Jürgen Habermas

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Habermas, Jürgen


Born June 18, 1929, in Düsseldorf. German philosopher and sociologist (Federal Republic of Germany).

From 1964, Habermas was a professor in Frankfurt am Main. In 1970 he became codirector, with C. von Weizsäcker, of the Institute on the Preconditions of Human Life in the Modern World, located in Starnberg. Habermas started out as a follower of M. Horkheimer and T. Adorno; he is the most prominent member of the “second generation” of theoreticians of the Frankfurt school.

While he was one of the ideologists of the student movement of the mid-1960’s, Habermas drew away from the student demonstrations of 1968, moving toward moderate bourgeois liberal positions. Overall, the program of studies that he instituted during the 1970’s coincides with the general direction of the Social Democratic Party of Germany—that is, with the ideology of reformism; Habermas seeks to “correct” this ideology in the spirit of enlightened early-bourgeois ideals of emancipation, equality, and a politically active literary community. Combining the Frankfurt school’s traditional critique of bourgeois culture and society with attempts to “stabilize” capitalism, Habermas places particular emphasis on the development of the “lawful” bourgeois state.

Habermas holds revisionist positions with respect to Marxism. In his view, the social structure of modern capitalism is based on “class compromise,” and he posits as major goals the “neutralization” of antagonistic contradictions through public discussion and the gradual “liquidation” of ideology. This, according to Habermas, should facilitate the establishment in society of “communications free from constraints” within the framework of a “general social consensus.” He has frequently spoken out as an opponent of positivism in the social sciences and against the technocratic point of view. The basic components of Habermas’ eclectic philosophy are L. Wittgenstein’s theory of linguistic games, the principle of “mutual recognition” underlying the Hegelian conception of morality, the hermeneutics of the German philosopher H. G. Gadamer, and the psychoanalysis of S. Freud.


Theorie und Praxis, 2nd ed. Neuwied am Rhein-Berlin, 1967.
Erkenntnis und Interesse. Frankfurt am Main, 1968.
Strukturwandel der Õffentlichkeit, 5th ed. Neuwied am Rhein-Berlin, 1971.
Technik und Wissenschaft als “Ideologie,” 5th ed. Frankfurt am Main, 1971.
Fur Logik der Sozialwissenschaften, 2nd ed. Frankfurt am Main, 1971.
Theorie der Gesellschaft oder Sozialtechnologie—was leistet die Systemforschung? Frankfurt am Main, 1971. (With N. Luhmann.)
Legitimationsprobleme im Spätkapitalismus. Frankfurt am Main. 1973.


Tavrizian. G. M. “’Aktual’nyi’ variant ’kriticheskoi teorii obshchestva’.” Voprosy filosofu, 1976, no. 3.
Die Linke antwortet J. Habermas. Frankfurt am Main, 1969.
Rohrmoser, G. Das Elend der kritischen Théorie. Freiburg im Breisgau, 1970.
Glaser, W. R. Soziales und instrumentales Handeln: Probleme derTechnologie bei Arnold Gehlen und Jürgen Habermas. Stuttgart, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The ambitions of this Habermasian ethic of discussions are without question excessive.
In fact, while in the past, he tried to combine the work of Habermas with other social theorists such as Foucault and Giddens (9), in his latest collaborative work with Isabela Fairclough, the Habermasian influence has become prevalent, as it were, by following him from socio-linguistic (and sociological) theory to argumentation and politico-legal theory.
The public is seen as "patterns of social relations", differential and heterogeneous, following three threads: a "spatialized realm" where strangers come into contact (after Goffman and Lofland), a "discursive sphere" following in the habermasian tradition, and the "addressed audience" of the work of art (with reference to Warner).
Influenced by Clifford Siskin's and William Warner's emphasis on Enlightenment as mediation, Mee attends to the specific publishers and what the political associations actually did in terms of publicity; he does not spend a lot of effort trying to formulate what was the LCS or emergent working-class "ideology." It is important to recognize that a popular radicalism contained different, not necessarily completely coherent tendencies, some religious, some secular, some rationalistic in a Godwinian (Habermasian?) way, some raucously anti-authoritarian and carnivalesque.
This modern and enlightened ideal of the public use of reason lies at the heart of both the theoretical foundations of the Habermasian view of the public sphere and the development of journalism as a professional practice in Western societies.
Several answers have been formulated in this line of questioning, and in this article we will first of all examine the problematic conception of religious pluralism which sometimes risks catalysing relativism, before turning to explore the Habermasian ideas on addressing religious pluralism through rational political unification.
In her first chapter, Willie intervenes in debates about the early modern Habermasian public sphere to argue that printed drama created publics.
Theatrical Publication and the Early Modern Stage," tackles the difficult subject of the relation of early modern theater to a Habermasian "public sphere." "Tackle" is perhaps the right word as the chapter features a devastating takedown of Habermas's historical argument (as well as his "deep misunderstanding of the semiotics and phenomenology of performance" 164) in a successful and satisfying attempt to salvage a workable version of a "public sphere" that might also speak to the concerns of early modern drama.
As the editors and individual authors convincingly argue, it is essential to rethink our understanding of the public sphere beyond the Habermasian model to include a broader range of liminal public spaces such as parks, cafes, museums, shops, city streets, and public transit, and to take into account the impact of commerce, the fashion discourse, and social networks (2-3).
In fact, abolitionism has a great deal to contribute to critical thinking about criminal law, and particular attention should be given--especially as it was neglected in Ruggiero's survey of the held--to the Habermasian variety of abolitionism developed by Willem de Haan (1990).
Viewing the constitutional moment of 1787-1788 in this Habermasian manner in turn emphasizes the modernizing, democratizing, and didactic influence it had on subsequent American politics.