanner 1993, 18

through Foucault:

‘This transformation of one’s self by one’s own knowledge is, I think, something rather close to the aesthetic experience. Why should a painter work if he is not transformed by his own painting?’

in Michel Foucault, Politics, Philosophy, Culture: Interviews and Other Writings 1977-1984,  Ed., Lawrence D. Kritzman, Routledge, London, 1990, 14

And what does the concealed priesthood in academic philosophy, who have failed so profoundly in their social and intellectual responsibility have to say about all this mysticism in their and our midst?

The stupid mystic Wittgenstein spoke for them: ‘What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.’

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921), Trans., D. F. Pears and B. F. McGuinness, Routledge, New York, 2005


Contra sacerdotes latentes

Marie Spartali as Hypatia, 1867, Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron

Marie Spartali as Hypatia, 1867, Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron

Originally posted 21.03.14

Emails sent to ABC Radio National – I did not receive a reply to either.

To Alan Saunders, ‘The Philosopher’s Zone’ ABC Radio National, 03.09.09: ‘Knowledge or “god” ’

Hi Alan,

On 18.10.08 Graham Priest said on your program:

‘I mean one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century had a definite mystical overtone to what he was doing. So you may or you may not have heard of Wittgenstein, certainly one of the greatest twentieth century’s philosophers. If you read the only book that he published in his lifetime, the Tractatus, that ends by saying “I’ve shown you all I can show; there’s more but you can’t say it.” So it’s a direct appeal to the ineffable. Ineffability and direct experience is not alien to the Western philosophical tradition. So to say that these things have religious aspects or some mystical aspects, therefore they’re not philosophy, is just a non-sequitur.’

On 01.03.09, in reply to a question from you, Stephen Gaukroger said:

‘I think a lot of the motivation for developments in science in the seventeenth century, particularly the late seventeenth century, are driven by developments in natural theology, that’s to say particularly in England for example, and this is a view to which Newton was very sympathetic, the idea is that you have these two sources of knowledge, still unreconciled from the beginning of the thirteenth century, namely religion and science, and the thing to do is to triangulate them so that you can sort out the wheat from the chaff, and the idea is that there is just a single truth: both these discourses aim at truth, so let’s triangulate them, get them fixed on the same thing so that we can work out what’s true and what’s false in each of them, and in the process, build up something that’s much stronger than either of them taken individually.’

Your program on 04.04.09 was on Hypatia of Alexandria and Neoplatonism. The blurb stated:

‘This week, we look at the woman and the heritage of what is probably the longest-standing philosophical tradition in Western civilisation: that rational yet mystical, sometimes Pagan, sometimes Christian, body of doctrines known as Neo-Platonism.’

On 11.07.09 Moira Gatens said of George Eliot:

‘I think at the time that she’s writing and Feuerbach are writing, the relationship between theology…and philosophy was much stronger than it came to be in the twentieth century.’ A week later Clive Hamilton argued for a mystical view of the world.

Just as Gatens gave the standard and profoundly incorrect assessment of the current relationship between theology and philosophy, Priest, Deakin and Wildberg addressed elements of a theological current that suffuses Western philosophy and arts – that of apophatic or negative theology – mysticism. It is one of the two great pathways to ‘god’ in our culture (‘great’ because of their impact and because of the contributions to the arts done on their basis). The other, from which it is inseparable, is the distorted and limiting understanding and application of ‘reason’ (or as the Christians believe – ‘Reason’) which in the twentieth century was revealed in academic philosophy as ‘the linguistic turn’, divorced from a basis both in materiality and practice.

As a materialist (those who describe themselves as ‘atheist’ require ‘god’ for their self-description no less than do theists, while those who describe themselves as ‘physicalist’ or ‘realist’ cause me to think of a mouse trembling before a trap, the cheese on which is ‘materialist’, the trap being ‘communism’…) I argue that the failure to even know about and understand this theological current let alone to teach it (the understanding of it, the analysis of it) as fundamental to our culture, as fundamental to moving forward in the most rounded way (distinct from Lloyd’s Man of Reason) is the most massive failure, the most massive display of determined ignorance, dishonesty and servility to the dominant ideology by generations of academics – those in philosophy and the arts hold the greatest responsibility.

Guthrie wrote that the strict meaning of ‘philosophy’ is ‘the search for knowledge’ and it is to knowledge not to a subject pervaded by a concealed priesthood (or in the case of Gaukroger – overt) that my allegiance lies. If you have a similar regard for knowledge and would like to contribute to the exposure of timeservers on a narrow goat-track leading from ivory towers behind cloistered walls, if you would like to use your program to contribute something truly new in this country to knowledge and philosophy, you might do your best to get Wiilliam Franke from Vanderbilt University on your program and interview him regarding his two volume anthology On What Cannot Be Said. These two books clearly reveal the impact of ‘god’ and mysticism on our culture, on academic philosophy – right up to the present.

Franke, himself imbued with academicism, does not realise what he has done. Rather than, as he sees it, taking philosophy into ‘new areas’, he has laid bare the priesthood of an ancient current.

I urge you to interview him, and by so doing, contribute to doing likewise.

I have tried for twenty five years in this dozy and servile culture to get academic support towards my analysing and exposing the impact of this current on the visual arts – and to date have met with consistent ignorance and had very qualified success. I know of no university in this country where (in terms of an impact comparable with that of Plato and Aristotle) one of the greatest philosophers in the West – Plotinus – is taught. It is an outrage against intellect, an utter failure in social responsibility by time-serving academics.

Kant wrote in the preface to the second edition of his Critique of Pure Reason that he had found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith. I recall Wittgenstein, in an even more miserable tenor, writing in the Foreword to his Philosophical Remarks that he would have dedicated it to God but people would not have understood. Is this acceptable to you?

In the Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion excerpted in the reader for this year’s ‘Christianity as a Global Religion’ course at the University of Sydney it states: ‘One cannot ‘study’ mystics, except to the extent that they are prepared to write or speak about their experiences. There was however no lack of such material…’ True. This study is done in philosophy and the arts at every university in this country where these mystics are taught, but they are called ‘great thinkers’ and their experience is bounded by the limits of language banished from the Word.

Just as Cato the Elder argued ‘Carthago delenda est‘, I argue that the concealed priesthood particularly in philosophy but also in the arts must be flushed into the open, to unshackle the potential of the most advanced organisation of matter yet known to us anywhere in the universe – what we all have between our ears.

The title of your last Philosopher’s Zone asks ‘What makes a world class philosophy department?’ You are in a position to contribute to that answer and thereby to those with a passion for knowledge and progress.


Philip Stanfield

*   *   *

To Alan Saunders, ‘The Philosophers Zone’, copied to Phillip Adams, ‘Late Night Live’, ABC Radio National, 11.06.11: ‘Plotinus and what cannot (but must) be said’

Hello Alan,

Congratulations for having finally done a show on Plotinus. Now move from the safe and distant past to the present and do a show on the impact of Neoplatonsim and mysticism on modern and current Western philosophy and culture. You could take Kant and any of the German idealists, the ‘genius’ and mystic Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Derrida etc. Take your pick. Contribute to exposing the concealed priesthood in philosophy – of which the Neoplatonic ‘priest’ Nietzsche wrote – and which is a massive impediment to the acceptance of our rapidly growing objective knowledge of the world.

Interview William Franke of Vanderbilt University who wrote a groundbreaking two volume anthology On What Cannot Be Said: Apophatic Discourses in Philosophy, Religion, Literature, and the Arts, exemplifying the impact of mysticism on our culture up to the near present. Or perhaps Mark Cheetham at the University of Toronto, who in 1991 published The Rhetoric of Purity: Essentialist Theory and the Advent of Abstract Painting – on the impact of Neoplatonism on Cubism – the pivotal moment of modernist art – both books met by thunderous silence in this dozy, servile and provincial culture.


Phil Stanfield





Images: top/bottom

What is philosophy the love of?

Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) The Death of Socrates, 1787, oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) The Death of Socrates, 1787, oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Hi Tach,

thank you for your comment and wishes. Thirty-two years of absolute commitment in pursuit of my intellectual vision (a concept, as Utzon and many others have experienced, which provokes the same response in Australia as daylight does from Dracula) academically in an authoritarian, anti-intellectual, shame-based and servile culture (all elements of the founding convict culture recently celebrated yet again by Abbott’s awarding a knighthood to the English queen’s husband and prior to that, by Obama’s showing his contempt for him – and thereby, for all Australians – at the G20 etc., etc.) have come to an end.

The most determined avoidance and ignorance of the subject of my intellectual vision – the pervasive impact of mysticism on Western culture and its relationship to dialectical materialism – is the greatest failure in social and intellectual responsibility by generations of time (i.e. capitalist class)-serving academics, particularly in the humanities.

William Franke’s two volume anthology On What Cannot be Said exemplifies the extent to which mysticism has impacted on Western philosophy (in particular), religion, literature and the arts, and it is a failure which, with the decline of the latest fashion in capitalist ideology – ‘postmodernism’ – these philosopher-servants (‘are we now post-postmodernism?’ one of them asks blithely) are now moving ever so gingerly to address.

The assertion by philosophers that what they have drawn from mysticism (which they have treated as their pornography – immensely energising when studied in private but not to be acknowledged and to be dissembled about or denied when questioned on its influence on their work) is in fact the result of the most rigorous conceptual reason is the greatest fraud on social and intellectual responsibility, a blatant lie in support of Western (increasingly threatened) capitalist supremacism – ‘We reason, you stare at your navel and chant “Om”, worship nature, are ruled with failed ideologies or are hung-up on filial piety’.

The supremacist Hegel1 was the high-priest of this. His altar boy Wittgenstein (Heraclitus without the Heraclitus, who wrote in the Foreword to his Philosophical Remarks that he would have dedicated the book to the glory of God but people wouldn’t have understood), as Russell noted, had much to say on what cannot be said – all set out in meticulous mathematical order. There are numerous others.

The present-day philosopher-servants of capital, people who would never go near mysticism before when the modernist and pomo bandwagons were rolling down main street, to be ridden for successful careers (bandwagons themselves suffused with mysticism), academics who rejected me, who abused me, who refused to recommend me for teaching what amounts to the basis for an entire cultural re-reading – an honest cultural re-reading, telling me I am intolerant of the views of others but when asked for evidence could provide none from many hours of class-time, then taught an awareness they got from me, must know that the subject of Western mysticism (particularly modern Western mysticism) has the potential to blow the lid on so much that they and their academic fellows and forebears have been utterly complicit in.

All these people who are now updating their songbooks have histories and should be held to account. Mysticism is not new to Western culture – it runs right through it to the present and its influence on Western culture has been and continues to be profound.

Ever calculating intellectual cowards, I believe these philosopher-servants don’t know what to do with such a hot potato now that they have been forced, by circumstances, to take it.

I believe the results of my absolute commitment and efforts over thirty two years to understand and explicate the impact of mysticism on Western culture have been appropriated from me at both the College of Fine Arts, UNSW and the University of Sydney, while I have been contained, laughed at (in 1999 I submitted a proposal to teach a course titled ‘Art and Ideology through Modernism’ to the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Sydney. My referees were a professor in the department of fine arts at the university and a prominent Australian art writer. After numerous phone calls to the CCE because I had received neither a reply nor a decision, I finally spoke with a woman who asked me the name of my proposed course. When I told her, this provincial fool laughed, saying ‘That course wouldn’t suit our demographic’ and hung up), and excluded.

My blog has resulted from these and many other similar experiences.

Best regards, Phil


1. ‘(The Oriental spirit) remains impoverished, arid, and just a matter for the understanding. For this reason we find, on the part of Orientals, only reflections, only arid understanding, a completely external enumeration of elements, something utterly deplorable, empty, pedantic, and devoid of spirit, an elaboration of logic similar to the old Wolffian logic. It is the same with Oriental ceremonies.

This is the general character of Oriental religious representations and philosophy. There is, as in their cultus, on the one hand an immersion in devotion, in substance, and so the pedantic detail of the cultus – a vast array of the most tasteless ceremonies and religious activities – and on the other hand, the sublimity and boundlessness in which everything perishes.

There are two Oriental peoples whom I wish to mention, the Chinese and the Indians.’

G.W.F.Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825-6 Volume I: Introduction and Oriental Philosophy, Together With the Introductions from the Other Series of These Lectures, Trans. Robert F. Brown and J.M. Stewart, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2009, 106



Reply to Austin 2: on reason and the emotions in philosophy


Hi Austin,

When I process about a lack of hope, I refer not to self-pity but to a loss of faith in others – the same loss of faith that results in the countless ways people use to escape from life (Hegel in his Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion recommended a priesthood of philosophers, caring nothing for the world),1 particularly in the capitalist West, where it is encouraged to believe and practice that exploitation (‘What’s in it for Me?’) forms the basis of all relationships – with others and nature.

I needed someone to recognise my need, and to step forward unasked and help me (why? because I knew I was putting to the test for the first time for myself what I had believed in and acted on for others). My need was recognised  – a friend lent me the money to get my car registered.

‘So what? It’s only a car’ one might reply, but it was a very important symbolic point for me at the time. This ‘small’ act renewed my hope, my belief in humanity and trust in my idealism and sustained me through two degrees, enabling me to develop my philosophy and work, contrary to the dominant capitalist ideology and its academic proponents.

We are animals and our brains function holistically. Thoughts – linguistically structured and those from ‘below’ language seamlessly generate emotions which in turn feed back into thoughts. There is no such thing as a thought without an emotion or vice versa.

There are those who argue that conscious linguistic thought is simply the end point of a very long ‘subterranean’ process – the conscious thought simply manifests ‘decisions’ already ‘taken’. Then there is the degree of development of areas of our brains – which are more literally primitive and which the most advanced and how do they bear on the working of our brains? All these inter-related processes take place constantly in the one brain.

Which brings me to the key justification for Western supremacism – our ‘reason’ – the Great Lie of patriarchal philosophy. What is held up as the most rigorous is often suffused with the most intuitive, the most ‘subterranean’, poetic and dialectical. Mysticism, its influence pervasive in our culture and its philosophy, is built on these processes.

Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, structured with impressive, imposing numerically sequential divisions and taught by academics as a model of intellectual rigour is nothing more than disingenuous mystical gobbledygook book-ended by the core apophatic statement that what we cannot speak of we must pass over in silence.

Russell, in his introduction, discussed Wittgenstein’s attitude to the mystical, pointing out ‘after all, Mr Wittgenstein manages to say a good deal about what cannot be said’ including on ethics – and I would add, aesthetics and God, no less.

The Tractatus (by one whom I regard as Heraclitus without the Heraclitus, by one who was a model for everything philosophy is not) can be consigned with confidence, in terms of worth, to the bottom end of this mystical current.

Hegel’s philosophy, again deeply disingenuous patriarchal mysticism in the name of ‘Reason’ is, as Marx recognised, at the top end of this scale. His philosophy is not only the richest and most complex expression of mysticism, it was, till then, the closest reflection in philosophical language of how the world works. Marx stood Hegel’s structure on its ‘feet’.

In applying Hegel’s philosophy to materialism, Marx developed materialism dialectically (while it is a philosophy not a science, it is the only philosophy for the development of science, which goes ever deeper into the contradictory nature of the world).

But Marx retained a commitment to the place of language in philosophy – that thought, in reflecting the world, is only linguistic and conceptual. And it is in this area that dialectical materialism must be further developed.2

The mystical philosophy that Marx acknowledged he built his own philosophy on, his own method of knowing the world, not only has at its core another way of reasoning – intuition, mysticism’s appreciation of the importance of the emotions to thought and of the complexity in the relations between emotions and thought found expression in the very dialectics Marx positioned at the heart of materialism.

Best regards,




1. ’Instead of allowing reason and religion to contradict themselves, we must resolve the discord in the manner appropriate to us – namely, reconciliation in the form of philosophy. How the present day is to solve its problems must be left up to it. In philosophy itself the resolution is only partial. These lectures have attempted to offer guidance to this end.

Religion must take refuge in philosophy. For the theologians of the present day, the world is a passing away into subjective reflection because it has as its form merely the externality of contingent occurrence. But philosophy, as we have said, is also partial: it forms an isolated order of priests – a sanctuary – who are untroubled about how it goes with the world, who need not mix with it, and whose work is to preserve this possession of truth. How things turn out in the world is not our affair.’

G.W.F.Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, Vol. III, Ed., Peter C.Hodgson, Trans., R.F.Brown, P.C.Hodgson, J.M.Stewart, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2007, 161-162

2. The same problem the artistic patriarch Plato had with ‘the emotions’ can be found in the lives of the leading Marxists: Unable to unite science and art in his dialogue ‘Cleanthes’, which also carried him ‘like a false-hearted siren into the clutches of the enemy’, Marx abandoned poetry for philosophy in which he hoped to discover ‘our mental nature to be just as determined, concrete, and firmly established as our physical’. In E. Fischer, The Necessity of Art, A Marxist Approach, Trans. A. Bostock, 1959, reprint. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1986, 4. In his doctoral thesis of 1841 he wrote ‘In order for man to become his only true object, he must have crushed within himself (my italics) his relative mode of being, the force of passion and of mere nature.’ (Ibid.); Lenin, Gorky and Lunacharsky wrote that although Lenin loved music, to listen to it disturbed him very much. In Lenin on Literature and Art, Progress: Moscow, 1978, 270, 284, 285; Trotsky also admitted to ‘resisting’ art. In M. Solomon, Ed. Marxism and Art, Essays Classic and Contemporary, 1973, reprint. Detroit, 1986,192.


Jürgen Habermas, Guardian of Mystical ‘Rationality’ – Part Two

Habermas fails to understand and denies the living relationship between concepts, language and the world. Neither concepts and language, if they are to be relevant, can be imposed arbitrarily on the world, rather they develop from the world, meeting our needs in a changing and dialectical relationship with it. Concepts, language and thought, reflecting the world, are and can never be final, thought is not only linguistic and propositional.1 Yet Habermas writes

‘The ideal character inherent in the generality of concepts and thoughts is interwoven with an idealisation of a wholly different sort. Every complete thought has a specific propositional content that can be expressed by an assertoric sentence. But beyond the propositional content, every thought calls for a further determination: it demands (my italics) an answer to whether it is true or false.’2

Truth for Habermas is not found in a dialectical relationship with the world but in a propositionally communicative use of language, beyond which (if we desire to or believe that we have direct access to the world) we cannot go.3 Habermas subscribes to a Meno-like universal and what he acknowledges is an idealised theory of grammar he attributes to Chomsky4 (no longer accepted by linguists, who recognise that both concepts and language develop through our relating with the world) and acknowledges that this is an assumption by Chomsky.5 More, Habermas longs for a ‘universal reason’ (my italics) that will most reinforce unity.6

The concept ‘validity’ has no place outside formal logic because the world and its reflection in thought is not a matter of logical rules and consistency, of ‘yesses’ or ‘nos,’ is driven by contradiction and cannot but always reflect that. Habermas’s second use of ‘validity’ carries us to the mystical core of his theory of communicative reason. Where his first reference to ‘validity’ is ‘context-dependent’ his second is transcendent – of context, material space and time. In ‘detranscendentalising’ Kant’s noumenal realm – the unknowable realm beyond appearances and what can be known and said to what transcends space and time – in other words, by not detranscendentalising Kant’s noumenal realm at all other than as a bare assertion, Habermas followed the Neoplatonic model of ‘detranscendentalising’ God – of bringing God to earth while leaving him, as with Habermas’s second use of validity – ‘transcendent’ – within.7 Habermas, following Wittgenstein, brought a mystical God to earth in language. Language for Habermas replaces God thought of as a metaphysical background that has the potential to unify all. This validity that transcends space and time is a metaphysical and absolute unconditionality,8 a guarantee for the normativity of Habermas’s lifeworld.

In agreement with Wittgenstein’s core apophatic statement that bookends his ‘final solution,’ his mystical Tractatus – ‘What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence’9 – Habermas wrote that any truth claim refers to something transcendent, to an ideal ‘“final opinion,” a consensus reached under ideal conditions’10 – a unified, absolute audience or reference point that anchors the communicative interaction of all other audiences in ‘real’ space and time.11

Part two/to be continued…


1. Lloyd wrote that that intuition, which she argued is associated with ‘female’ thought, (and which Plotinus believed provides an immediate, non-discursive knowledge) can be part of a constructive assessment of reason. ‘The Man of Reason’, op. cit., 117. Plumwood’s discussion of the relevance of emotions to reason, consistent with feminist critiques of Habermas, is most valuable. She argued for a critiquing of the dominant forms of reason to redefine or reconstruct them in less oppositional and hierarchical ways and for an affirmative assessment of emotion as being both crucial and creative. She wrote of reason and emotions as capable of a creative integration and interaction and ties an inclusion and respect for the emotions to the development of rationality and ethics.

2. Habermas, ‘Law as Social Mediation Between Facts and Norms’, op. cit., 12

3. The materialist position is that in thought we are matter (objective reality) reflecting on itself. Contrary to language (or anything else) being a barrier to our knowing the world, every aspect of us including our use of language has developed from and to know the world through our senses. Our knowledge of the world is continually tested and refined – by nature – in practice. ‘Truth,’ as a result, is never absolute but always deepening.

4.‘The task of the theory of universal grammar is the rational reconstruction of a system of rules that is not yet recognised or theoretically specifiable even though it is already practically mastered and to that extent known. …Chomsky, in introducing the concept of linguistic competence, is compelled to perform an idealisation. He himself talks of the ideal speaker-hearer: “Linguistic theory is concerned primarily with an ideal speaker-listener”’ Habermas, ‘Universal Pragmatics: Reflections on a Theory of Communicative Competence’ in On the Pragmatics of Social Interaction, Trans., Barbara Fultner, MIT, Massachusetts, 2001, 68

5. ‘Chomsky uses this assumption of an innate linguistic capacity to support the further assumption that all normally socialised members of a speech community, if they have learned to speak at all, have complete mastery of the system of abstract linguistic rules.’ Ibid., 70

6. ‘nothing would stand in the way of the concept of one reason today if philosophy and science were able to reach through the thicket of natural languages to the logical grammar of a single language’, Habermas, ‘The Unity of Reason in the Diversity of Its Voices,’ Post-Metaphysical Thinking, MIT, 1992, pp. 115-148, 134

7. ‘The idea of the redeemability of criticisable validity claims requires idealisations that, as adopted by the communicating actors themselves, are thereby brought down from transcendental heaven to the earth of the lifeworld. The theory of communicative action detranscendentalises the noumenal realm only to have the idealising force of context-transcending anticipations settle in the unavoidable pragmatic presuppositions of speech acts, and hence in the heart of ordinary, everyday communicative practice.’, ‘Law as Social Mediation Between Facts and Norms’, op. cit., 18-19

8. Habermas acknowledges that his philosophy employs both an absolute and metaphysics: ‘The moment of unconditionality that is preserved in the discursive concepts of a fallibilistic truth and morality is not an absolute, or it is at most an absolute that has become fluid (my italics) as a critical procedure. Only with this residue of metaphysics (my italics) can we do battle against the transfiguration of the world through metaphysical truths’, ‘The Unity of Reason in the Diversity of Its Voices’ op. cit., 144

9. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus 1921, Trans. D. F. Pears and B. F. McGuinness, Introduction Bertrand Russell, Routledge, New York, 2005 (1st pub. in English in 1922). Habermas agreed, writing ‘There are indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical’ (2002: 46, emphasis added), in Mel Gray and Terence Lovat, ‘Practical Mysticism, Habermas, and Social Work Praxis’, Journal of Social Work, Vol. 8, Issue 2, 2008 pp. 149-162, 156. The authors conclude their article with ‘we believe we are on solid ground in inferring a conceptual link between Habermasian self-reflective knowing and practical mysticism.’ Ibid., 158

10. ‘Law as Social Mediation Between Facts and Norms’, op. cit., 14

11. ‘“Real” is what can be represented in true statements, whereas “true” can be explained in turn by reference to the claim one person raises before others by asserting a proposition. …we cannot break out of the sphere of language and argumentation, even if we must understand reality as what we can represent in true statements‘ Ibid., 14