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Jürgen Habermas

Jürgen Habermas is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt and Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University. He was recently awarded the 2004 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy by the Inamori Foundation. The Kyoto Prize is an international award to honor those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of mankind.

Titles by This Author

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.

Essays on Reason, God and Modernity

This important new volume brings together Jürgen Habermas's key writings on religion and religious belief. In these essays, Habermas explores the relations between Christian and Jewish thought, on one hand, and the Western philosophical tradition on the other. He often approaches these issues through critical encounters with the work of others, including Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, Johann Baptist Metz, and Gershom Scholem.

In an introduction written especially for this volume, Eduardo Mendieta places Habermas's engagement with religion in the context of his work as a whole. Mendieta also discusses Habermas's writings in relation to Jewish Messianism and the Frankfurt School, showing how these essays reflect an important yet often neglected dimension of critical theory. The volume concludes with an original extended interview that examines Habermas's current views on religion and modern society.

Preliminary Studies in the Theory of Communicative Action

In 1971 Jürgen Habermas delivered the Gauss Lectures at Princeton University. These pivotal lectures, entitled "Reflections on the Linguistic Foundation of Sociology," anticipate The Theory of Communicative Action and offer an excellent introduction to it. They show why Habermas considers the linguistic turn in social philosophy to be necessary and contain the first formulation of formal pragmatics, including an important discussion of truth.

In these lectures and two additional essays, Habermas outlines an intersubjective approach to social theory that takes the concepts of meaning and communication to be central. In doing so, he situates his project relative to other influential accounts of how meaning is constituted, in particular those of Edmund Husserl, Wilfrid Sellars, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. He examines the nature of social interaction and its connection to communication, developing a linguistic conception of convention and intentionality. He also offers an account of social and individual pathologies using the concept of systematically distorted communication. Taken together, these analyses contribute significantly to current debates in the philosophy of action and language.

Philosophical Essays

In this collection, Jurgen Habermas engages with a wide range of twentieth-century thinkers. The essays display Habermas's appreciation for various intellectual traditions, his ability to distill the essence of other authors' work, and his outstanding critical powers.

Habermas has described these essays as "fragments of a history of contemporary philosophy." They include explorations of the work of Ernst Cassirer, Karl Jaspers, and Gershom Scholem, as well as responses to friends and colleagues such as Karl-Otto Apel, writer and filmmaker Alexander Kluge, and Michael Thuenissen. The book also includes pieces on the theologian Johann Baptist Metz and the Finnish philosopher Georg Henrik von Wright.

Political Essays

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.

This anthology brings together for the first time, in revised or new translation, ten essays that present the main concerns of Jürgen Habermas's program in formal pragmatics. Its aim is to convey a sense of the overall purpose of Habermas's linguistic investigations while introducing the reader to their specific details.

Habermas's program in formal pragmatics fulfills two main functions. First, it serves as the theoretical underpinning for his theory of communicative action, a crucial element in his theory of society. Second, it contributes to ongoing philosophical discussion of problems concerning meaning, truth, rationality, and action.

By the "pragmatic" dimensions of language, Habermas means those pertaining specifically to the employment of sentences in utterances. He makes clear that "formal" is to be understood in a tolerant sense to refer to the rational reconstruction of general intuitions or competences. Formal pragmatics, then, aims at a systematic reconstruction of the intuitive linguistic knowledge of competent subjects as it is used in everyday communicative practices.

Studies in Political Theory

edited by Ciaran Cronin and Pablo De Greiff Since its appearance in English translation in 1996, J??rgen Habermas's Between Facts and Norms has become the focus of a productive dialogue between German and Anglo-American legal and political theorists. The present volume contains ten essays that provide an overview of Habermas's political thought since the original appearance of Between Facts and Norms in 1992 and extend his model of deliberative democracy in novel ways to issues untreated in the earlier work.Habermas's theory of democracy has at least three features that set it apart from competing positions. First, it combines a concern with questions of normative justification with an empirical analysis of the social conditions necessary for the realization of democratic institutions. Second, at the heart of his model is the assertion of an internal relationship between liberalism and democracy. On this account, the rights of the individual that are central to liberalism can be guaranteed only within a constitutional framework that at the same time fosters democratic rights of political participation through the public sphere. Finally, Habermas defends a conception of universal human rights that is not only sensitive to cultural differences but also calls for legal and political institutions that facilitate the cultivation of cultural and religious identities within pluralistic societies.These essays demonstrate the extraordinary power of Habermas's theory of democracy through a further engagement with Rawls's political liberalism and through original contributions to current debates over nationalism, multiculturalism, and the viability of supranational political institutions.

Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy

In Between Facts and Norms, Jürgen Habermas works out the legal and political implications of his Theory of Communicative Action (1981), bringing to fruition the project announced with his publication of The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere in 1962. This new work is a major contribution to recent debates on the rule of law and the possibilities of democracy in postindustrial societies, but it is much more. The introduction by William Rehg succinctly captures the special nature of the work, noting that it offers a sweeping, sociologically informed conceptualization of law and basic rights, a normative account of the rule of law and the constitutional state, an attempt to bridge normative and empirical approaches to democracy, and an account of the social context required for democracy. Finally, the work frames and caps these arguments with a bold proposal for a new paradigm of law that goes beyond the dichotomies that have afflicted modern political theory from its inception and that still underlie current controversies between so-called liberals and civic republicans. The book includes a postscript written in 1994, which restates the argument in light of its initial reception, and two appendixes, which cover key developments that preceded the book. Habermas himself was actively involved in the translation, adapting the text as necessary to make it more accessible to English-speaking readers.

Remarks on Discourse Ethics

This collection of four essays and an interview contains Habermas's most recent contributions to ethical theory. It expands and clarifies the work on discourse ethics presented in Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action. Here, largely in response to criticisms from contemporary neo-Aristotelians, Habermas underscores the claim of discourse ethics to a preeminent position in contemporary moral philosophy with incisive analyses and refinements of the central concepts of his theory that include important developments in his treatment of practical reason and of the problems of application and motivation.The first essay offers a comprehensive analysis of practical rationality, which establishes a clear demarcation between pragmatic, ethical, and moral questions and a corresponding differentiation between forms of volition and spheres of practical discourse. The centerpiece of the book is a multifaceted defense of the central claims of discourse ethics incorporating masterly critiques of the major competing positions, including those of John Rawls, Bernard Williams, Charles Taylor, Alasdair MacIntyre, Karl-Otto Apel, and Albrecht WellmerThe middle essays defend the basic intention of universalist moral theory in the face of the claims of the neo-Aristotelian ethics of the good and Horkheimer's skepticism toward reason that led him to embrace a religiously inspired ethic of compassion. An interview with Habermas covering such topics as the genesis of discourse ethics, the precise import of some of its more controversial elements, and its interconnections with the theory of communicative actions concludes this important collection.Jürgen Habermas is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt.

Philosophical Essays

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.

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. J??rgen Habermas is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt.

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.

The 1980s have been a crucial decade in the political life of the Federal Republic of Germany. The transformations that accompanied a shift from 13 years of Social Democratic rule to government by the conservative Christian Democrats are captured in this series of insightful, often passionate political and cultural commentaries. The central theme uniting the essays is the German problem of "coming to terms with the past," a problem that has important implications outside Germany as well.

Of particular note are the essays on what has come to be known as the Historians' Debate: Habermas's attack on the revisionist German historians who have been trying to trivialize and "normalize" the history of the Nazi period, and his defense of the need for a realistic and discriminating coining to terms with the past in Germany. Habermas also takes up the recent fracas concerning Martin Heidegger's involvement with Nazism and the rise of the neoconservative movement in Europe and America. In particular, the essay on "The New Obscurity" combines Habermas's analysis of the problems of the welfare state with his suggestions for avenues open to utopian impulses today.

The New Conservatism is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.

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.

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.

Twelve Lectures

This critique of French philosophy and the history of German philosophy is a tour de force that has the immediacy and accessibility of the lecture form and the excitement of an encounter across national cultural boundaries as Habermas takes up the challenge posed by the radical critique of reason in contemporary French postmodernism. The lectures on Georges Bataille, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Cornelius Castoriadis are of particular note, since they are the first fruits of the recent cross-fertilization between French and German thought.

These essays by the contemporary German philosopher and sociologist, Jürgen Habermas, were written between 1958 and 1979. In them, he sketches his impressions—as if he were conducting a living dialog—of the giants of recent German thought, several of whom were his teachers. These include Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, Ernst Bloch, Karl Lowith, Theodor Adorno, Arnold Gehlen, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse, Hannah Arendt, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Gershom Scholem.

Philosophical-Political Profiles is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.

The essays in this collection provide an unusually rich set of original reflections on current German political, social, cultural, religious, and intellectual life.

Contents: Introduction, Jorgen Habermas. Toward a Society of Conditioned Reflexes, WolfDieter Narr. Ungovernability: On the Renaissance of Conservative Theories of Crisis, Claus Offe. Political Concepts of Order for Mass Society, Ulrich Preuss. The Three Cultures, Karl Heinz Bohrer. "Thou Shalt Have No Other jeans before Me," Dorothee Sölle. Productive Noncontemporaneity, Johann Baptist Metz. Theology in Germany Today, Jürgen Moltmann. Literary Criticism in Germany Today, Peter Borger. Historiography in Germany Today, Hans-Ulrich Wehler. The Burden of the Past, Hans Mommsen. Terrorism and the Critique of Society, Albrecht Wellmer. What Is the Germans' Fatherland? Horst Ehmke. Germany-A State of Flux, Dieter Wellershoff.

Observations on "The Spiritual Situation of the Age" is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.