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.

  • Religion and Rationality

    Religion and Rationality

    Essays on Reason, God and Modernity

    Jürgen Habermas

    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.

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  • The Postnational Constellation

    The Postnational Constellation

    Political Essays

    Jürgen Habermas

    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.

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  • On the Pragmatics of Social Interaction

    On the Pragmatics of Social Interaction

    Preliminary Studies in the Theory of Communicative Action

    Jürgen Habermas

    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.

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  • The Inclusion of the Other

    The Inclusion of the Other

    Studies in Political Theory

    Jürgen Habermas, Ciaran P. Cronin, and Pablo De Greiff

    Edited by Ciaran Cronin and Pablo De Greiff Since its appearance in English translation in 1996, Jürgen 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.

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  • On the Pragmatics of Communication

    On the Pragmatics of Communication

    Jürgen Habermas and Maeve Cooke

    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.

    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. 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. His program may thus be distinguished from empirical pragmatics—for example, sociolinguistics—which looks primarily at particular situations of use.

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

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  • Between Facts and Norms

    Between Facts and Norms

    Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy

    Jürgen Habermas

    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.

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  • Justification and Application

    Justification and Application

    Remarks on Discourse Ethics

    Jürgen Habermas

    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 Wellmer. The 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.

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  • Postmetaphysical Thinking

    Postmetaphysical Thinking

    Philosophical Essays

    Jürgen Habermas

    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.

    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?

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  • Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action

    Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action

    Jürgen Habermas

    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.

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  • The New Conservatism

    The New Conservatism

    Cultural Criticism and the Historians' Debate

    Jürgen Habermas and Shierry Weber Nicholsen

    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.

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  • The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere

    The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere

    An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society

    Jürgen Habermas

    This is Jürgen 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.

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  • On the Logic of the Social Sciences

    On the Logic of the Social Sciences

    Jürgen Habermas

    For two decades the German edition of this book has been a standard reference point for students of the philosophy of the social sciences in Germany. Today it still stands as a unique and masterful guide to the major problems and possibilities in this field.

    On the Logic of the Social Sciences foreshadowed the direction in which methodological discussions have traveled since it appeared and anticipated the problems they presently face. Habermas's statement of the principal issues is concise and elegant, and his own original resolution of them is of continuing relevance. He considers the main lines of thought pursued by epistemologists and methodologists of the social sciences, from neo-Kantianism to behaviorism, and from problems of measurement to those of interpretive logic, in a sustained and provocative argument that involves analysis and critique at every point and ends with his own sharply profiled position.

    Beginning with the turn of the century debates on the distinction between natural and cultural sciences, Habermas discusses the relationship between sociology and history. He takes up the problem of a general theory of social action, focusing first on the nature of "interpretive understanding" and then on the scope and limits of functionalist explanation. In the concluding sections, he draws on psychoanalysis and classical social theory to sketch the outlines of his view of sociology as a critical theory of the present. Along the way he provides a great deal of material that is useful in understanding his own work.

    On the Logic of the Social Sciences is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.

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  • The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity

    The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity

    Twelve Lectures

    Jürgen Habermas

    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 Philosophical Discourse of Modernity 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. Habermas takes up the challenge posed by the radical critique of reason in contemporary French poststructuralism. Tracing the odyssey of the philosophical discourse of modernity, Habermas's strategy is to return to those historical "crossroads" at which Hegel and the Young Hegelians, Nietzsche and Heidegger made the fateful decisions that led to this outcome. His aim is to identify and clearly mark out a road indicated but not taken: the determinate negation of subject-centered reason through the concept of communicative rationality. As The Theory of Communicative Action served to place this concept within the history of social theory, these lectures locate it within the history of philosophy. Habermas examines the odyssey of the philosophical discourse of modernity from Hegel through the present and tests his own ideas about the appropriate form of a postmodern discourse through dialogs with a broad range of past and present critics and theorists. 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. Habermas's dialogue with Foucault—begun in person as the first of these lectures were delivered in Paris in 1983 culminates here in two appreciative yet intensely argumentative lectures. His discussion of the literary-theoretical reception of Derrida in America—launched at Cornell in 1984—issues here in a long excursus on the genre distinction between philosophy and literature. The lectures were reworked for the final time in seminars at Boston College and first published in Germany in the fall of 1985.

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  • Philosophical-Political Profiles

    Philosophical-Political Profiles

    Jürgen Habermas

    Based on the new German edition of Philosophisch-politische Profile which has attracted serious and widespread attention, this book includes thirteen pieces written by Habermas between 1958 and 1978 - the most important of those in the German edition, plus additional articles.In these essays, Habermas offers a clear and strikingly personal examination of major modern German philosophers and cultural critics, focusing particularly on the content of their thought in relation to their respective political and biographical contexts.

    Contents Does Philosophy Still Have a Purpose? • The German Influence (Heidegger) • The Figures of Truth (Jaspers) • Karl Löwith's Stoic Retreat from Historical Consciousness • A Marxist Schelling (Bloch) • A Primal History of Subjectivity and Self-Affirmation Gone Wild (Adorno) • Imitated Substantiality (Gehlen) • Consciousness-raising or Rescuing Critique-On the Relevance of Walter Benjamin • Herbert Marcuse on Art and Revolution • Hannah Arendt's Concept of Power • The Hidden Torah (Gershom Scholem) • Urbanizing the Heideggerian Province-In Praise of Hans-Georg Gadamer

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

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  • Observations on "The Spiritual Situation of the Age"

    Observations on "The Spiritual Situation of the Age"

    Jürgen Habermas

    The essays in this collection provide an unusually intense portrait of a society and an age. They offer penetrating insights into past and present developments in Germany, shedding new light on that society and our own. In mid 1978, German philosopher Jürgen Habermas invited a group of colleagues (chosen on the basis of an "informed arbitrariness") to contribute to volume 1000 of the edition suhrkamp, a series that had helped focus the intellectual revival of the German left in the postwar period. His suggested reference point for the volume was Karl Jaspers's eerily prophetic 1931 essay on "The Spiritual Situation of the Age," which appeared just two years before Hitler's assumption of power. Habermas's invitation invoked a rich set of original reflections on current political, social, cultural, religious, and intellectual life. Thomas McCarthy and Andrew Buchwalter have selected 13 of these essays with the original introduction by Habermas for inclusion in this book. The essays have been divided into five parts: Perspectives on Politics and Society (Wolf-Dieter Narr, Claus Offe, Ulrich Preuss); Perspectives on Culture and Religion (Karl Heinz Bohrer, Dorothee Sölle, Johann Baptist Metz); Perspectives on the Geisteswissenschaften (Jürgen Moltmann, Peter Burger, Hans-Ulrich Wehler); Perspectives on German Affairs (Hans Mommsen, Albrecht Wellmer, Horst Ehmke); Unconcluding Reflections (Dieter Wellershoff). This book is eighth in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.

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