Habermas “Hegelized”

Philosophy Research Archives 8:339-365 (1982)
Since the early seventies, when English translations of Jürgen Habermas’ principal works became available to English-speaking scholars, there has been a virtual “Habermas explosion” of research papers, dissertations and books. Informative and penetrating discussions already exist discussing Habermas’ encounter with positivism and his relationship to the “Frankfurt school.” There are however few detailed discussions of the theoretical relationships between Habermas’ project of a critical theory of society and Hegel’s system. We attempt to correct this previous omission in the following paper.The central thesis of Jürgen Habermas’ Knowledge and Human Interests is that theoretical discourse is fundamentally tied to human experience. Habermas wishes to show that all theoretical statements about the world have their genesis in the experience of everyday life and practices. His particular understanding of this approach to the question of the possibility of knowledge has its origins in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. The Phenomenology defines the development of knowledge in terms of a science of experience and must therefore constitute the main text in locating the philosophical parameters of Habermas’ thought. Our paper is an exercise in hermeneutics addressed to this task.In rejecting both Hegel’s philosophy of identity and Marx’s ontology of nature, Habermas has forced himself into a position where he must elaborate exactly how knowledge is possible at all. That is, the question which he confronts concerns the underlying basis of human experience. Hegel and Marx in Habermas’ opinion, were both unsuccessful in developing an adequate account of human life precisely because they tended to give an absolute basis to the the structure of the world. Knowledge itself, was considered as knowledge of something which existed beyond the scope of human control. Habermas attempts to overcome these difficulties by developing an explicitly ontological account of man through his theory of cognitive interests. Thus the process of reflection is ‘guided’ by certain cognitive interests. These interests perform the same function in Habermas’ system as does the notion of Geist in Hegel’s or Nature in Marx’s. They determine the conditions by which ‘knowledge’ can be generated and thus constitute the grounds upon which our world-view is constituted
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0164-0771
DOI 10.5840/pra198283
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,470
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
G. Khan (2012). Politics and Morality in Habermas' Discourse Ethics. Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (2):149-168.
Max Pensky (2005). Jürgen Habermas, Existential Hero? Radical Philosophy Review 8 (2):197-209.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

5 ( #573,313 of 1,925,556 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #418,152 of 1,925,556 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.