Teobaldelli, Paolo: "The Semiotic Turn in Karl-Otto Apel's Philosophy"


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It is particularly relevant, for Apel, to underline the pragmatic-intersubjective feature of this Peircian conception and its derivation from the Kantian transcendental problematic.
Yet Apel hermeneutically constrains the ternary Peircian relation. Peirce, as a matter of fact, aimed, with his triad, at binding knowledge to a real evidence which would have been accessible to everybody (in this sense his phaneroscopy is in fact similar to Husserl's phenomenology), and therefore he aimed to demonstrate that the Kantian setting placed reality within the domain of the unknowable, since the thing-in-itself (i.e. reality) was out of the domain of consciousness. Kant thus stumbled on an extreme aporia, since the thing-in-itself was at the same time given and denied. The conception worked out by Peirce tries indeed to lead science back in the domain of reality, and thus to the explication of facts. According to him the consensus on a theory is therefore the testing of such theory on facts, a testing that would thereby make its validity evident, by experimenting it. Anyone who would repeat on facts such an application would obtain the same results.
Indeed, Apel introduces a hermeneutic interpretation of the experimental consensus of Peirce, which depends, in my opinion, upon the results of his re-interpretation of Wittgenstein's thought (see Teobaldelli 1998b). In a previous article dealing with Wittgenstein, Apel (1962) tried to depurate the concept of the linguistic game from its own assumption of unknowability, of pragmatic relative mediacy, by saving its transcendental possibility through a hermeneutic transformation.


4. The Transcendental Hermeneutic Transformation of Wittgenstein's Relative Linguistic Game

Apel believes that the linguistic game, although a concrete and situated form of life, would nevertheless contain within itself the fact of being and also a transcendental pre-comprehension, and therefore constitutes, within the dialectic relation of inter-exchange between the various linguistic games, a relation which is made possible by the unity of such games, a unity ensured by them being part of a larger presupposed game which transcends and encompasses them.
But we must deeply value this depuration of the concept of linguistic game from the assumption of unknowability, since in Wittgenstein it includes the impossibility of a precise shared knowledge of the subjective experience of the object expressed by the meaning. Wittgenstein thought of the linguistic game as the pragmatic possibility of the expression of a subjective perception of the world. But the true aspect of this subjective perception cannot fit entirely within the form of language, which is therefore only approximately similar to it. Mind and language are thus conceived as two incongruent dimensions, and the gnoseological experience of perception has an enduring primacy over the mediation of it made by language.
Therefore I am led to remark that the transcendental meta-linguistic re-collocation at which Apel arrives through the linguistic game seems, paradoxically, just like the Wittgensteinian outcome it aims to neutralise. As a matter of fact in this way Apel would annul the main task of the notion of Wittgenstein's linguistic game, i.e. its pretension of avoiding a metaphysical foundation. Indeed, Apel works it in a way that can be argued to be metaphysically-grounded, since in his view the transcendental linguistic game does not have, as an object, a direct relation with the world, but rather some pragmatic mediation of such a relation, i.e. the linguistic game as forms of life in the Wittgensteinian sense.






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1998.06.16