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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.
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