On the Pragmatics of Communication

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Overview

This anthology brings together for the first time, in revised or new translation, ten essays that present the main concerns of Jurgen Habermas's program in formal pragmatics. Its aim is to convey a sense of the overall purpose of Habermas's linguistic investigations while introducing the reader to their specific details.

Habermas's program in formal pragmatics fulfills two main functions. First, it serves as the theoretical underpinning for his theory of communicative action, a crucial element in his theory of society. Second, it contributes to ongoing philosophical discussion of problems concerning meaning, truth, rationality, and action.

By the "pragmatic" dimensions of language, Habermas means those pertaining specifically to the employment of sentences in utterances. He makes clear that "formal" is to be understood in a tolerant sense to refer to the rational reconstruction of general intuitions or competences. Formal pragmatics, then, aims at a systematic reconstruction of the intuitive linguistic knowledge of competent subjects as it is used in everyday communicative practices. Habermas's program may thus be distinguished from empirical pragmatics--for example, sociolinguistics--which looks primarily at particular situations of use.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Jürgen Habermas has been awarded the prestigious 'Friedenspreis des deutschen Buchhandels' prize for 2001

"These new books by Habermas will be indispensable for years to come [and will] undoubtedly make provocative reading." Anthony Elliott, The Australian

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jürgen Habermas is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt and Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University. He was recently awarded the 2004 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy by the Inamori Foundation. The Kyoto Prize is an international award to honor those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of mankind.

Maeve Cooke is Associate Professor of German Social and Political Thought at University College Dublin. She is the author of Language and Reason: A Study of Habermas's Pragmatics (MIT Press, 1994) and editor of On the Pragmatics of Communication (MIT Press, 1998), a collection of essays by Jürgen Habermas.

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Table of Contents

Editor's Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 What Is Universal Pragmatics? (1976) 21
2 Social Action, Purposive Activity, and Communication (1981) 105
3 Communicative Rationality and the Theories of Meaning and Action (1986) 183
4 Actions, Speech Acts, Linguistically Mediated Interactions, and the Lifeworld (1988) 215
5 Comments on John Searle's "Meaning, Communication and Representation" (1988) 257
6 Toward a Critique of the Theory of Meaning (1988) 277
7 Some Further Clarifications of the Concept of Communicative Rationality (1996) 307
8 Richard Rorty's Pragmatic Turn (1996) 343
9 On the Distinction between Poetic and Communication Uses of Language (1985) 383
10 Questions and Counterquestions (1985) 403
Selected Bibliography and Further Reading 435
Index 447
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