Organizing Dialogue, Experience and Knowledge for Complex Problem-Solving

Gutmann & Thompson

September 11th, 2004

They make no bones about being prescriptive and laying out the principles and values that “should” inform deliberation. I agree with many, if not all of them, but doubt everyone does, or would, or even should. My agreement is probably based upon (emanates from?) a subjectivity similar to theirs, but I don’t think I want everyone I interact with to be boilerplated along “my” lines (! Horrors!)
While I am attracted to the idealism and possibility in Habermas (as I understand the distillation of his views, having not yet squeezed him in ~ even via Bryan’s audio link), what a bland, dull, and monotonous mode of production.
I am intrigued, however, by the chart G&T have put together on p. 53, contrasting prudence, reciprocity, and impartiality as principled (philosophical?) bases for approaching moral disagreement. The notable absence in sign language interpreter’s code of ethics (in the US) of any mention of “impartiality” has been a gap that has drawn my attention for a variety of reasons, but this reading has me wondering if there is an even deeper debate between/among members of the Deaf community and sign language interpreters – one which challenges the basic assumptions embodied in an “impartial” base. Deaf people have overtly questioned this as a different cultural value, but I hadn’t yet come across an alternative. I think the notion of reciprocity might do it ~ being as it already is a noted and notable intra-group value of American Deaf Culture. The premises and assumptions that accompany these three foundational bases (as laid out by G&T) open up terms for deliberation (!) that might actually move the institutionalizing forces of the RID (national certifying body) and NAD (nat’l advocacy organization for the Deaf) toward a mutually-satisfactory outcome.
So, I’m wondering if deliberation based on reciprocity is a contingent strategy or mode that needs to be responsive to the conditions and environment of a particular issue? It may, in fact, be quite well suited to some contexts, and inappropriate for others. G&T seem to propose it as the rubric for all political decisions. I think this is much too broad.

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Categories: Democracy, Rhetoric and Performance, Interpreting
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