<history of philosophy, biography> german philosopher (1929-). As a prominent member of the Frankfurt school, Habermas engages in critical study of the historical origins of human knowledge in many disciplines. His Theorie und Praxis: Sozial-Philosophische Studien (Theory and Practice) (1963) and Legitimationsprobleme im Spaetkapitalismus (Legitimation Crisis) (1973) examine the social conditions under which the uninhibited dialogue of an "ethics of discourse" is possible in the public literary sphere, serving the basic human needs to gain control over the natural world, to explore the character of interpersonal relationships, and to escape the domination of social power-structures. In Erkentniss und Interesse (Knowledge and Human Interests) (1968) Habermas again emphasized the implications of social context for the development of epistemology. Habermas is also the author of Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns (The Theory of Communicative Action) (1981) and Der philosophische Diskurs der Moderne (Philosophical Discourse on Modernity) (1985), where he criticizes the more radical views of Foucault and Lyotard. Recommended Reading: Jurgen Habermas, Postmetaphysical Thinking: Philosophical Essays, tr. by William Mark Hohengarten (MIT, 1994); Jurgen Habermas, Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action, tr. by Shierry Weber Nicholsen and Christian Lenhardt (MIT, 1992); Habermas: A Critical Reader, ed. by Peter Dews (Blackwell, 1999); Perspectives on Habermas, ed. by Lewis Edwin Hahn (Open Court, 2000); The Cambridge Companion to Habermas, ed. by Stephen K. White (Cambridge, 1995); John B. Thompson, Critical Hermeneutics: A Study in the Thought of Paul Ricoeur and Jurgen Habermas (Cambridge, 1984); Habermas and the Unfinished Project of Modernity: Critical Essays on the Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, ed. by Maurizio P. D'Entreves and Seyla Benhabib (MIT, 1997); and Jane Braaten, Habermas's Critical Theory of Society (SUNY, 1991).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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