The article critically analyzes the perception on the incompatibility of the Filipino self-understanding as kapwa with Habermas’s notion of argumentative discourse that champions autonomy and individuality. It argues that this apparent incompatibility is more due to the absence of an imagination of non-Western forms of rationalization processes and reflexivity, than to the commonly held claim of the incommensurability of lifeworlds. The key to this imagination is to locate potential rationalization processes from within modes of communication that reinforce kapwa solidarity. In the end, the article shows that kwentuhan, which is the mode of communication that is integrated with kapwa solidarity, contains enabling components for reflexivity, and thereby makes individuals more open and receptive to the process of argumentation as a rational and inclusive procedure for resolving conflicts.
Habermas and Argumentation in the Philippine Context
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