Philosophy Word of the Day – Jürgen Habermas (1929- )

Jurgen Habermas
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German philosopher. As a prominent member of the Frankfurt school, Habermas engages in critical study of the historical origins of human knowledge in many disciplines. His Theorie und Praxis: Sozial-Philosophische Studien (Theory and Practice) (1963) {at} and Legitimationsprobleme im Spätkapitalismus (Legitimation Crisis) (1973) {at} examine the social conditions under which the uninhibited dialogue of an “ethics of discourse” is possible in the public literary sphere, serving the basic human needs to gain control over the natural world, to explore the character of interpersonal relationships, and to escape the domination of social power-structures. In Erkentniss und Interesse (Knowledge and Human Interests) (1968) {at} Habermas again emphasized the implications of social context for the development of epistemology. Habermas is also the author of Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns (The Theory of Communicative Action) (1981) {at} and Der philosophische Diskurs der Moderne (Philosophical Discourse on Modernity) (1985) {at}, where he criticizes the more radical views of Foucault and Lyotard.

(Via Philosophical Dictionary)

Some recent statements by Habermas are fascinating, as related here.

A professed secularist who has spent nearly half a century arguing against religiously informed moral argument, [Habermas] made some arresting statements in his 2004 essay, “A Time of Transitions.”

“Christianity, and nothing else,” he wrote, “is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of western civilization.  To this day, we have no other options [to Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source.  Everything else is postmodern chatter.”

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