This long-awaited book sets out the implications of Habermas's theory of communicative action for moral theory. "Discourse ethics" attempts to reconstruct a moral point of view from which normative claims can be impartially judged. The theory of justice it develops replaces Kant's categorical imperative with a procedure of justification based on reasoned agreement among participants in practical discourse.Habermas connects communicative ethics to the theory of social action via an examination of research in the social psychology of moral and interpersonal development. (...) He aims to show that our basic moral intuitions spring from something deeper and more universal than contingent features of our tradition, namely from normative presuppositions of social interaction that belong to the repertoire of competent agents in any society. JÃ¼rgen Habermas is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt. (shrink)
translated, edited, and with an introduction by Max Pensky Does a global economy render the traditional nation-state obsolete? Does globalization threaten democratic life, or offer it new forms of expression? What are the implications of globalization for our understanding of politics and of national and cultural identities?In The Postnational Constellation, Jürgen Habermas addresses these and other questions. He explores the historical and political origins of national identity, the achievements and catastrophes of the twentieth century, the future of democracy in the (...) wake of the era of the nation-state, the political and moral challenges facing the European Union, and the status of global human rights in the ongoing debate on the sources of cultural identity. In their scope, critical insight, and clarity, the essays present a powerful vision of the contemporary political scene and the opportunities and challenges facing us. Those new to Habermas's work will find in this book a lucid and engaging introduction to one of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers. Those familiar with Habermas's writings will appreciate the application of his social and political theories to current political realities. (shrink)
Die Wirkung der Schrift "Erkenntnis und Interesse" ging weit über die akademische Debatte hinaus und hatte auch unmittelbaren Einfluß auf den politischen Diskurs in den 70er Jahren. Denn die kritische Reflexion auf die vorgängig leitenden Interessen, die den Erkenntnisprozessen ihre Richtung geben, entzog der Kantischen Vorstellung den Boden, alle Erkenntnis beruhe allein auf der Selbstbestimmtheit des erkennenden Subjekts."Ich verspüre keine große Neigung, Gegenstand einer nostalgischen Veranstaltung zu sein." J.H.
A new edition of the highly acclaimed book Multiculturalism and "The Politics of Recognition," this paperback brings together an even wider range of leading philosophers and social scientists to probe the political controversy surrounding ...
Jurgen Habermas has developed the theory of communicative action primarily in the context of critical social and political theory and discourse ethics. The essays collected in this volume, however, focus on the theory's implications for epistemology and metaphysics. They address two fundamental issues that have not figured prominently in his work since the early 1970s. One is the question of naturalism: How can the ineluctable normativity of the perspective of agents interacting in a linguistically structured lifeworld be reconciled with the (...) contingency of the emergence and evolution of forms of life? The other is a key problem facing epistemological realism after the linguistic turn: How can the assumption that there is an independently existing world be reconciled with the linguistic insight that we cannot have unmediated access to "brute" reality?Truth and Justification collects Habermas's major essays on these topics published since the mid-1990s. They offer detailed discussions of truth and objectivity as well as an account of the representational function of language in terms of the formal-pragmatic framework he has developed. In defending his post-Kantian pragmatism, Habermas draws on both the continental and analytic traditions and endorses a weak naturalism and a form of epistemological realism. (shrink)
Abstract: Human rights developed in response to specific violations of human dignity, and can therefore be conceived as specifications of human dignity, their moral source. This internal relationship explains the moral content and moreover the distinguishing feature of human rights: they are designed for an effective implementation of the core moral values of an egalitarian universalism in terms of coercive law. This essay is an attempt to explain this moral-legal Janus face of human rights through the mediating role of the (...) concept of human dignity. This concept is due to a remarkable generalization of the particularistic meanings of those "dignities" that once were attached to specific honorific functions and memberships. In spite of its abstract meaning, "human dignity" still retains from its particularistic precursor concepts the connotation of depending on the social recognition of a status—in this case, the status of democratic citizenship. Only membership in a constitutional political community can protect, by granting equal rights, the equal human dignity of everybody. (shrink)
Recent developments in biotechnology and genetic research are raising complex ethical questions concerning the legitimate scope and limits of genetic intervention. As we begin to contemplate the possibility of intervening in the human genome to prevent diseases, we cannot help but feel that the human species might soon be able to take its biological evolution in its own hands. 'Playing God' is the metaphor commonly used for this self-transformation of the species, which, it seems, might soon be within our grasp. (...) In this important new book, Jurgen Habermas - the most influential philosopher and social thinker in Germany today - takes up the question of genetic engineering and its ethical implications and subjects it to careful philosophical scrutiny. His analysis is guided by the view that genetic manipulation is bound up with the identity and self-understanding of the species. We cannot rule out the possibility that knowledge of one's own hereditary factors may prove to be restrictive for the choice of an individual's way of life and may undermine the symmetrical relations between free and equal human beings. In the concluding chapter - which was delivered as a lecture on receiving the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade for 2001 - Habermas broadens the discussion to examine the tension between science and religion in the modern world, a tension which exploded, with such tragic violence, on September 11th. (shrink)
James Bohman has succeeded in reinvigorating the old debate over explanation and understanding by situating it within contemporary discussions about sociological indeterminacy and complexity. I argue that Bohman's preference for a paradigm based on Habermas's theory of communicative action is justifiable given the explanatory deficiencies of ethnomethodological, rational choice, rule-based, and functionalist methodologies. Yet I do not share his belief that the paradigm is preferable to less formalized models of interpretation.
This collection of Habermas's recent essays on philosophical topics continues the analysis begun in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. In a short introductory essay, he outlines the sources of twentieth-century philosophizing, its major themes, and the range of current debates. The remainder of the essays can be seen as his contribution to these debates.Habermas's essay on George Herbert Mead is a focal point of the book. In it he sketches a postmetaphysical, intersubjective approach to questions of individuation and subjectivity. In (...) other essays, he develops his distinctive, communications-theoretic approach to questions of meaning and validity. The book as a whole expands on his earlier efforts to define a middle ground between nostalgic revivals of metaphysical conceptions of reason and radical deconstructions of reason. Jürgen Habermas is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt.The Essays: The Horizon of Modernity is Shifting. Metaphysics after Kant. Themes in Postmetaphysical Thinking. Toward a Critique of the Theory of Meaning. Peirce and Communication. The Unity of Reason in the Diversity of Its Voices. Individuation through Socialization: On George Herbert Mead's Theory of Subjectivity. Philosophy and Science as Literature? (shrink)
Here, for the first time in English, is volume one of Jurgen Habermas's long-awaited magnum opus: The Theory of Communicative Action. This pathbreaking work is guided by three interrelated concerns: to develop a concept of communicative rationality that is no longer tied to the subjective and individualistic premises of modern social and political theory; to construct a two-level concept of society that integrates the 'lifeworld' and 'system' paradigms; and to sketch out a critical theory of modernity that explains its sociopathologies (...) in a new way. Habermas approaches these tasks through a combination of conceptual analyses, systematic reflections, and critical reconstructions of such predecessors as Marx and Weber, Durkheim and Mead, Horkheimer and Adorno, Schutz and Parsons. Reason and the Rationalization of Society develops a sociological theory of action that stresses not its means-ends or teleological aspect, but the need to coordinate action socially via communication. In the introductory chapter Habermas sets out a powerful series of arguments on such foundational issues as cultural and historical relativism, the methodology of Verstehen, the inseparabilty of interpretation from critique. In addition to clarifying the normative foundations of critical social inquiry, this sets the stage for a systematic appropriation of Weber's theory of rationalization and its Marxist reception by Lukacs, Horkheimer and Adorno. This is an important book for degree students of philosophy, sociology and related subjects. (shrink)
Religious toleration first became legally enshrined in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. Religious toleration led to the practice of more general inter-subjective recognition of members of democratic states which took precedence over differences of conviction and practice. After considering the extent to which a democracy may defend itself against the enemies of democracy and to which it should be prepared to tolerate civil disobedience, the article analyses the contemporary dialectic between the notion of civil inclusion and multiculturalism. Religious (...) toleration is seen as the pacemaker for modern multiculturalism, in which the claims of minorities to civic inclusion are recognized so long as members of all groups understand themselves to be citizens of one and the same political community. Footnotes1 Royal Institute of Philosophy Annual Lecture, 2003. (shrink)
In this, the second of two articles outlining a theory of communicative competence, the author questions the ability of Chomsky's account of linguistic competence to fulfil the requirements of such a theory. ?Linguistic competence? for Chomsky means the mastery of an abstract system of rules, based on an innate language apparatus. The model by which communication is understood on this account contains three implicit assumptions, here called ?monologism?, ?a priorism?, and ?elementarism?. The author offers an outline of a theory of (...) communicative competence that is based on the negations of these assumptions. In opposing the first two assumptions he introduces distinctions, respectively, between semantic universals which process experiences and those that make such processing possible, and between semantic universals which precede all socialization and those that are linked to the conditions of potential socialization. Against elementarism, he argues that the semantic content of all possible natural languages does not consist of combinations of a finite number of meaning components. Differences in systems of classification preclude this, and such differences can be seen to infect all respects of intercultural comparison. Using the notion of ?performative utterance?, the author elucidates the role of dialogue?constitutive universals as part of the formal apparatus required of a?; speaker's capacity to communicate. He then notes what would be required of a general semantics based on a theory of communicative competence; and finally points out how this theory might be used for social analysis. (shrink)
In this, the first of two articles outlining a theory of communicative competence, the author shows how the requirements of such a theory are to be found in an analysis not of the linguistic competence of a native speaker, but of systematic distortion of communication of the kind postulated by psychoanalytic theory. The psychoanalyst's hermeneutic understanding of initially incomprehensible acts and utterances depends on the explanatory power of this understanding, and therefore rests on theoretical assumptions. After a preliminary delineation of (...) the range of incomprehensible acts and utterances dealt with in psychoanalysis, the author presents an account of psychoanalysis as linguistic analysis. He then explicates the key theoretical assumptions underlying the analytical procedure, in particular those relating to the notion of ?scenic understanding?, and concludes by indicating the place of explanatory understanding in a theory of communicative competence. (shrink)
In this astonishingly rich volume, experts in ethics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, political theory, aesthetics, history, critical theory, and hermeneutics bring to light the best philosophical scholarship on what is arguably Nietzsche's most rewarding but most challenging text. Including essays that were commissioned specifically for the volume as well as essays revised and edited by their authors, this collection showcases definitive works that have shaped Nietzsche studies alongside new works of interest to students and experts alike. A lengthy introduction, annotated (...) bibliography, and index make this an extremely useful guide for the classroom and advanced research. (shrink)
Jacques Derrida and Jürgen Habermas have long represented opposite camps in contemporary thought. Derrida, who pioneered the intellectual style of inquiry known as deconstruction, ushered in the postmodern age with his dramatic critique of reason; Habermas, on the other hand, has consistently argued in defense of reason, modernity, and the legacy of the Enlightenment. Their many differences led to a long-standing, if scattered, dialogue, evidence of which has been available in only bits and pieces. But now, for the first time, (...) The Derrida-Habermas Reader brings these pieces together, along with a collection of essays documenting the intellectual relationship between two of the twentieth century’s preeminent thinkers. Taken together, Derrida and Habermas’s writings—combined here with contributions by other prominent philosophers and social theorists—tell the story of the two thinkers’ provocative engagement with each other’s ideas. Beyond exploring the conflict between Derrida’s deconstruction and Habermas’s communicative rationality, they show how the Derrida-Habermas encounter changed over the years, becoming more theoretically productive without ever collapsing into mutual rejection or simple compromise. Lasse Thomassen has divided the essays—including works on philosophy and literature, ethics, politics, and international law—into four parts that cover the full range of thought in which Derrida and Habermas engaged. The last of these sections fittingly includes the thinkers’ jointly signed work on European solidarity and the Iraq War, highlighting the hopes they held in common despite their differences. The wide breadth of this book, along with Thomassen’s lucid introductions to each section, makes The Derrida-Habermas Reader an ideal starting point for anyone interested in one of the most dynamic intellectual debates of our time. (shrink)