Canadian Journal of Philosophy 33 (3):423-440 (2003)

In his long attempt to solve the vexing and diverse problems of formulating a critical social science of modern societies, Habermas has along the way borrowed from many and quite diverse theoretical and philosophical resources, including Anglo-American analytic philosophy of language, ethics and political philosophy. Initially, Habermas borrowed extensively from American Pragmatism, first Peirce’s philosophy of inquiry and then later from George Herbert Mead, whose thought his own enterprise most closely resembled. With his increasing concern with the rationality of communication and action, Habermas turned to analytic theories of meaning, or more specifically, to speech act theory and its account of illocutionary force. As one part of a large research program in which various empirical disciplines could be appropriated for normative philosophical purposes, speech act theory and theories of meaning became crucial to reconstructing the competence and rationality that knowledgeable social agents manifest in their everyday activities and interactions. Taken together, these theories provided him with the means to formulate the master distinction on which his account of rationality and the theoretical edifice built upon it stands or falls: the deeply substantive and thus not merely analytic distinction between instrumental and communicative action on which a novel and distinctive theory of rationality could be based.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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DOI 10.1080/00455091.2003.10716550
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Knowledge and Human Interests.Richard W. Miller - 1975 - Philosophical Review 84 (2):261.
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Knowledge and Human Interests.Howard L. Parsons - 1972 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 33 (2):281-282.

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