Walter Reese-Schäfer, "Karl-Otto Apel: Zur Einführung"

Journal of Value Inquiry 27 (3/4):543 (1993)
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Walter Reese-Schäfer, Karl-Otto Apel, Zur Einführung (with an Afterword by Jürgen Habermas), Junis Verlag GmbH, Hamburg 1990, 176pp. DM 17.80 The author, presently a freelance writer published in the newspaper “Die Zeit” and the magazine “Stern,” pro­vides in this small book a clear and concise introduction to sources, themes and conclusions in the philosophy of Karl-Otto Apel. Apel, Emeritus Pro­fessor at Frank­furt, and close colleague of Habermas, characterizes his viewpoint as a “transcen­dental pragmatism” in which a Kantian concern for question regarding “the conditions for the possi­bility of some­thing,” (p.10) mixes with deontological discourse-ethics, semeiotic themes from Peirce, an ap­proach to fallibilism, the demand for “final justifica­tions” (Letzt­begründung) and German her­meneutics. In view of the “den­sity and concentration” of Apel’s texts, which often have a “deterrent effect” upon those not already at home with “the phil­osophical language game,” it is the announced aim of this book to provide a work of translation and clarification of Apel’s special­ized efforts --in effect an orientation to Apel’s work. The book divides into an Introduction, 8 chapters and a summary conclusion --with Habermas’ appreciation, “A Master Builder with Hermeneutic Feeling --The Way of Philosopher Karl-Otto Apel,” bringing up the rear. There is also a bibliography of primary and secondary sources and a short table outlining highlights of Apel’s career. The “Introduction” provides a good overview of the aims of the book and gets one started on central themes.
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