Habermas

In David Boucher & Paul Kelly (eds.), Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present. Oxford University Press (2009)

Authors
Kenneth Baynes
Syracuse University
Abstract
Jurgen Habermas is one of the most important German philosophers and social theorists of the 20 th century. His work has been compared in scope with Max Weber’s and in philosophical breadth to that of Kant and Hegel. This much-needed introduction engages with the full range of Habermas’s philosophical work, addressing his early arguments concerning the emergence of the public sphere, assessing the origins of his thinking about deliberative democracy and his criticisms of positivism and technocracy. It then examines one of Habermas’s most influential works, The Theory of Communicative Action, before examining his theories of meaning and truth. Also covered is Habermas's work on discourse ethics, political and legal theory, as well as his comparison between democracy and constitutionalism, and his arguments concerning human rights and cosmopolitanism. The final chapter assesses Habermas’s role as a polemical and prominent public intellectual and his criticism of postmodernism in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity , in addition to his more recent writings on the relationship between religion and democracy. Including an overview of Habermas's life and work, a chronology, chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary, Habermas is a superb guide for anyone coming to his work for the first time
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