Reflective disclosure is a term coined by philosopher Nikolas Kompridis. In his book Critique and Disclosure: Critical Theory between Past and Future, Kompridis describes a set of heterogeneous social practices he believes can be a source of significant ethical, political, and cultural transformation. Highlighting the work of theorists such as Hannah Arendt, Charles Taylor, Michel Foucault and others, Kompridis calls such practices examples of "reflective disclosure" after Martin Heidegger's insights into the phenomenon of world disclosure. He also argues that social criticism or critique, and in particular critical theory, ought to incorporate Heidegger's insights about this phenomenon and reorient itself around practices of reflective disclosure if it is, as he puts it, "to have a future worthy of its past".
Kompridis argues that much of what is today called "critical theory" has ignored the utopian concerns that previously animated that tradition, in favour of a Habermasian self-understanding that restricts itself to clarifying the procedures by which we can reach agreement in modern democratic societies. Reflective disclosure, by contrast, denotes practices through which we can imagine and articulate meaningful alternatives to current social and political conditions (for example, by uncovering possibilities that were previously suppressed or untried, or by refocusing a problem in a way that makes something previously unintelligible, intelligble) in order to regenerate hope and confidence in the future, offering new ways to "go on" differently.
These practices, according to Kompridis, constitute what Charles Taylor calls a "new department" of reason which is distinct from instrumental reason or reason understood merely as the "slave of the passions" (Hume), and also from the idea of reason as public justification (Rawls). In contrast to theories of social and political change that emphasize socio-historical "contradictions" (i.e., Marxist and neo-Marxist), and those that try to make sense of change in terms of processes that are outside the scope of human agency, Kompridis' vision for critical theory, with reflective disclosure at the centre, is to help reopen the future by disclosing alternative possibilities for speech and action, self-critically expanding what he calls the normative and logical "space of possibility".
- Critical theory
- Frankfurt School
- Immanent critique
- Nikolas Kompridis
- World disclosure
- "World disclosing" arguments
- Nikolas Kompridis, Critique and Disclosure: Critical Theory between Past and Future (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006), 34–36.
- Nikolas Kompridis, Critique and Disclosure: Critical Theory between Past and Future (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006), xi.
- Charles Taylor, Philosophical Arguments, pp. 12, 15.
- Nikolas Kompridis, Critique and Disclosure: Critical Theory between Past and Future (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006), 137; 264.