Major Papers


Critical Theory, Social Philosophy, Reasoning, Rationality, Immanent Critique, Internal Critique


I consider two variants of immanent critique ala Jaeggi and Putnam which both seem wedded to forms of metaphysical realism, and I intend to show how Rorty’s denial of the ‘functional’ as a category weighs against Jaeggi’s account of the role of “functional-ethical” norms in the analysis of real crisis. I argue that Jaeggi’s ‘immanent’ criticism relies on untenable metaphysical notions of progress and that, despite her argument that immanent critique draws its own standards from the object of criticism, she ends up sneaking strong foundations into her critique through her notion of crisis. Charles Taylor provides a non-foundational model of critique which avoids relativism and provides an effective tool for argumentation. I argue that his hermeneutical model integrates elements of both internal and immanent modes of critique and therefore provides an advance over both; it is also free from the metaphysical presuppositions and corresponding deficiencies plaguing Jaeggi and Putnam’s models of immanent critique. Ultimately, the idea of an error-reducing transitions does not rely on untenable presuppositions and is far more plausible; Taylor’s straightforward examples make his method less abstract and more practical in implementation than Jaeggi’s crisis-induced transformation involving historical learning processes with its blend of Hegelianism and pragmatism.

Primary Advisor

Radu Neculau

Program Reader

Philip Rose

Degree Name

Master of Arts



Document Type

Major Research Paper

Convocation Year