Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (3):381-407 (2009)

Jürgen Habermas’s theories have received enormous attention in the public sphere as well as in political science. It is therefore surprising that his method, rational reconstruction, is not more debated. In political science the method is of particular interest because of its ambition to bridge the gap between empirical and normative approaches. In this article the author traces Habermas’s interest in rational reconstruction by going back to his writings on theory and practice and subsequently shows what the method’s main principles are. He then specifies how this methodological conception is used in Habermas’s political theory. Finally, the introduction of an empirical design allows the author to discuss one of the fundamental tensions in Habermas’s approach: the hypotheses arrived at through rational reconstruction are empirical hypotheses but cannot be tested by empirical means
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DOI 10.1177/0048393108329796
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References found in this work BETA

Critical Theory.James Bohman - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A Postscript to Knowledge and Human Interests*†.Jürgen Habermas & Christian Lenhardt - 1973 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 3 (2):157-189.
On Reconstructive Legal and Political Theory.Bernhard Peters - 1994 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 20 (4):101-134.
Introduction.Frédéric Volpi & Bryan S. Turner - 2007 - Theory, Culture and Society 24 (2):1-19.

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Social Philosophy: A Reconstructive or Deconstructive Discipline?Jørgen Pedersen - 2012 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (6):619-643.
Judgment and Imagination in Habermas' Theory of Law.Thomas Fossen - 2015 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 41 (10):1069-1091.

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