By Professor J.J. Hendricks,
California State University,
Stanislaus Department of Politics and Public Administration
This paper examines the points of agreement and difference between two theorists who address similar themes in very different milieus, coming from different perspectives and disciplines. One of the theorists, Arnold Mindell would call this a bootstrap paper discussing two bootstrap theories. Seyla Benhabib’s stated philosophical project is “to situate reason and the moral self in contexts of gender and community , while insisting of the discursive power of individuals to challenge such situatedness in the name of future identities and communities, and universalistic principles.”
1 A critical theorist, Benhabib extends Habermas’ discourse theory by reconstituting it phenomenologically though insights gleaned from Hannah Arendt and Carol Gilligan. She intends to capture a pragmatic, yet utopian vision of reflexivity and radical egalitarianism through the moral conversation, and further, she extends the options for the marginalized in challenging their situatedness as mentioned above. She situates discourse theory, “between liberalism and communitarianism, Kantian universalism and Hegelian Sittlihkeit.”
2 Arnold Mindell’s is a theory of emergence.
3 His stated psychological goal is “to develop skills and methods for working with the emerging world situation: a planet with five thousand different languages and religions whose inhabitants know more about launching spaceships than about getting
along with each other. This form of process psychology is world work – an interdisciplinary method that helps small and large groups of people to live, work and grow together within their environment. The challenge is to develop organizational and conflict resolution so that they reflect democratic principles and are widely applicable.
4 Mindell draws on modern psychology – “the Jungian method of following the unconscious, the Gestalt focus on process, Carl Rogers unconditional support for the individual, the transpersonal focus on the divine, and the systems principles from economics, politics and physics.”
5 His primary influences are Jung, physics and the Tao. He too, is interested in extending options for expression of voices left out of the discussion.
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