Thursday, July 12, 2018

Five Philosophical Introductions by Habermas

Philosophical Introductions
Five Approaches to Communicative Reason

by Jürgen Habermas

(Polity Press, 2018)

212 pages


On the occasion of Habermas’s 80th birthday in 2009, the German publisher Suhrkamp brought out five volumes of Habermas’s work that spanned the full range his philosophical work - "Philosophische Texte" (Suhrkamp Verlag). For each of these volumes, Habermas wrote an introduction that crystallized, in a remarkably clear and succinct way, his thinking on the key philosophical issues that have preoccupied him throughout his long career. This new book brings together these five introductions.

Translated by Ciaran Cronin. 

Contents [Preview]

Preface (2016)

Introduction: The Work of Jürgen Habermas - Jean-Marc Durand-Gasselin (pp. 1-59)

1. Foundations of Sociology in the Theory of Language

2. Theory of Rationality and Theory of Meaning
2.1 Formal Pragmatics
2.2 Communicative Rationality
2.3. Discourse Theory of Truth
2.4 On Epistemology

3. Discourse Ethics
3.1 Moral Theory
3.2 On the System of Practical Discourses

4. Political Theory
4.1 Democracy
4.2 The Constitutional State
4.3 Nation, Culture and Religion
4.4 Constitutionalization of International Law?

5. Critique of Reason
5.1 Metaphilosophical Reflections
5.2 Postmetaphysical Thinking
5.3 The Challenge of Naturalism
5.4 The Challenge of Religion

Excerpt from Habermas's preface to the English translation:

"In no other place have I attempted to provide an "overview" of my philosophy, if I may speak in such terms, as a whole. For several decades I have had the vexing experience that, as our discipline becomes inexorably more specialized, my publications are no longer read as attempts to develop a philosophical conception as a whole. Rather than being read as a generalist's contributions to certain aspects of the theory of rationality or the theory of action, political theory or the theory of law, moral theory, language pragmatics or, specifically, social theory, they are interpreted in "fragmented" form. This is why the synoptic view provided by these "introductions" is close to my heart...."

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