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Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought

Essays on Aesthetics, Ethics, and Postmodernism

These four essays, drawn from two books by one of Germany's foremost philosophers, go to the heart of a number of contemporary issues: Adorno's aesthetics, the nature of a postmodern ethics, and the persistence of modernity in the so-called postmodern age.

Building a Better Paradigm

The Redemption of Illusion

Theodor Adorno's Aesthetic Theory is a vast labyrinth that anyone interested in modern aesthetic theory must at some time enter. Because of his immense difficulty of the same order as Derrida - Adorno's reception has been slowed by the lack of a comprehensive and comprehensible account of the intentions of his aesthetics. This is the first book to put Aesthetic Theory into context and outline the main ideas and relevant debates, offering readers a valuable guide through this huge, difficult, but revelatory work.

These thirteen essays by noted philosophers and social theorists continue a timely celebration and examination of Jürgen Habermas's unfinished project of reconstructing enlightenment rationality. Focusing on the cultural and political aspects of Habermas's work, the essays take up critical theory and political practice, the sociology of political practice, historical-philosophical reflections on culture, moral development in childhood and society, and the foundations of critical social theory. Essays in a companion volume,

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.

These 11 essays by noted philosophers and social theorists take up the philosophical aspects of Jürgen Habermas's unfinished project of reconstructing enlightenment rationality. They range in subject matter from classical problems to contemporary debates, covering historical perspectives, theoretical issues, and postenlightenment challenges. A companion volume of essays will take up the cultural and political aspects of the work. Together, the two volumes underscore the richness and variety of Habermas's project.

Edited by Craig Calhoun

The relationship between civil society and public life is in the forefront of contemporary discussion. No single scholarly voice informs this discussion more than that of Jürgen Habermas. His contributions have shaped the nature of debates over critical theory, feminism, cultural studies, and democratic politics. In this book, scholars from a wide range of disciplines respond to Habermas's most directly relevant work, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere.

Cultural Criticism and the Historians' Debate

Jürgen Habermas is well known for his scholarly works on the theoretical foundations of the human sciences. The New Conservatism brings to light another side of Habermas's talents, showing him as an incisive commentator on a wide range of contemporary themes.

Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project

Walter Benjamin's magnum opus was a book he did not live to write. In The Dialectics of Seeing, Susan Buck-Morss offers an inventive reconstruction of the Passagen Werk, or Arcades Project, as it might have taken form. Working with Benjamin's vast files of citations and commentary which contain a myriad of historical details from the dawn of consumer culture, Buck-Morss makes visible the conceptual structure that gives these fragments philosophical coherence.

Carl Schmitt (1888-1985), the author of such books as Political Theology and The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy (both published in English by The MIT Press), was one of the leading political and legal theorists of the twentieth century. His critical discussions of liberal democratic ideals and institutions continue to arouse controversy, but even his opponents concede his uncanny sense for the basic problems of modern politics.

Friedrich Nietzsche was a troublesome genius, a figure outside the mainstream philosophical tradition whose very apartness has made him central to contemporary philosophy. Nietzsche and Political Thought reclaims the political implications of Nietzsche's work: it shows how his philosophy of power addresses key issues in modern political thought especially those having to do with the historical and cultural nature of human agency.

Critical Essays and Recollections
Edited by Gary Smith

Bringing together the best critical essays on one of the most fascinating literary figures of our time, this book immediately takes its place as a major source for Benjamin scholarship. Hannah Arendt called Walter Benjamin "the outstanding literary critic of the twentieth century" when she introduced him to English-language readers in 1968 with the selection of essays entitled Illuminations. Since then, his life and work have entered the domain of literary legend.

This timely reader in moral philosophy addresses a controversy that strongly affected recent European reflections on the relevance of ethics for theories of democratic institutions and democratic legitimacy. The debate centers around the idea of a communicative ethics as articulated by Jürgen Habermas and Karl-Otto Apel, and it is representative both of recent attempts to bridge the gap between Continental and Anglo-American philosophy and of the turn to language that has characterized much of recent philosophy.

In this lucid historical introduction to a major tradition in Western thought, Harry Liebersohn discusses five scholars—Ferdinand Tonnies, Ernst Troeltsch, Max Weber, Georg Simmel, and Georg Lukács—who were responsible for the creation of modern German sociology. This tradition has generally been interpreted as having a tragic, "fatalistic" perspective on modem society; Liebersohn argues that this sense of fate was matched by an underlying utopian hope for an end to fragmentation, rooted for all of his subjects in the Lutheran idea of community.

Concept Formation in the Cultural Sciences

Philosophers and social scientists will welcome this highly original discussion of Max Weber's analysis of the objectivity of social science. Guy Oakes traces the vital connection between Weber's methodology and the work of philosopher Heinrich Rickert, reconstructing Rickert's notoriously difficult concepts in order to isolate the important, and until now poorly understood, roots of problems in Weber's own work.

On the Semantics of Historical Time

In these fifteen essays, one Of Germany's most distinguished philosophers of history invokes an extraordinary array of witnesses and texts to explore the concept of historical time. The witnesses include politicians, philosophers, theologians, and poets, and the texts range from Renaissance paintings to the dreams of German citizens in the 1930s. Using these remarkable materials, Koselleck investigates the relationship of history to language, and of language to the deeper movements of human understanding.

In a provocative argument that ends with his own sharply profiled position, Jürgen Habermas considers the main lines of thought pursued by epistemologists and methodologists of the social sciences - from NeoKantianism to behaviorism. For two decades, the German edition of this classic has been a standard reference point for discussions of the social sciences.

Jürgen Habermas is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt.

Hegel, Heidegger, and the Entitlements of Philosophy

What are the assumptions and tasks hidden in contemporary calls to "overcome" the metaphysical tradition? Reflecting upon the internal contradictions of the notions of "tradition" and "finiteness," Dennis J. Schmidt offers novel insights into how philosophy must relate to its traditions if it is to retain a vital sense of the plurality of "edges" that constitute its finiteness. He does this through a close examination of issues found in the work of Hegel and Heidegger, two philosophers who made the ideas of both tradition and finiteness the center of their concern.

This major work by the German philosopher Hans Blumenberg is a monumental rethinking of the significance of the Copernican revolution for our understanding of modernity. It provides an important corrective to the view of science as an autonomous enterprise and presents a new account of the history of interpretations of the significance of the heavens for man.

Hans Blumenberg is Professor of Philosophy, emeritus, at the University of Munster in West Germany. This book is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy

An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society

This is Jurgen Habermas's most concrete historical-sociological book and one of the key contributions to political thought in the postwar period. It will be a revelation to those who have known Habermas only through his theoretical writing to find his later interests in problems of legitimation and communication foreshadowed in this lucid study of the origins, nature, and evolution of public opinion in democratic societies.

Theories of Modernity in the Work of Simmel, Kracauer, and Benjamin

Fragments of Modernity provides a critical introduction to the work of three of the most original German thinkers of the early 20th century. In their different ways, all three illuminated the experience of the modern in urban life, whether in mid-19th-century Paris or in Berlin at the turn of the century or later as the vanguard city of the Weimar Republic.

Described both as "the Hobbes of our age" and as "the philosophical godfather of Nazism," Carl Schmitt was a brilliant and controversial political theorist whose doctrine of political leadership and critique of liberal democratic ideals distinguish him as one of the most original contributors to modern political theory. The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy offers a powerful criticism of the inconsistencies of representative democracy.

A Transcendental-Pragmatic Perspective

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