Habermas: Introduction and Analysis

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The work of Jürgen Habermas (b. 1929) has been highly influential both in philosophy and across many disciplines in the social sciences. David Ingram here provides an accessible introduction to Habermas's complex thought as it has evolved from 1953 to the present, spanning philosophy, religion, political science, social science, and law. One of today's most intriguing thinkers, Habermas is also notably prolific; for students and other readers who wish to navigate the philosopher's more than thirty books, the lucid and precise Habermas: Introduction and Analysis is a welcome starting point rich in insights.Ingram's book addresses the entire range of Habermas's social theory, including his most recent and widely discussed contributions to religion, freedom and determinism, global democracy, and the consolidation of the European Union. Recognizing Habermas's position as a highly public intellectual, Ingram discusses how Habermas applies his own theory to pressing problems such as abortion, terrorism, genetic engineering, immigration, multiculturalism, separation of religion and state, technology and mass media, feminism, and human rights. He also presents a detailed critical analysis of Habermas's key claims and arguments. Separate appendixes introduce and clarify such important concepts as causal, teleological, and narrative paradigms of explanation in action theory; contextualism versus rationalism in social scientific methods of interpretation; systems theory and functionalist explanation in social science; and decision and collective choice theory.

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Editorial Reviews

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"David Ingram has provided us with what is unquestionably the most comprehensive introduction to one of the most demanding systems of thought, without sacrificing critical distance. . . . The book not only explains Habermas but places him on the map of modern philosophy. The book is a versatile toolbox, which will make it a must for anyone aiming to teach Habermas or the transformations of Critical Theory in the last decades. Above all, however, it is also a substantive contribution to the tradition to which Habermas belongs, for it is a critique of reason by way of an immanent critique of communicative rationality itself."—Eduardo Mendieta, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, February 2011

"This is a marvelous resource for anyone interested in better understanding the difficult and voluminous work of Jürgen Habermas. It is clearly written, comprehensive, and fair-minded in its exegesis; moreover, it provides at the same time a highly intelligent, critical analysis of central themes in central themes in the writings of Habermas."—Stephen K. White, James Hart Professor of Politics, University of Virginia

"This is a marvelously comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of Habermas’s intellectual contribution to contemporary philosophy."—Simone Chambers, University of Toronto

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801448799
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 8/19/2010
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables xi

Preface xiii

Abbreviations for Titles of Works by Habermas xv

1 A Public Intellectual Committed to Reason 1

Habermas's Life 2

From the Critique of Ideology to the Dialectic of Enlightenment 12

Outline of Chapters 25

2 Habermas's Defense of Psychoanalytic Social Science 33

The Positivism Debate in German Social Science 34

Modern Nihilism: The Crisis of Science and the Theory/Practice Problem 40

Knowledge and Human Interests 44

A Critique of Knowledge and Human Interests 57

3 The Linguistic Turn 67

TCA and the Dialectic of Enlightenment 68

Situating Habermas's Philosophy of Language 72

Transcendental Philosophy of Language as Rational Reconstruction 74

Universal Pragmatics and Formal Semantics 77

Formal Pragmatics and Speech Act Theory 79

Discourse 81

Communicative and Strategic Speech Acts 83

A Critique of Universal Pragmatics 87

4 Knowledge and Truth Revisited 95

Subject-Object Paradigms of Knowledge 99

Internal Realism 101

Reference and Meaning 103

Knowledge and Evolution 109

Moral Realism 109

Is Formal Pragmatism a Defensible Alternative to Realism and Contextualism? 111

5 Discourse Ethics 115

Practical Reason: Delimiting the Domain of the Moral 116

The Priority of the Right over the Good 117

Modernity and Moral Development 118

Deontological Moral Theory and Universalizability: Kant and Rawls 122

Moral Cognitivism versus Moral Skepticism 127

Moral Argumentation as Discourse 129

Neo-Aristotelian Objections and the Abortion Controversy 138

Justification and Application 140

Discourse Ethics Applied: Genetic Testing and the Future of Human Nature 142

Problems and Paradoxes 144

Habermas's Ideal of Argumentation: A Final Assessment 146

6 Law and Democracy: Part I: The Foundational Rights 153

Modern Law and Morality: A Paradoxical Wedding of Facts and Norms 154

Situating Habermas's Theory of Law and Democracy: Some Contemporary Debates 155

The Sociological Genesis of Modern Law 161

The System of Rights 166

Negative and Positive Rights (Duties) 170

Constitutional Foundations 173

Human Rights: Subsistence as a Test Case for a Juridical Conception of Rights 175

Final Thoughts on the Procedural Ideal of Deliberative Democracy 189

7 Law and Democracy: Part II: Power and the Clash of Paradigms 193

Democracy and the Powers of Government 193

The Separation of Powers 197

The Transmission of Communicative Power: From Public Sphere to Government Administration 201

Discourse and Adjudication 206

The Proceduralist Paradigm of Law and Democracy 211

A Concluding Assessment 215

8 Law and Democracy: Part III: Applying the Proceduralist Paradigm 221

Separation of Church and State: The Public/Private Distinction 221

Gender Difference and the Law 229

Multiculturalism 234

Immigration 244

9 Law and Democracy: Part IV: Social Complexity and a Critical Assessment 253

Questioning the Proceduralist Paradigm 258

Substantive Economic Justice and Workplace Democracy 260

The Technological Dimension of Democracy 262

Revolution and Democracy 264

10 Crisis and Pathology: The Future of Democracy in a Global Age 267

Capitalism and the Crisis of Democracy 268

Social Pathologies and the Colonization of the Lifeworld 271

Globalization: The New Challenge 283

Cosmopolitan Democracy and Global Politics as a Response to Global Crisis 285

Politics and the Rule of Law in International Relations 286

The Constitutionalization of International Relations 294

The Limits of Democratization: A Critical Assessment 301

11 Postsecular Postscript: Modernity and Its Discontents 307

Marx on the Evolution of Modern Society 310

Weber on Modernization and the Problem of Meaning 316

Secularization and the Rationalization of the Lifeworld 320

Between Past and Future: Art, Religion, and the Dialectic of Enlightenment Revisited 323

Appendix A Explaining Action 329

Appendix B Understanding Action 331

Appendix C Habermas and Brandom 335

Appendix D Developmental Psychology 339

Appendix E Rational Choice Theory 341

Appendix F Systems Theory 345

Index 351

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