I spoke to my peer review partner this week on the phone and instantly felt that our mutual understanding of certain topics was validated.  We have been communicating via e-mail the entire semester and this has worked, but after a phone conversation, I realized how hearing a voice, and the tone used, is something I need to validate the messages communicated through e-mail.  Dr. Elieson calls each week to talk and check in.  There have been a few weeks that we had to communicate through e-mail because of travel or computer problems.  E-mail communication is effective when a question is asked, the receiver has time to ponder, research and respond.  However, talking to Dr. Elieson each week gives me a sense of connection and realness to my work and challenges in this program.

Habermas uses the phrase “reaching understanding.”  At a minimum, reaching understanding is that of two individuals, capable of speech and action, understand something the same way.   The intention of the speaker is to make sure he/she is understood.  The steps are: a speaker performs a speech act that is right, the beliefs or intentions are expresses truthfully, and a true statement is made.  Speech acts establish interpersonal relations, according to Habermas.  The other validity claims are: the speaker has a relation to a subject and an event.  A contested speech act is rejecting one or more of these validity claims.  Habermas classifies speech acts into three pure types or limit cases of communicative action: conversation, normatively regulated action, and dramaturgical action.

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