Who is Jürgen Habermas?June 25, 2021
Jürgen Habermas (born 18 June 1929, Düsseldorf) is a German philosopher, sociologist and political scientist.
He belongs to the tradition of critical theory and American pragmatism. He is best known for the concept of the public sphere, which he based his theory on, and the pragmatism of communicative action.
His work is sometimes called Neo-Marxist; foundations of social theory and epistemology; advanced capitalist industrial society and democracy analysis; the provision of laws in critical social evolutionist content; and contemporary—particularly German—politics. He developed a theoretical system for rational-critical communication embedded within modern liberal institutions and for the possibility and liberation of reason in people’s ability to communicate, weigh, and pursue rational interests.
He became an associate professor in Marburg in 1961. Between 1961-1964 he taught philosophy in Heidelberg. In 1964 he became a professor of philosophy and sociology at the University of Frankfurt. In 1971-1981 he was the director of the Max Planck Institute in Starnberg, which investigated the living conditions of the scientific-technical world. He was visiting professor at the University of Berkeley in 1981. In 1982 he returned to Frankfurt University as a professor. He retired from there in 1994 and gave seminars as visiting professor at Northwestern University.
Jürgen Habermas sees the theory and concept of communicative reason or communicative rationalism as his greatest achievement. It differs from this rational tradition in that it places rationality within the structures of interpersonal linguistic communication, not in the structures of the cosmos or the subject of knowing. This social theory advances the goals of human emancipation while establishing an overarching universal moral framework. This framework is based on the argument that so-called universal pragmatics—all speech acts have an inner telos (Greek purpose or goal)—the goal of mutual understanding, and that human beings have the communicative competence to bring such understanding. Habernas uses this framework as the speech-act philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, JL Austin, and John Searle, the sociological theory of mind and the interactive formation of the self by George Herbert Mead, moral development and moral development by Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg. Heidelberg’s colleague Karl-Otto Apel’s moral weighing (discourse ethics) was built on the theories.
Habernas advances Kant’s traditions of enlightenment and democratic socialism; it emphasizes the potential to transform the world and to reach a more humane, just and egalitarian society through the realization of human mental potential, and partially through moral discussion (discourse ethics). While Habernas acknowledges that my enlightenment is an unfinished process, he argues that it must be corrected and completed, not discarded.
For sociology, Habermas’s greatest contribution is his comprehensive theory of the evolution and modernization of society, focusing on the distinction between communicative rationality and rationalization on the one hand, and strategic/instrumental rationalism and rationalism on the other. This includes a communicative stance-oriented critique of the distinction-based theory of social systems by Niklas Luhmann, a student of Talcott Parsons.
His advocacy of modernity and civil society has been a source of inspiration for many others, and has been called the most important philosophical alternative to variations on poststructuralism. He also provided an effective analysis of late capitalism.
Habermas’s view of the rationalization, humanization and democratization of society is the institutionalization of the rationality potential inherent in the communicative competence peculiar to the purely human species. Habernas believes that communication competence has evolved through evolution, but has often been suppressed or weakened in contemporary society; in key areas of social life, such as the market, the state, and organizations, by being overtaken by strategic/instrumental rationality and thus replacing the lifeworld with system logic.
– What is public space?
– Creating a public space
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook