Part I. Reconstruction

Introductory Comments (2015)

In Habermas view the kind of reconstruction that he offers with his writings requires empirical support from being tested against our experiential world as well as against scientific resarch. In 2008 published Michael Tomasselo his Origins of Human Communication, that answers in an impressive way this need. Therefor, it is more than incidental that Jürgen Habermas has given the ‘laudatio’ when on the 16th of December 2009 Tomasello has been awarded the Hegel-price by the city of Stuttgart. More recent are Tomasello’s Why we Cooperate (2009, in German translation Warum wir kooperieren 2010), and his A Natural History of Human Thinking (2014). All the mentioned books appear to have a somewhat philosophical approach. Indeed, but they are definitely more than mere theoretical constructs. Who reads the earlier book of Tomasello Constructing a Language. A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition, becomes aware of the fact that his books are fed by and based upon an incredibly rich array of empirical and experimental research (of himself and of others). Among many other important things that these researches make clear about the constituents of social interaction between humans, they offer strong arguments in favor of considering language use as such a constituent. I have been struck by the ‘match’ (in many ways) of the outcomes of Tomasello’s work with Habermas’ reconstruction of the structural features of social interaction. (The text of Habermas’ laudatio can be found on the  following website: See for more about their agreements and their differences Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie, volume 1, pp. 227-245, where Habermas’ very instructive treatment of the origin of language and of a social-cultural form of life can be found.