Philosophy & social criticism


This book offers an excellent analysis of Habermas’s theory of communicative action. It has two distinct but complementary focuses. In the first part, the conception of communicative rationality at the basis of Habermas’s theory of action is confronted with the conception of instrumental rationality that is predominant in the social sciences: rational choice theory. The main focus of this analysis is to evaluate the plausibility of one central claim of Habermas’s theory, namely, that communicative rationality is irreducible to instrumental rationality and thus constitutes a necessary element of a general theory of rationality. Although Heath’s analysis confirms the correctness of Habermas’s claim, it does so on the basis of a command of decision and game theory, the sophistication of which goes well beyond anything that Habermas himself (and most of his commentators) have so far actually provided. This is undoubtedly one of the most important achievements of the book. For it offers the so far missing argumentative step from the intuitiveness of Habermas’s irreducibility claim to a careful demonstration of what it is exactly about linguistic communication that cannot be modeled instrumentally. Moreover, this careful demonstration includes a very interesting and equally sophisticated analysis of the implications of Habermas’s theory for the philosophy of language, which so far has received too little attention by most of Habermas’s commentators.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 86,403

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

What is a validity claim?Joseph Heath - 1998 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 24 (4):23-41.
A critique of Habermas' theory of practical rationality.Nader Saiedi - 1987 - Studies in East European Thought 33 (3):251-265.
Jürgen Habermas.David M. Rasmussen & James Swindal (eds.) - 2002 - Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications.
Freedom of communicative action.Lawrence B. Solum - 1989 - Northwestern University Law Review 83 (1):54-135.
Habermas, Kantian pragmatism, and truth.Steven Levine - 2010 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 36 (6):677-695.


Added to PP

95 (#155,380)

6 months
1 (#867,495)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references