Friday, July 24, 2009

New edition of Outhwaite's introduction to Habermas

Habermas - A Critical Introduction,
2nd edition

By William Outhwaite

(Polity Press, 2009)


This new edition of a well-regarded book provides a concise and exceptionally clear introduction to Habermas's work, from his early writings on the public sphere, through his work on law and the state, to his more recent discussion of science, religion and contemporary Europe. Outhwaite examines all of Habermas's major works and steers a steady course through the many debates to which they have given rise. A major feature of the book is that it provides a detailed critical analysis of Habermas's most important work, The Theory of Communicative Action. As well as looking at Habermas's appraisal of figures such as Foucault and Derrida, the book also examines his resolute defence of the Enlightenment project, his work on law and democracy and its implications for the important topic of European integration.


1. The Roots of Habermas's Thought
2. Scientism in Theory and Practice
3. Communication and Discourse Ethics
4. Social Evolution and Legitimation
5. Rational Action and Societal Rationalization
6. The Colonization of the Lifeworld
7. The Theory of Communicative Action: An Assessment
8. Modernity and Philosophy
9. Law and State
10. Two Kinds of "Post" [NEW]
Conclusion: Habermas and the Future of Critical Theory.

William Outhwaite is Chair of Sociology at Newcastle University. His latest book is "European Society" (Polity Press, 2008).

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