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Maeve Cooke

Maeve Cooke is Associate Professor of German Social and Political Thought at University College Dublin. She is the author of Language and Reason: A Study of Habermas's Pragmatics (MIT Press, 1994) and editor of On the Pragmatics of Communication (MIT Press, 1998), a collection of essays by Jürgen Habermas.

Titles by This Author

Contemporary critical social theories face the question of how to justify the ideas of the good society that guide their critical analyses. Traditionally, these more or less determinate ideas of the good society were held to be independent of their specific sociocultural context and historical epoch.

A Study of Habermas's Pragmatics

Readers of Jürgen Habermas's Theory of Communicative Action and his later social theory know that the idea of communicative rationality is central to his version of critical theory. Language and Reason opens up new territory for social theorists by providing the first general introduction to Habermas's program of formal pragmatics: his reconstruction of the universal principles of possible understanding that, he argues, are already operative in everyday communicative practices.

Titles by This Editor

Jürgen 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.