Jürgen Habermas

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Habermas 2007 at the University of Philosophy in Munich

Jürgen Habermas (born June 18, 1929 in Düsseldorf ) is a German philosopher and sociologist . He belongs to the second generation of the Frankfurt School and was most recently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt am Main . Habermas is one of the world's most popular philosophers and sociologists today. In the academic world he became known through his work on social philosophy with contributions on the theory of discourse , action and rationality , with which he continued critical theory on a new basis. For Habermas, communicative interactions , in which rational grounds of validity are ascertained and recognized, form the basis for the coordination of actions of socialized individuals whose spheres of action are determined by the dualism of system and lifeworld . In addition to the subject-specific discourses, Habermas was publicly involved in current political debates on eugenics , religion and the constitution of Europe .


Habermas is the best-known representative of the next generation of critical theory with a national and international reputation. Not least because of regular teaching activities at foreign universities, especially in the USA, as well as because of the translations of his most important works into more than 40 languages, his theories are discussed worldwide.

Because of the diversity of his philosophical and social science activities, Habermas is considered a productive and committed public intellectual. He broke away from the Hegelian-Marxist origins of the Frankfurt School through the reception and integration of a wide range of newer theories. He combined the historical materialism of Karl Marx with American pragmatism , the development theory of Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg and the psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud . In addition, he significantly influenced the German social sciences , moral and social philosophy . Milestones were above all his habilitation thesis Structural Change of the Public , his theory of communicative action and, repeatedly inspired by the discourse theoretical debate with Karl-Otto Apel , his discourse theory of morality and law.

The overriding motif of his multidisciplinary work is “the reconciliation of modernity, which is disintegrating with itself ”. To this end, he pursues the strategy, unlike Apel, generally to forego ultimate justifications and to “take up the universalistic questions of transcendental philosophy, while at the same time detranscendentalizing the procedure and the objectives of proof”. Habermas was involved in all major theoretical debates in the Federal Republic and took a firm position on socio-political controversies such as the historians ' dispute , bioethics , German reunification , the European constitution and the Iraq war with the commitment of a “public intellectual”.


Childhood, studies and marriage

Jürgen Habermas was born in Düsseldorf, but grew up in Gummersbach , where his father, Ernst Habermas , was the manager of the local office of the Cologne Chamber of Commerce and Industry . His grandfather was the theologian Friedrich Habermas , who most recently headed the teachers' seminar in Gummersbach. He describes the political climate in his parents' home as "shaped by a bourgeois adaptation to a political environment with which one did not fully identify, but which was not seriously criticized either".

Habermas was born with a cleft palate and was operated on as an infant. In later years he spoke frankly about the painful impairment caused by the nasalization of his pronunciation and recognized it as an impetus for his life's theme, linguistic communication.

Habermas' father had been a member of the NSDAP since 1933 and was classified as a “ fellow traveler ” after his return from American captivity . As prescribed for children aged 10 and over, he himself was a member of the Jungvolk , from 1943 as a paramedic who instructed other boys in first aid. Thanks to his classification as a “young people leader”, Habermas was able to continue to belong to the young people beyond the age limit and did not have to switch to the Hitler Youth at the age of fourteen . In February 1945, at the age of 15, he was to be drafted into the Wehrmacht like his older brother, while his father had volunteered again, but Jürgen Habermas hid himself from the police officers until the Americans occupied the area. His work in the Jungvolk in 2006 gave rise to heated polemics. In his posthumously published autobiography, Joachim Fest described Habermas as "a Hitler Youth leader who was connected to the regime in all strands of its existence". The accusation, which was published by the magazine Cicero and rejected by Habermas as “denunciation”, finally appeared to be unfounded after a testimony by Hans-Ulrich Wehler .

Between 1949 and 1954 Habermas studied at the Universities of Göttingen (1949/50), Zurich (1950/51) and Bonn (1951–1954). He dealt with philosophy , history , psychology , German literature and economics . His teachers included Nicolai Hartmann , Wilhelm Keller , Theodor Litt , Erich Rothacker , Johannes Thyssen and Hermann Wein .

In the 1950/51 winter semester, Habermas first met Karl-Otto Apel , whose “committed thinking” and interest in American pragmatism became of great importance for his further philosophical development.

Habermas first attracted public attention in 1953 when he wrote a review of Heidegger's “Introduction to Metaphysics” in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , a lecture with the same title in the 1935 summer semester that was first published in 1953. Heidegger had not deleted the word of the “inner truth and greatness” of the National Socialist movement for the print, which Habermas pointed out as part of the “continued rehabilitation” of National Socialism by “the masses, first and foremost those responsible from then and now” condemned. Especially since the incriminated word results from the context of the lecture and "since these sentences were published for the first time in 1953 without a note", it can be assumed that "they reflect Heidegger's current view unchanged".

In 1954 Habermas was in Bonn with his work Das Absolute und die Geschichte. From the ambivalence in Schelling's thinking of Erich Roth Acker and Oskar Becker doctorate . He then wrote as a freelance journalist for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , Merkur , Frankfurter Hefte and the Düsseldorfer Handelsblatt . As a student he had already started writing articles for newspapers and magazines. From 1952 to 1956, when he took up an assistant position in Frankfurt, the number of written and for the most part published articles was over 70.

In 1955 he married Ute Wesselhoeft. The couple has three children. Tilmann Habermas (* 1956) has been Professor of Psychoanalysis at the University of Frankfurt am Main since 2002, Rebekka Habermas (* 1959) has been Professor of History at the University of Göttingen since 2000, Judith Habermas (* 1967) works in publishing.

Assistant in Frankfurt, habilitation and associate professor

Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor W. Adorno (front right) and Jürgen Habermas (in the background right), Siegfried Landshut (in the background left) in
Heidelberg in 1964

A scholarship brought Habermas to the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt in 1956 . During his time as a research assistant with Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno , he familiarized himself with the writings of his two directors and other representatives of critical theory from the prewar period (some of which were kept under lock and key). He was particularly influenced by Herbert Marcuse , whom he first met in 1956. Under its influence, his conception of Marxism was based on the thinking of Freud and the young Marx . His political involvement in the movement “Kampf dem Atomtod” and his introduction to the institute's study “Student and Politics”, which was received as a radical democracy, triggered violent reactions from Horkheimer, against which Adorno tried to defend him. The foreseeable conflict about his upcoming habilitation thesis led him to move to Marburg. Thanks to a habilitation grant from the DFG , he was able to work with Wolfgang Abendroth in Marburg in 1961 with the widely acclaimed text Structural Change of the Public . Doing research on a category of civil society .

Already in 1961, before completing his habilitation process, Habermas became an associate professor at the University of Heidelberg , where he stayed until 1964, following the mediation of Hans-Georg Gadamer , who taught in Heidelberg . The contact with Gadamer led to a discussion of his hermeneutics . At the same time, Habermas dealt with analytical philosophy - especially Wittgenstein 's late philosophy - and American pragmatism, especially Charles Sanders Peirce , George Herbert Mead and John Dewey . In the years 1963–1965 Habermas participated in the positivism dispute in German sociology, which motivated him to write a momentous treatise on the epistemological status of the social sciences. Various essays and one of his most influential works, Insight and Interest (1968) , arose from this discussion .

Professor of Philosophy and Sociology

In 1964 Habermas was appointed to Horkheimer's chair for philosophy and sociology at the University of Frankfurt . For his inaugural lecture “Knowledge and Interest” he chose Horkheimer's essay “Traditional and Critical Theory” (published in 1937 in the Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung) as a starting point. Habermas developed this epistemological argumentation in the book Knowledge and Interest (1968), which was named after the lecture . He introduced the term “knowledge-guiding interest” to explain differences in scientific methods and theories. What is meant by this is by no means, as is often assumed, a knowledge colored by particular group or class interests. Rather, the human species has three basic interests linked to different methods and theories: the interest in technical control over objective processes (empirical-analytical sciences), the interest in practical understanding in the communication community ( hermeneutics ) and the interest in Emancipation from natural coercion (sociological ideology criticism and psychoanalysis ).

He declined the offer to lead the Institute for Social Research; Instead, he and Ludwig von Friedeburg took over the management of the "Seminar for Sociology", a branch of the institute limited to teaching. He offered his lectures and seminars to sociologists and philosophers.

He played an exposed role during the student revolt in Frankfurt. As early as the 1950s, Habermas had advocated democratic reforms in the education system and universities and, as a representative of the “left”, became an intellectual stimulus for the student movement in 1967/68. With Rudi Dutschke u. a. he took part in the congress “Conditions and Organization of Resistance” in Hanover. The confrontation between Habermas and radical students occurred because of different assessments of the socio-political situation. If the SDS and its supporters thought they were in a (pre-) revolutionary situation, Habermas warned of the “fateful strategy” of seeking the “polarization of forces at all costs” and spoke of the “pseudo revolution and its children”. As early as the late 1960s, he had a decisive influence on the position of the so-called “constitutionally loyal” left. Now he was increasingly distancing himself from the radical student groups around Rudi Dutschke, whom he reproached for a rhetorically careless handling of the violence, with the danger of left-wing fascism , a choice of words that he later regretted.

Co-Director of the Starnberg Max Planck Institute

In 1971 he moved to Starnberg near Munich, where he and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker headed the Max Planck Institute for research into living conditions in the scientific and technical world until 1981 . He commented on his departure from Frankfurt in a letter to Herbert Marcuse: "Somehow it is a 'symbolic act' that belongs to the end of the Frankfurt School."

In the year of his change, the debate with Niklas Luhmann about his systems theory took place (see the section with Niklas Luhmann). In 1973 Habermas was awarded the Hegel Prize of the City of Stuttgart, and in 1976 the Sigmund Freud Prize for scientific prose .

He began his work as research director at the Starnberg Institute with 15 social scientists, including Claus Offe , Klaus Eder , Rainer Döbert and Volker Ronge . Initially, it was thematically focused on crises in highly developed capitalism. Three working groups were set up to deal with crisis phenomena. With the volume Legitimation Problems in Late Capitalism published in 1973 , which provided the programmatic frame of reference, Habermas brought together the first results of discussions and work, partly on the basis of in-house working papers. He devoted his main work to his theoretical project on communicative action.

In the so-called " German Autumn " of 1977, Habermas increasingly took a stand on current political issues. So he turned against the expansion of the " radical decree " of 1972 and dealt with the theory of neoconservatism and its criticism of modernity .

In 1980 he received the Theodor W. Adorno Prize . In 1981 he published his major work Theory of Communicative Action , in which he referred to, among others, George Herbert Mead , Max Weber , Émile Durkheim , Talcott Parsons , Georg Lukács and Theodor W. Adorno .

In the same year he resigned as director of the Max Planck Institute. His intention, after Weizsäcker left the institute, to put the future focus of the institute entirely on the social sciences, had failed because of Dahrendorf's surprising refusal to join the reorganized institute as a further director, and because of the demand under labor law by Weizsäcker's former employees from the economics working group, to be transferred to the newly created institute.

Professor of Philosophy

After the partial closure of the Max Planck Institute for research into the living conditions of the scientific and technical world , he returned to Frankfurt, where from 1983 until his retirement in 1994 he took over a chair for philosophy with a focus on social and historical philosophy . In the mid-1980s, Habermas devoted himself to questions of legal theory as part of a five-year research project funded by the Leibniz Association and the DFG and developed his own legal philosophy and theory of a “ deliberative democracy ” in facticity and validity (1992) .

In 1986 Habermas turned in the article The apologetic tendencies in German contemporary historiography against the argumentation of a group of historians (primarily Ernst Nolte next to Michael Stürmer , Andreas Hillgruber and Klaus Hildebrand ), which he called revisionist , on National Socialism with Stalinism to compare on one level or to present this as a forerunner and role model for that person. The contribution met with violent reactions and subsequently triggered the polemical historians' dispute. At the German reunification (1990), Habermas criticized the character of an "administrative process tailored to economic imperatives" without "its own democratic dynamic".

He understood the amendment to the constitution to restrict the right to asylum towards the end of 1992 as an expression of a "welfare chauvinism mentality". He protested against it in the print media and in person as one of the 350,000 demonstrators on November 8, 1992 in Berlin.

After retirement

Habermas 2011 at the Humboldt University in Berlin

Even after his retirement in 1994, Habermas kept reporting to the public. In March 1999 he took a position in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, considering the NATO mission in the Kosovo war. The controversy over the subject of eugenics triggered by Peter Sloterdijk's speech rules for the human park in the same year prompted Habermas in 2001 to publish The Future of Human Nature. On the way to a liberal eugenics?

In his speech on the occasion of the award of the Kyoto Prize , Freedom and Determinism (2004), he also dealt with the question about human freedom that has been raised by current brain research .

Jürgen Habermas has been co-editor of the political and scientific monthly magazine Blätter for German and international politics since 1997 . On September 15, 2007, he opened a three-day congress in Rome entitled Religion and Politics in Post-Secular Society . Since then, in lectures and discussions with theologians and church representatives, he has repeatedly emphasized the importance of religion for the social value system in order to maintain the "scarce resource of solidarity" in relation to global capitalism.

He is one of the supporters of the Charter of Fundamental Digital Rights of the European Union , which was published at the end of November 2016.


The beginnings

Gottfried Benn

Haberma's first publication was an article in the features section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung about Gottfried Benn , in which he used his radio play The Voice Behind the Curtain as an opportunity for a broader discussion of Benn's more recent work.

Heidegger and Lukács

The young Habermas was strongly influenced by Martin Heidegger's thinking . In his dissertation Das Absolute und die Geschichte (1954), for example, he interpreted the development of the concept of the absolute in Schelling's work against the background of Heidegger's Being and Time . The focus of Habermas' interest is Schelling's work Die Weltalter , which he understands as an "essentially anthropologically oriented" history of being. It already anticipates topics from Heidegger's existential philosophy such as "the need of historical existence: pain, conflict, doubt, effort, overcoming and strife".

The early reading of Georg Lukács ' History and Class Consciousness also had a strong influence . In particular, the theory of reification developed by Lukács in it led Habermas to concern himself more closely with Marxism without initially moving away from Heidegger's thinking.

Change in the criticism of technology and Marx

In his essay Die Dialektik der Rationalisierung ( The Dialectic of Rationalization) , published in 1954 , which already contained many of the core ideas of his main work Theory of Communicative Action (1981), Habermas developed a theory of capitalist rationalization following Lukács . He differentiates between a technical (of production), economic (of operational organization) and social rationalization of work . Although rationalization has reduced the physical strain on workers, it has increased their mental strain. In this text he expresses his reservations about modern technology and accuses Marx of having overlooked its negative role.

Habermas repeated this criticism of Marx in his essay Marx in Perspektiven (1955). Marx did not understand that “technology itself, and not a certain economic constitution under which it works, covers people, both those who work and those who consume, with ' alienation '”.

With the literary report on the philosophical discussion of Marx and Marxism (1957), Habermas began to approach Marx and turn away from Heidegger's thinking. Habermas agrees with Marx's idea that the phenomenon of alienation does not represent an existential dimension of human beings, but is to be viewed as the result of certain social conditions. It is “not the code of a metaphysical accident, but the title of a factually found situation”. In his treatise Sociological Notes on the Relationship between Work and Freedom (1958) Habermas corrected his Heideggerian view of technology. No longer they themselves, but their incorrect political use, is therefore the cause of human alienation.

Philosophical anthropology

In 1958 Habermas contradicted in Philosophical Anthropology (article for Fischer-Lexikon Philosophie ) the conception of the unchangeable nature of the human being. Together with Erich Rothacker , his doctoral supervisor, he advocated the thesis of the historical dimension of human nature: “People only live and act in the specific lifeworlds of their society, never in 'the' world”. The “ ontological ” character of traditional anthropology harbors for Habermas the danger "of a dogmatics with political consequences, which is all the more dangerous where it appears with the claim of value-free science".

Democracy and the public

Concept of political participation

In the foreword to the study Student and Politics on the political behavior of German students, which was carried out in 1961 together with Ludwig von Friedeburg , Christoph Oehler and Friedrich Weltz , Habermas presented for the first time his conception of democracy and the rule of law , the basic features of which up to the publication of facticity and validity (1992) remained unchanged. For Habermas, the essence of democracy is primarily characterized by the concept of political participation . This is realized by “mature citizens taking the organization of their social life into their own hands under the conditions of a politically functioning public, through the intelligent delegation of their will and through effective control of its execution” and thus transforming “personal authority into rational”. Thus democracy is the political form of society that "could increase people's freedom and, in the end, perhaps restore it completely". It only becomes really "true" when the " self-determination of humanity" has really become.

This idea of ​​the rule of the people had been forgotten in the modern constitutional state . Habermas criticizes a "shift of emphasis away from parliament to administration and parties" (KuK, p. 20f), with which the public falls by the wayside. The citizen under stand while "in almost all areas every day," the administration , however, what he does not as extended participation, but as a kind outside control experience, the occupying an oriented on self-interest attitude towards it. The parties had become independent vis-à-vis parliament and the electorate. The parliament has become a place "where party officials who are bound by instructions meet in order to register decisions that have already been made" (KuK, p. 28). With the disappearance of the class parties and the emergence of the modern "integration parties", according to Habermas, the difference between the parties has also been lost, while the political contradictions become "formalized" and virtually meaningless. For the citizen, “the legal status of a customer is envisaged […], who has to foot the bill in the end, but for whom everything is otherwise prepared in such a way that he not only doesn't need to do anything himself, but also doesn't do much anymore can "(KuK, p. 49f).

Structural change of the public

Habermas presented the central importance of the “public” for the bourgeois constitutional state in his habilitation thesis (1962). Using historical examples, he tries to show how “the political public emerged from the literary”. In the coffee houses , salons and table parties founded around the middle of the 17th century, focal points of the public formed. Their conversations initially revolved around art and literature, but soon expanded to include economic and political content. There was equality among the members and the power of argument.

From the middle of the 19th century Habermas (like Ferdinand Tönnies ) sees the public discourse increasingly endangered. According to him, publicity is drawn into the pull of particular interests by intensified capitalist competitive pressure. With the emergence of the mass press and its own technical and commercial conditions, a “refeudalization of the public” takes place: communication is restricted again and subjected to the influence of individual major investors.

In order to restore the critical function of the public in the present, “the powers operating in the political public must be effectively subjected to the democratic public order”. In addition, it must be possible to relativize the “structural conflicts of interest in accordance with a recognizable general interest”. This could be achieved if, on the one hand, it succeeds in bringing about a “society in abundance at an accelerated rate that makes a balance of interests as such dictated by scarce resources superfluous”. On the other hand, "the as yet unresolved natural state between the peoples" assumed such a "degree of general threat" that there was "a general interest" in bringing about an " eternal peace " in the Kantian sense.

theory and practice

From the early 1960s, Habermas' primary interest was the relationship between theory and practice . He gradually broke away from a philosophy of history based on the young Marx and began to develop the foundations of his critical, emancipation-oriented social theory, where he was concerned with the unity of (philosophical or social scientific) theory and (political) practice.

In addition, he was concerned with the status of the empirical sciences and their postulated value freedom .

In the so-called positivism dispute in German sociology, Habermas accused Hans Albert and Karl Popper of adhering to a restricted conception of rationality - also with regard to the empirical sciences. He criticized the assumption that the empirical sciences are independent of the standards "which these sciences themselves apply to experience". The scientific theories are rather the subject of a debate that takes place within a scientific community. According to Habermas, scientific principles are not simply the result of research, but are set up by the community of researchers in an understanding-oriented discourse.

Habermas continues to reject the “instrumental” character of the social sciences, which are aimed at the development of “socio-techniques” with which we can “make social processes as well as natural processes available”. Such a sociology, however, fails to recognize that social systems are not "repetitive systems for which empirically valid statements are possible".

As a result of this dispute, the writing Knowledge and Interest emerged in 1968 . Habermas takes up the question of transcendental philosophy about the conditions of the possibility of knowledge in order to answer it with the means of modern social sciences. He points out that there is no such thing as “objective” knowledge. Rather, the respective theoretical or practical interest in knowledge determines the aspect under which reality is objectified, i.e. made accessible to scientific research and organization. Knowledge criticism is therefore only possible as a social theory . Shortly after the emergence of knowledge and interest , Habermas published technology and science as “Ideology” , a work that depicts Habermas’s transition to communication theory and in which - as the sociologist Helmut Dubiel puts it - “all elements of the developed theory ( of communicative action ) already germinated ”are included.

The "Linguistic Turn"

At the beginning of the 1970s there was a " linguistic turn " in Jürgen Habermas' philosophy. Central influences came from the language philosophy of Austin and Searle and the grammar theory of Chomsky . The hermeneutics of Gadamer and the pragmatics of Peirce also played an important role. On this basis, Habermas developed his universal pragmatics and his consensus theory of truth .

Universal pragmatics

Habermas' interest in the philosophy of language is a socio-theoretical one. He investigates the question of whether a social theory can be justified in terms of language theory.

The central subject of his social theory is the term " action ". He defines action as “behavior that is guided by norms or based on rules”. Norms and rules have a meaning that must be interpreted and understood. The appropriateness of such an interpretation can be checked “only with reference to the knowledge of the subject”, whereby it is assumed that he has an implicit knowledge of rules with regard to the norms of action and language. The task of a social theory is therefore to reconstruct the social conditions of this knowledge of the rules.

Speech acts

To research the implicit knowledge of rules, Habermas used the theory of speech acts developed by Austin and Searle , which he reinterpreted in terms of social theory .

Speech acts are the basic units of human speech. They can be divided into propositionally differentiated and non-differentiated. The former have a “peculiar double structure”: they are composed of a “ propositional ” component, the statement content, and a “ performative ” component, the “intention”, with which the statement content is expressed. The performative component of human speech has a certain priority, since it determines the meaning of the propositional content.

Habermas distinguishes three universal types of speech acts, each of which is based on a different "mode of communication" and to which different validity claims are assigned:

  • Konstativa (describe, report, explain, predict) refer to the cognitive level. They serve to represent a situation in the orientation system of the external world. The measure of their validity is truth .
  • Expressives , also representatives (wish, hope, admit) refer to intentions and attitudes. They are an expression of an experience in a subjective world. The measure of their validity is truthfulness .
  • Regulativa (excuse, command, warn, promise) refer to social norms and institutions . They serve to create a state in the common living environment. The measure of their validity is correctness .
Validity claims

“Validity claims” are associated with the performance of speech acts. Their fulfillment must be assumed by the speakers in communicative action. As long as the understanding is successful, the reciprocal claims remain unaffected; if they fail, the allegations must be checked to see which of them remained unfulfilled. There are different repair strategies depending on the validity claim. Habermas distinguishes four types of validity claims that cannot be traced back to one another:

  • Comprehensibility: The speaker assumes that the expressions used are understood. If there is a lack of understanding, the speaker is asked to explain it.
  • Truth: With regard to the propositional content of the speech acts, truth is assumed. If this is doubted, a discourse must clarify whether the speaker's claim is justified.
  • Correctness: The correctness of the norm that is met with the act of speaking must be recognized. This validity claim can only be redeemed discursively.
  • Truthfulness: The speakers mutually assume truthfulness (sincerity). If this anticipation (prerequisite) proves to be untenable, the background consensus cannot be restored with the untruthful speaker himself.
Ideal speaking situation

The discursive redemption of validity claims takes place in consensus , which does not have to be a coincidental but a well-founded one, so that “everyone else who could enter into a conversation with me would assign the same predicate to the same object ”. In order to be able to achieve such a well-founded consensus, an ideal speaking situation must exist, which is characterized by four conditions of equal opportunities : Equal opportunities for all regarding ...

  • the use of communicative speech acts so that they can open discourses at any time and start with speech and counter-speech or question and answer;
  • the thematization and criticism of all prior opinions , d. This means that they can use all linguistic means to raise or redeem validity claims;
  • the use of representative speech acts that express their attitudes, feelings and intentions so that the truthfulness of the speaker is guaranteed (truthfulness postulate);
  • the use of regulative speech acts , d. H. to order, to oppose, to allow, to prohibit, etc.

According to Habermas, such an ideal speech situation has neither the status of an empirical phenomenon, since every speech is subject to spatiotemporal and psychological restrictions, nor is it an ideal construct. Rather, it is "a reciprocal assumption made in discourses " that can be counterfactual . If the rational character of the speech is not to be divulged, the ideal speech situation must be " anticipated " and to this extent it is also " operationally " effective.

Consensus theory of truth

In his important essay Theories of Truth , Habermas presented a consensus theory of truth based on these considerations in 1973 .

What "we can say is true or false" are for Habermas statements with " assertoric power", i. H. which are also asserted and whose propositional content concerns an existing fact. Truth is thus “a validity claim that we associate with statements by asserting them”. Assertions thus belong to the class of "constative speech acts". Habermas agrees with the redundancy theory of truth insofar as the statement “p is true” does not add anything to the assertion “p”; however, the “ pragmatic sense” of the assertion lies precisely in the making of a truth claim regarding “p”.

According to Habermas, it is not the evidence of experience that decides about the existence of facts and thus the justification of a truth claim, but the course of arguments within a discourse: "The idea of ​​truth can only be developed with reference to the discursive redemption of validity claims". According to Habermas, the predicate “true” may and only then be assigned if everyone else who could enter the discourse would assign the same predicate to the same object. The reasonable consensus of all is the condition for the truth of statements.

Theory of communicative action (TdkH)

The two-volume work Theory of Communicative Action (TdkH) , published in 1981, is often referred to as Haberma's main work. As a contemporary historical motive, he cites the situation that has occurred in Western societies since the late 1960s, "in which the legacy of Occidental rationalism is no longer undisputed". With the "basic concept of communicative action", Habermas opens up three subject complexes (TdkH, Volume I, p. 8)

  • the development of a "concept of communicative rationality ",
  • a "two-tier concept of society that links the paradigms of lifeworld and system ",
  • a "theory of modernity" .

The work is characterized by long passages dealing with social and linguistic philosophical as well as sociological authors. In a “reconstructive adaptation” of the theories of Weber , Lukács , Adorno , Austin , Marx , Mead , Durkheim , Parsons and Luhmann , Habermas developed his own theory of action and society.

Communicative rationality

Standing in the tradition of the Frankfurt School, Habermas aims at a theory that makes society describable and open to criticism. But in contrast to Horkheimer and Adorno, who analyzed rationalization per se as a fateful process in terms of human history (see “ Dialectic of Enlightenment ”), Habermas limits his negative judgment to the restriction of reason in the sense of “instrumental rationality”, whose essence is “disposition “Lie above subjects and nature. In contrast, he uses the concept of a “communicative rationality” that enables “communication” with the other (TdkH, Volume I, p. 30).

According to Habermas, the forms of rationality correspond to corresponding types of action. He distinguishes - in a clear distinction to Popper'sThree Worlds Theory ” - four forms of action ( TdkH. Volume I, p. 126ff).

In the first chapter, Habermas first discusses four sociological concepts of action from different origins in a theoretical-historical discussion: the teleological ( Aristotle ), the norm-regulated ( Talcott Parsons ), the dramaturgical ( Erving Goffman ) and the communicative concept of action ( George Herbert Mead ). In some secondary sources, these are mistakenly confused with his own typology of action, which was only systematically introduced in the third chapter (“First Interim Consideration”) - on the basis of speech act theory.

The starting point of his theory of action is the "coordination of actions", which can be achieved through both success and communication. He differentiates between “instrumental” and “strategic” action as forms of success-oriented action on the one hand and “communicative” action as communication-oriented action on the other. Instrumental action as “non-social” does not play a role in his further considerations.

Habermas characterizes social actions as linguistically mediated. Action coordination in strategic action is provided by the success orientation; Speech acts serve here as a mere means to achieve the purpose or goal by influencing others. In contrast to this, communicative action is coordinated by generating an agreement on the basis of criticizable validity claims (see above). Only if these are accepted can acting persons achieve their goals.

“In connection with speech act theory” ( TdkH. Volume I, p. 384) he clarifies the rational foundations of communicative action. By linking the different speech acts (imperatives, constatives, regulatives, expressives), validity claims (truth, correctness, veracity) and world references (objective, social, subjective world), he can divide communicative action into “three pure types or borderline cases”: conversation , norm-regulated and dramaturgical action. It is borderline cases because communicative action usually combines all three.

The strategic action refers to the "objective world" of the "facts". We decide on a certain alternative course of action which appears to us to be the most promising means of achieving certain ends. Success often depends on “other actors”; However, these are “oriented towards their own success” and “only behave cooperatively to the extent that it corresponds to their egocentric benefit calculation” ( TdkH. Volume I, p. 131). Action coordination is synonymous here with the “interlocking of egocentric utility calculations” ( TdkH. Volume I, p. 151).

The communicative action is to be understood as a summarizing term of the three borderline cases and relates to all three worlds. In addition to the universal claim to meaning of comprehensibility, three categories of validity claims are actualized in it: the (propositional) truth, the (normative) correctness and the (subjective) truthfulness. In the concrete speech act, a validity claim is in the foreground and is primarily referred to one world, but in principle all three validity claims and world references are always discussed at the same time (Fig. 16 in TdkH. Volume I, p. 439 is relevant here ).

A teleological type of action no longer has a place in the Habermass system. According to him, all human actions are directed towards goals, which is their teleological character. “The concept of teleological action or purposeful action has been at the center of the philosophical theory of action since Aristotle [...]. This teleological structure is constitutive for all concepts of action ”. Similar formulation in TdkH. Volume I, pp. 150f.

System and living environment

For Habermas, subjects who act communicatively communicate “always within the horizon of a lifeworld ” ( TdKH. Volume I, p. 107). “The lifeworld is, as it were, the transcendental place where speaker and listener meet” ( TdkH. Volume II, p. 192). Lifeworld is the complementary term to that of communicative action.

The concept of lifeworld , first developed by Edmund Husserl and introduced into sociology by Alfred Schütz, characterizes the participant perspective of the acting subjects. According to Habermas, it has the following characteristics ( TdkH. Volume II, pp. 198–202):

  • The lifeworld “is unquestionably given to the experiencing subject” and “cannot become problematic at all”, but “at most collapse”.
  • The lifeworld owes its certainty to “a social a priori built into the intersubjectivity of linguistic understanding ”.
  • The lifeworld “cannot be transcended”, but rather forms “a context that cannot be circumvented and is in principle inexhaustible”.

In his two-stage social theory, Habermas fixes the duality of symbolic and material reproduction of society with the components “lifeworld” and “system”. It corresponds to the differentiation between participant and observer perspective, since "the self-preservation imperatives of society (themselves) not only prevail in the teleology of the actions of their individual members, but at the same time in the functional context of aggregated action effects " ( TdkH. Volume I, p . 533).

Only in a process of sociocultural evolution have symbolic and material social reproduction decoupled into independent, autonomous spheres of action, in that the living environment, which logically and genetically has primary importance, functional systems - primarily economy ( market-regulated economy) and politics ( bureaucratic administrative state) - " released ". The exclusive consideration of society as a system, as undertaken by Niklas Luhmann and Talcott Parsons , according to Habermas, disrupts the theoretical approach of "establishing a reasonable standard for a social modernization understood as rationalization in terms of action theory" ( TdkH. Volume II, p. 422f ).

Habermas is of the opinion that the process of social differentiation has led to a “colonization” of the “living environment” by the “system”. In other words: Through the formation of “generalized control media” - money and power - the material reproduction of society not only becomes independent of its cultural reproduction, but also increasingly penetrates it. For Habermas, this process is a central feature of modern societies. He differentiates between three stages of development:

  1. Traditional societies in which the “lifeworld” is not yet separated from the “system”. This refers to forms of society whose material reproduction is still dominated by their cultural sphere of values; in which cultural norms still decisively influence the conditions of material reproduction.
  2. In the second stage, historically the time from the Reformation to industrialization , the “system” is decoupled from the “lifeworld”, with the result that “power” and “money” as the control media of the “system” unite people Impose a logic of action that has been detached from common cultural values ​​and norms. It is these encroachments by the “system” on the “lifeworld” that Habermas characterizes as the “ colonization of the lifeworld ”.
  3. In the third stage, according to Habermas, the conflicts between “system” and “lifeworld” openly emerge: “Today, the imperatives of business and administration conveyed through the media, money and power, penetrate into areas that somehow break down when they are dealt with by the communication-oriented Action is decoupled and switched to such media-controlled interactions. "

The unfinished project of modernity

In the 1980s, Habermas increasingly dealt with philosophical currents that are critical of modernity . In particular, the focus is on neoconservative currents and the emerging philosophy of postmodernism . The origin of this is his speech Die Moderne - an unfinished project on the occasion of the awarding of the Adorno Prize in 1980. Its basic ideas later flow into the lecture series The Philosophical Discourse of Modernism , which Habermas held between March 1983 and September 1984 at the Collège de France in Paris, at the University of Frankfurt and at Cornell University in Ithaca .

Habermas' main concern is to defend against enlightenment currents in philosophy. He wants to hold on to the “unfinished project of modernity” and “ make up for its deficits through radicalized enlightenment ” ( The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. DphDdM, p. 104).

For Habermas, "modern" are societies in which the traditional worldviews - which are based in particular in the religions - have lost their ability to credibly convey binding interpretations of life and normative action orientation, and which are consequently forced to "derive their normativity from within themselves [ to] scoop ”(DphDdM, p. 16). For their “self-assurance” and “self-justification” (DphDdM, p. 17) it is necessary to find a principle that represents an “equivalent for the unifying power of religion” (DphDdM, p. 105). This principle must be identified as the principle inherent in the modernization of society itself (DphDdM, p. 46) and must be able to take over the stabilizing functions of the old religions.

According to Habermas, Hegel was the first to discover the problem of self-assurance of modernity as a philosophical problem and formulated the decisive solution for further discussion: subjectivity, understood as the "structure of self-relation", is both the basic structure of reason and the "principle of the new age" (DphDdM, p. 27).

In the course of “modernization”, however, it became clear - as already analyzed by Adorno and Horkheimer in the “ Dialectic of Enlightenment ” - that in subject-centered reason there was a tendency towards the absolutization of functional rationality and the “respective level of reflection and emancipation” (DphDdM , P. 70). Modernity, longing for self-assurance, must be brought to recognize the dialectic of the Enlightenment. It must learn to criticize the “setbacks in progress” (DphDdM, p. 80) in order to enable the self-criticism of the “modernity that has disintegrated with itself”. (DphDdM, p. 33ff)

Reason based on the “principle of subjectivity” (DphDdM, p. 70), according to Habermas, gets entangled in hopeless paradoxes when attempting a “totalizing, self-related criticism”. (DphDdM, p. 152ff) It is apparently impossible for her to successfully solve the task of self-assurance of modernity with the conceptual means available to her.

This aporetic situation of subjective reason is taken up by the critics of modernity. According to them, reason has only denounced and undermined all "forms of oppression and exploitation, degradation and alienation in order to replace them with unassailable rationality" (DphDdM, p. 70).

Nietzsche , whom Habermas describes as the “hub” for the entry into postmodernism, is of particular importance . The radical critique of reason he was striving for was intended to completely undermine the whole program, which goes back to Hegel, to justify modern forms of life from reason. The problem for Habermas, however, is that Nietzsche “vacillates” between two strategies: On the one hand, he tries to forego philosophy entirely and to reduce the respective claims to truth to mere power constellations as the task of a positive science that works “with anthropological, psychological and historical methods” understand. On the other hand, he sticks to the possibility of a philosophical critique of reason, which "digs up the roots of metaphysical thinking without giving up itself as philosophy" (DphDdM, p. 120).

Habermas sees Heidegger , Derrida and Foucault in the tradition of Nietzsche . Heidegger's philosophy of being - and its “grammatological” surpassing in Derrida - remains a “reverse fundamentalism” that cannot break away from the problem presented by traditional metaphysics and consequently does not represent an overcoming of metaphysics. (DphDdM, p. 197) The replacement of the autonomous subjectivity by anonymous processes of the history of being has the inevitable consequence that the subjectivity is replaced by a “subjectless event” (DphDdM, p. 210).

Foucault ties in with Nietzsche's draft of a "learned-positivistic historiography that appears as an anti-science" (DphDdM, p. 292); But even he does not succeed in "carrying out a radical criticism of reason without getting caught in the aporias of this self-referential enterprise" (DphDdM, p. 290) through his historically based power theory. The power, which functions as the “irritating basic concept” (DphDdM, p. 298) of his theory, has an ambiguous status: It should “simultaneously be a transcendental power of generation and empirical self-assertion” (DphDdM, p. 300).

Habermas draws the conclusion that the implementation of Hegel's program of a self-justification of modernity out of reason is still possible and desirable. However, the underlying concept of reason must be revised. Not subject-centered reason, but only “communicative reason” is suitable for successfully assuming the intended justification function (DphDdM, Chapter XI).

Discourse ethics

Based on his considerations on universal pragmatics, Habermas developed his own variant of a discourse ethic in dialogue with Karl-Otto Apel from the beginning of the 1980s . Habermas places them explicitly in the tradition of Kantian ethics, which he, however, at the same time wants to reformulate using means of communication theory and "detranscendentalize" its metaphysical elements. He characterizes his discourse ethics as a “ deontological , cognitivistic , formalistic and universalistic ethic”.


In Habermas' understanding, moral norms have a truth-analogous character. The “intended validity” of moral norms can be justified on the one hand with rational arguments; due to the lack of relation to reality compared to the concept of truth, their validity is only analogous to truth. For Habermas, the correctness of moral judgments turns out on the one hand "in the same way as the truth of descriptive statements - through argumentation". On the other hand, “moral validity claims lack the reference to the world that is characteristic of truth claims”.

Habermas distinguishes moral correctness from theoretical truth. A standard lays claim to validity “also regardless of whether it is promulgated and claimed in one way or another”. In contrast, a truth claim never exists independently of the assertion in which it is formulated.


Habermas and Kant differentiate between questions of the “good life” and questions of moral action. His discourse ethics focuses exclusively on the validity of moral precepts and norms of action as the phenomenon in need of explanation and thus excludes questions about what it means to lead a successful life from the area of ​​morality, which only addresses questions of justice. Despite this separation, Habermas is not prepared to completely disregard the ethical consequences of an action when assessing its moral content. The categorical imperative is to Habermas' interpretation of the review of existing moral norms for validity; it is to be understood as a “principle of justification”, since only maxims that can be generalized can legitimately be recognized as valid moral norms.

Habermas introduces an idiosyncratic distinction between the adjectives “ethical” and “moral”. The ethical questions remain "embedded in the biographical context discussed" and do not claim to be universally valid. Rather, they are questions about one's own life plan against the background of the respective cultural community. On the other hand, " moral and practical discourses [...] require a break with all things that are taken for granted in familiar concrete morality, as well as distancing ourselves from those life contexts with which one's own identity is inextricably linked":

“We make moral use of practical reason when we ask what is equally good for everyone; an ethical use when we ask what is good for me or for us. "

Habermas explains that based on this conceptual differentiation, one should not speak of “discourse ethics”, but rather of a “discourse theory of morality”. However, due to the naturalized use of language, he sticks to the term “discourse ethics”.


The formalistic element refers to a demarcation from material ethics of values ​​that try to characterize certain values ​​as worth striving for, which leads to the problem of the legitimation of an evaluative ranking of certain goods. Discourse ethics circumvents this problem in that it ties in with Kant's definition of the categorical imperative. At the center of discourse ethics is the formal principle of the principle of universalization "U", according to which a controversial norm can only find approval among the participants in a practical discourse, "if the consequences and side effects resulting from a general observance of the contested norm for the satisfaction likely to result from the interests of each individual, can be freely accepted by all ”.

The sense and purpose of this principle is the possibility of an impartial judgment in the case of moral conflicts without direct reference to questions of content. Discourse ethics thus tries to provide a principle that formally, i.e. independently of content requirements, opens up the possibility of showing which norms can actually claim moral validity.


Habermas finally describes the discourse ethics following Kant as a universalistic ethic, since the validity of the norms it defines by a formal principle is neither limited to a certain cultural area nor to a certain period of time:

"Ultimately, we call an ethics universalistic that asserts that this (or a similar) moral principle not only expresses the intuitions of a certain culture or a certain epoch, but applies in general."

The focus is on the attempt to develop a conceptual justification for the intended validity of moral norms, which can show "that our moral principle not only reflects the prejudices of the adult, white, male, middle-class educated Central Europeans of today", but also because of its convincing power Cultures can be related whose moral ideas were not influenced by the history of the Enlightenment. Habermas calls this the "most difficult part of ethics".

Factuality and effectiveness

After the fall of the Wall in 1989, Habermas devotes increasingly right - and political philosophy topics. In 1992 his work facticity and validity (FuG) appears, which according to his theory of communicative action (TdkH) is considered to be his most important work. It represents “the first developed legal philosophy from the critical theory of the Frankfurt School”. Habermas developed his own conception here - as in his earlier writings - over a large part of the discussion with other theories.

Haberma's interest is primarily in the role of law in modern societies. For him, law is “the modern statutory law that claims to be systematic justification as well as binding interpretation and enforcement” ( facticity and validity (FuG), p. 106). The law has the function of “social integration”. This becomes necessary in modern society, because there “validity and factuality, that is, the binding force of rationally motivated convictions and the imposed compulsion of external sanctions [...] have come apart incompatibly” (FuG, p. 43). The law shows a way out to the alternative between breaking off communication and strategic action. It regulates the "strategic interactions on which the actors agree" (FuG, p. 44).

Legal regulations represent "on the one hand factual restrictions" to which the strategically acting person has to comply; "On the other hand, they must also develop a socially integrative force by imposing obligations on the addressees, which [...] is only possible on the basis of intersubjectively recognized normative claims" (FuG, p. 44).

Habermas wants to look at the law from an empirical-normative "double perspective", from which "the legal system simultaneously takes its normative content seriously from the inside and can be described from the outside as a component of social reality" (FuG, p. 62): “Without looking at law as an empirical system of action, the philosophical terms remain empty. However, insofar as the sociology of law stiffens to an objectifying view from the outside and is insensitive to the only internally accessible meaning of the symbolic dimension, the sociological view, conversely, runs the risk of remaining blind ”(FuG, p. 90).

Habermas examines the relationship between law and morality . Legal and moral rules differentiate themselves from traditional morality at the same time and "appear as two different but complementary types of norms of action" (FuG, p. 135). Law differs from morality in that it is not primarily based on free will, but on individual arbitrariness, relates to the external relationship between people and is endowed with compulsory powers (FuG, p. 143).

Habermas goes into the Platonic "doubling" of law as a positive and natural law . This is based on the intuition that positive law should represent natural law. This intuition is not wrong in every respect, “because a legal system can only be legitimate if it does not contradict moral principles. Positive law remains inscribed with a reference to morality via the legitimacy component of legal validity ”(FuG, p. 137). But this moral reference should not induce one to subordinate morality to law in a hierarchy of norms. Legal questions and moral questions relate to the same problems, but in different ways: "Despite the common point of reference, law and morality differ prima facie in that post-traditional morality is only a form of cultural knowledge, while law also becomes binding on the institutional level" (FuG, p. 137). “That is why we must not understand fundamental rights that appear in the positive form of constitutional norms as mere images of moral rights, and political autonomy not as a mere image of moral rights” (FuG, p. 138). Habermas, however, remains essentially true to the tradition of the law of reason.

For Habermas, laws can only "claim legitimate validity" if they can "find the approval of all legal comrades in a legally written discursive legislative process" (FuG, p. 141).

Habermas formulates four main principles of the rule of law :

  1. the "principle of popular sovereignty " (FuG, p. 209),
  2. the "principle of guaranteeing comprehensive individual legal protection " (FuG, p. 212),
  3. the "principle of the lawfulness of administration" (FuG, p. 213),
  4. the “principle of the separation of state and society”, which demands a political culture “that is decoupled from class structures” (FuG, p. 215).

Also a history of philosophy

Habermas, according to the Tübingen philosopher Otfried Höffe , rounds off his oeuvre with the two-volume retirement work Also a History of Philosophy , published in 2019 . The book, the original title of which was actually “Zur Genealogie nachmetaphysischen Denkens. Also a history of philosophy "should read, wants to guide the discourse on belief and knowledge through the history of Western philosophy. Habermas only deals with developments up to the middle of the 19th century, while the wide-ranging later debates, especially in analytical philosophy, are no longer considered.

For Habermas, the presentation of the history of Western philosophy on the basis of the paradigm “belief and knowledge” is justified by the “close symbiosis of Greek philosophy with the monotheistic religions”. Philosophy developed "out of the horizon of the Old and New Testaments, referring to the past of Greco-Roman antiquity as its other". Complementary to the development of Christian dogmatics in terms of philosophy, the philosophical appropriation of essential contents from religious traditions took place. With the emergence of the sciences in the 17th century, philosophy freed itself from its theological premises. She took the mathematical natural sciences as her methodological model, while Christianity in turn became the "other" of a now secular philosophy.

Public debates


In the anthology The future of human nature (ZmN) Habermas takes a position on questions of eugenics . For him, a fundamental problem with encroaching on the human genome is the fact that the person who makes a decision about the “natural features” of another person ”has the power to irrevocably set certain properties without the consent of the person concerned to determine. This consensus can be assumed in the case of "negative eugenics", which is about purely preventive measures against future diseases (ZmN, p. 79).

According to Habermas, however, “positive eugenics”, in which the child is to be endowed with certain useful and desirable properties, threatens the autonomy of the subject. If the body is manipulated by the parents in the prenatal phase of the individual, it means that it is in control. But that makes it impossible for the individual to be able to “be himself” for Habermas (ZmN, p. 100). In this context, Habermas differentiates between a natural and a socialization fate with reference to Hannah Arendt . Our self-confidence as a human subject is essentially linked to the fact that we can rely on a "natural fate": because "the self-confidence of the person requires a point of reference beyond the traditional strands and interaction contexts of an educational process in which the personal identity is formed through the history of life" (ZmN, p 103).

Religion and christianity

Since the end of the 1990s, Habermas has been dealing with religious issues again, especially with the influence of the Judeo-Christian tradition on Western thought. In 1999 he said in a “conversation about God and the world” with the philosopher Eduardo Mendieta, who teaches in the United States: “The egalitarian universalism, from which the ideas of freedom and solidarity coexist, of autonomous living and emancipation, of individual conscience, human rights and democracy is a direct inheritance of the Jewish ethics of justice and Christian love. Unchanged in substance, this heritage has repeatedly been critically appropriated and reinterpreted. There is still no alternative to this. In view of the current challenges posed by a post-national constellation, we still benefit from this substance. Everything else is postmodern talk. ”The“ global process of social modernization ”began in the 15th century. According to Habermas, it was driven forward by the Reformation , Luther and a number of thinkers and religious movements who were influenced by Luther in different ways and intensities: Jakob Böhme , Quaker , Pietism , Oetinger , Kant , Hegel , Schelling , Hölderlin , Kierkegaard , Max Weber . In connection with the development of Western intellectual history, Habermas also mentioned Thomas von Aquin , Meister Eckhart , Marx , Nietzsche , Baader , Heidegger , Adorno , Horkheimer , Benjamin , John Rawls , Johann Baptist Metz , the liberation theology and a few other thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries Century. The English, French and American philosophers linked the Christian faith (“Jerusalem”) and Greek philosophy (“Athens”) with the political-republican thinking of ancient “Rome” more than the Germans. Even his own philosophizing, according to Habermas, “draws on the Christian heritage”.

Habermas admits that in the “post-metaphysical thinking” of modern, secular societies, “any generally binding concept of the good and exemplary life eludes”. In the “holy scriptures and religious traditions”, on the other hand, there are “intuitions of failure and redemption” that have been kept alive for thousands of years. They provided “sufficiently differentiated possibilities of expression and sensitivities for a failed life, for social pathologies, for the failure of individual life plans and the deformation of distorted life contexts”.

It must be the task of a "post-metaphysical" philosophy to "release the cognitive contents of religious tradition" from their originally dogmatic encapsulation in the melting pot of the discourses on which they were based ", in order to be able to" develop an inspiring force for the whole of society ".

This attitude towards religion has been sharply criticized by Hans Albert several times. According to Albert, Habermas had, "after a long development that began with a hermeneutical reinterpretation of Marxism and an emphasis on the claim to enlightenment, now found himself ready to literally stab the Enlightenment in the back." Albert criticized Habermas' attitude as one “Corrupt hermeneutics, a conception that sacrifices the search for truth to the pursuit of consensus”.

Habermas, however, refers directly to Kant's religious philosophy: “Kant's religious-philosophical restriction of reason to its practical use today affects less religious enthusiasm than an enthusiastic philosophy that only borrows and uses promising connotations from a redeeming religious vocabulary to avoid austerity to dispense discursive thinking. We can also learn that from Kant: we can understand his philosophy of religion as a whole as a warning against religious philosophy. "

Brain Research and Free Will

Another current topic of Habermas is modern brain research and the problem of free will . Habermas opposes the thesis, advocated by Wolf Singer and Gerhard Roth , among others , that “mental processes” can be “explained solely from observable physiological arguments” ( Freiheit und Determinism. In: Habermas: Between Naturalism and Religion. FuDINuR, p. 155).

Habermas' concern is on the one hand to do justice to "the intuitively indisputable evidence of a performative consciousness of freedom that runs along with all of our actions ", but on the other hand also to satisfy "the need for a coherent picture of the universe that includes humans as natural beings" (FuDINuR, p 156). For this purpose, he differentiates between an observer and participant perspective. These are represented in various " language games " that cannot be reduced to one another. Both perspectives must be considered simultaneously in order to understand the phenomenon of the interaction of nature and mind. We are observers and communication participants in one person.

Habermas criticizes u. a. the design of certain neurophysiological test arrangements ( Libet experiment ), which are based on a restricted and simple concept of action and in which the test persons are tied into an action plan in advance by the test instructions, which would undermine an essential aspect of freedom (FuDINuR, p. 158f). For Habermas, "actions are the result of a complex chain of intentions and considerations that weigh goals and alternative means in the light of opportunities, resources and obstacles." (FuDINuR, p. 158f). Free actions are particularly characterized by the “context of more far-reaching goals and justified alternatives” (FuDINuR, p. 159). He sums it up with the catchy formula: “Only the deliberate will is free.” (FuDINuR, p. 160).


While Habermas initially saw European integration as a primarily economic event for the liberalization of trade, in the course of the 1980s he showed himself to be a convinced European and accompanied the development in the European Union with politically committed statements, the most important and most recent of which in his publication " On the Constitution of Europe ”(2011) are summarized. In it he understands the EU as a “higher-level political community”, as a “decisive step on the way to a politically composed world society”.

At the same time as the start of the French presidential election campaign in 2017 , Habermas reaffirmed his pro-European stance at a panel discussion in Berlin with the presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel , to which the Hertie School of Governance had invited.

Jürgen Habermas has long been advocating that the pro-European parties no longer allow themselves to be divided into donor and recipient countries in a fiscal consolidation consensus, but instead "come together across national borders to campaign against this shift from social to national issues".

Already in 2013 Habermas complained that “an unspeakably pious media landscape encourages all those involved not to touch the hot iron of European politics in the election campaign and to play Merkel's clever and evil game of disagreement”. In that year Habermas even went so far as to wish the “ Alternative für Deutschland ” an electoral success: “I hope that it will succeed in compelling the other parties to shed their European stealth. Then, after the general election, there could be a chance that a 'very large' coalition could emerge for the first step. "

Reception, criticism and effect

Habermas is considered to be a "border crosser" between philosophy and social sciences. His works have been translated into forty languages ​​and sparked cross-disciplinary controversy in philosophy, philosophy of science, sociology, and political science. In Germany, Habermas became one of the most discussed contemporary German philosophers after he had already become well known through the positivism controversy and his work Knowledge and Interest , following the publication of the theory of communicative action . A series of introductions into his life and work has appeared since the 1980s. Habermas also published regularly in numerous German feature articles such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , the Süddeutsche Zeitung and the Zeit .

Herbert Schnädelbach , who completed his habilitation under Adorno and Habermas (1969/1970), criticized in 1982 as one of the first interpreters of Habermas' main work Theory of Communicative Action that normative justifications could never be completely objectified because they always addressed the first person Researchers are coupled (I / we). Albrecht Wellmer (five years assistant at Habermas in Frankfurt) and Ernst Tugendhat (five years research with Habermas in Starnberg) relativized the discourse-ethical construction of an ideal speech situation as mere fiction. Karl-Otto Apel and some of his students criticized the fact that Habermas insists on the historical character of the prerequisites for communication and rejects the possibility of a final justification of ethics, because the latter would result from the respective prerequisites. Among the best-known students of Habermas in Germany are the philosopher Axel Honneth , the legal theorist Klaus Günther and the political scientist Rainer Forst , who also did research with Habermas and developed some of his main research areas. Also Ulrich Oevermann , Claus Offe and Klaus Eder studied with him and became his assistant. From abroad came Johann Arnason , Zoran Đinđić , Hans-Hermann Hoppe , Thomas A. McCarthy and Jeremy J. Shapiro .

Habermas has been particularly popular in the USA since the late 1970s. In 1978 the first important treatise on Habermas by Thomas A. McCarthy (The Critical Theory of Jürgen Habermas) appeared there . Since the beginning of the 1990s, there has been an increase in publications dealing with different aspects of Habermas' thinking. His numerous stays in the USA as a visiting professor brought him together with the most important representatives of American contemporary philosophy, such as Richard Rorty , Ronald Dworkin , Thomas Nagel , Donald Davidson , Noam Chomsky and Robert Brandom . A wide attention also drew his debate with John Rawls on the concept of social justification ( A Theory of Justice ) in coming. On the occasion of Habermas' 70th birthday, Hilary Putnam started a friendly dialogue in several reciprocal essays on the justification of values ​​and norms within the framework of a pragmatic philosophy.

In Italy, Habermas was perceived as a representative of critical theory in the 1970s and since the early 1980s interest has shifted to his discourse theory of morals. In France there was controversy with representatives of postmodernism ( Jean-François Lyotard and Jacques Derrida ) in the 1980s and 1990s . Subsequently, the interest turned increasingly to Habermas as a legal and state philosopher. In Latin America, too, Jürgen Habermas' main interest has been the legal and state theory in recent years. His concepts based on discourse theory became “a kind of third way between the widespread conservative positions and the minority, but nevertheless strongly present, positions of left-wing revolutionary movements”. The later work of Jürgen Habermas, which he published according to his theory of communicative action , is generally received today .

90th birthday Habermas was in the time honored as "berühmtester living philosopher" world of prestigious and mostly with him personally known to connoisseurs of his work. Martin Seel, for example, sees the emancipatory potential of language as a basic impulse of Habermas thinking and quotes it from his inaugural lecture in Frankfurt in 1968: “That which sets us apart from nature is the only fact that we can know by its nature: language. With its structure, maturity is set for us. ”The discourse ethics represented by Habermas translate Kant's categorical imperative into a dialogical process. The quality of human forms of life is therefore measured according to "how the debate about the appropriate type of coexistence can be conducted in them" and how many could participate.

Christoph Menke regards Habermas as a “thinker of the unconditional”, namely the unconditionality of truth and justice, in whose transcendent power freedom consists. But in his philosophy the unconditional threatens to tip over into the given and to rob this in the form of the liberal-democratic constitutional state with its negotiation processes of the justice of its strength or its unconditionality.

Eva Illouz pays tribute to Haberma's “Herculean endeavor” to find the foundations of a social and moral order based on the competencies of ordinary actors, but at the same time expresses concern about “whether the masses consent to daily violations of the rules of ordinary speech by political parties Leaders who have elevated lying to a new political style have not shown this trust in the resources of ordinary language to be a failure. ”Habermas fails to take into account the importance of feelings for people's political orientation. Seyla Benhabib shares Illouz's concern about this. Habermas could rightly share the title of global citizen with Karl Jaspers . But his idea of ​​a deliberative public with the participation of the citizens in the decision-making processes is fundamentally called into question by “post-factual” politics.

Haberma's secondary literature comprises more than 14,000 books and articles, including many doctoral theses.


1999 awarded the Theodor Heuss Foundation Habermas for his lifelong, formative involvement in the public debate about the development of democracy and social awareness of the Theodor Heuss Prize . In 2001 Habermas was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade , in 2003 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize , and in 2004 he received the Kyoto Prize of the Inamori Foundation of the Japanese Kyocera Group, endowed with 364,000 euros, for his life's work  Honor for culture and science of international importance. Habermas was also the second recipient of the Holberg Prize from the Norwegian Holberg Foundation; the award ceremony took place on November 30, 2005 in Bergen (Norway) ; the award, endowed with 570,000 euros, was given to him for his “fundamental theories about discourse and communicative action”. The Holberg Memorial Prize has been awarded since 2004 for outstanding work in the humanities, social sciences and law. In 2006 he was awarded the Bruno Kreisky Prize for his “literary and journalistic complete works” and in November of the same year the State Prize of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia . The Kluge Prize awarded to him in 2015 is considered the “Nobel Prize in Philosophy”.

Furthermore, Habermas is an elected member of numerous scientific academies. These include the German Academy for Language and Poetry (since 1983), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (since 1984), the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (since 1988), the Academia Europaea (since 1989), the British Academy and the Russian Academy of Sciences (each since 1994). He received honorary doctorates from the New School for Social Research in New York (1981), the Universities of Jerusalem , Buenos Aires and Hamburg (1989), the Universities of Utrecht and Northwestern University Evanston (1991), the University of Athens (1993) and the University of Tel Aviv (1999).



Monographs (after the first year of publication)

  • The absolute and the story. From the ambivalence in Schelling's thinking. Dissertation Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Philosophical Faculty, February 24, 1954, under the title: The Absolute and History. From the ambivalence in Schelling's thinking. DNB 480463387 ; Bouvier, Bonn 1954, DNB 451750098 .
  • with Frank Benseler , Ludwig von Friedeburg , Christoph Oehler, Friedrich Weltz : Student and Politics. A sociological study of the political consciousness of Frankfurt students. Luchterhand, Neuwied am Rhein / Berlin 1961, 1967, 3rd edition 1969 (= sociological texts. Volume 18).
  • Structural change of the public . Investigations into a category of civil society. Luchterhand, Neuwied am Rhein 1962 to 1987 (17th edition), ISBN 3-472-61025-5 ; 1st to 5th edition of the new edition, Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1991 to 1995, ISBN 3-518-28491-6 (= Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch Wissenschaft. Volume 891, also habilitation thesis Philipps University Marburg 1961).
    • Preface to the new edition 1990. In: Structural change of the public. Investigations into a category of civil society. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1991, pp. 11-50.
  • Theory and practice. Social Philosophical Studies. Luchterhand, Neuwied am Rhein 1963, ISBN 978-3-518-27843-7 ; New edition: Suhrkamp Taschenbuch 9, Frankfurt am Main 1971, ISBN 3-518-06509-2 .
  • Knowledge and interest. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1968; New edition with a new epilogue in 1994, ISBN 3-518-06731-1 .
  • Technology and science as “ideology”. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1968, ISBN 3-518-10287-7 .
  • Protest movement and university reform. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1969. Paperback in 2008: ISBN 978-3-518-41984-7 .
  • On the logic of the social sciences. Supplement 5 of: Philosophische Rundschau. Tübingen 1967, NA: Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1970; 5th, expanded edition 1982, ISBN 3-518-28117-8 .
  • with Niklas Luhmann : Theory of Society or Social Technology. What is systems research doing? Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1971, ISBN 978-3-518-06358-3 .
  • Philosophical-political profiles. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1971; extended new edition 1991, ISBN 978-3-518-28259-5 .
  • Culture and criticism . Scattered articles, Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1973, ISBN 978-3-518-36625-7 .
  • Legitimation problems in late capitalism. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1973, ISBN 3-518-10623-6 .
  • For the reconstruction of historical materialism. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1976, ISBN 3-518-27754-5 .
  • Politics, art, religion. Essays on Contemporary Philosophers. Stuttgart 1978, ISBN 3-15-009902-1 .
  • Theory of communicative action . Volume 1: Rationality of Action and Social Rationalization. Volume 2: On the Critique of Functionalist Reason. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1981, ISBN 3-518-28775-3 .
  • Small political writings I – IV. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1981, ISBN 978-3-518-56560-5 , 2001: ISBN 978-3-518-06561-7 .
  • Moral awareness and communicative action. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1983, ISBN 3-518-28022-8 .
  • Preliminary studies and additions to the theory of communicative action. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1984, ISBN 978-3-518-28776-7 .
  • The new confusion. Small Political Writings V. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1985, ISBN 3-518-11321-6 .
  • The philosophical discourse of modernity . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1985, ISBN 3-518-57722-0 .
  • A kind of claims settlement. Small Political Writings VI. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 978-3-518-11453-7 .
  • Post-metaphysical thinking. Philosophical essays. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1988, ISBN 978-3-518-28604-3 .
  • The catching up revolution. Small political writings VII. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1990, ISBN 978-3-518-11633-3 .
  • The modern age - an unfinished project. Philosophical-political essays. Leipzig 1990, ISBN 978-3-379-00658-3 .
  • Explanations on discourse ethics. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1991, ISBN 978-3-518-28575-6 .
  • Texts and contexts. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1991, ISBN 978-3-518-28544-2 .
  • Past as future? Old Germany in the new Europe? A conversation with Michael Haller. Pendo, Zurich 1991, ISBN 978-3-85842-251-4 .
  • Factuality and effectiveness. Contributions to the discourse theory of law and the democratic constitutional state. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-518-28961-6 .
  • The normality of a Berlin republic. Small Political Writings VIII. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1995, ISBN 978-3-518-11967-9 .
  • Involving the other. Political Theory Studies. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1996, ISBN 3-518-29044-4 .
  • From sensual impression to symbolic expression. Philosophical essays. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1997, ISBN 3-518-22233-3 .
  • The post-national constellation. Political essays. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1998, ISBN 978-3-518-12095-8 .
  • Truth and justification. Philosophical essays. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1999, ISBN 978-3-518-29323-2 .
  • Time of transitions. Small Political Writings IX. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 978-3-518-12262-4 .
  • The future of human nature. On the way to a liberal eugenics? Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 978-3-518-29344-7 .
  • Communicative action and detranscendentalized reason. Reclam, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-15-018164-X .
  • The divided west. Small political writings X. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-518-12383-1 .
  • Between naturalism and religion. Philosophical essays. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 3-518-58447-2 .
  • Oh, Europe. Small Political Writings XI. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2008, ISBN 3-518-12551-6 .
  • Philosophical texts. 5 volumes, study edition, Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-518-58515-3 . contents
  • On the Constitution of Europe. An essay. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-518-06214-2 .
  • Post-metaphysical thinking II. Articles and replicas. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-518-58581-8 .
  • In the wake of technocracy. Small political writings XII. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-518-12671-4 .
  • Also a history of philosophy. Volume 1: The Occidental Constellation of Faith and Knowledge ; Volume 2: Reasonable Freedom. Traces of the discourse on belief and knowledge. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2019, ISBN 978-3-518-58734-8 .




Further information

  • 1973: Franz Maciejewski (ed.): Theory of society or social technology. Contributions to the Habermas-Luhmann discussion (= theory discussion supplement. Volume 1), Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1973, ISBN 3-518-06101-1 .
  • 1989: Thomas A. McCarthy: Critique of the Mutual Relationships. On the theory of Jürgen Habermas. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-518-28382-0 .
  • 1989: Edmund Arens (Ed.): Habermas and theology . Patmos, Düsseldorf 1989, ISBN 3-491-71087-1 .
  • 1994: Hartmuth Becker : The critique of parliamentarism with Carl Schmitt and Jürgen Habermas (= contributions to political science. Volume 74). Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-428-07979-5 (2nd edition 2003).
  • 1997: Matthias Restorff: The political theory of Jürgen Habermas. Tectum, Marburg 1997, ISBN 978-3-89608-768-3 .
  • 2003: Pieter Duvenage: Habermas and Aesthetics. The Limits of Communicative Reason. Polity Press, Cambridge 2003, ISBN 0-7456-1597-X .
  • 2008: Michael Funken (Ed.): About Habermas. Conversations with contemporaries. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2008, ISBN 978-3-534-20791-6 .
  • 2015: Smail Rapic (ed.): Habermas and historical materialism. 2nd edition, Alber, Freiburg im Breisgau, 2015, ISBN 978-3-495-48566-8 .
  • 2017: Klaus Viertbauer, Franz Gruber (eds.): Habermas and religion . Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2017, ISBN 978-3-534-26888-7 . (2nd, corrected and expanded edition 2019).
  • 2017: Fabrizio Micalizzi: Habermas and the European Union. Perspectives for increasing the legitimacy of the European institutions. Nomos, Baden-Baden 2017, ISBN 978-3-8487-3768-0 .
  • 2019: Roman Yos: The young Habermas. An examination of the history of ideas of his early thinking 1952–1962. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt an Main 2019, ISBN 978-3-518-29878-7 .
  • 2019: Martin Breul: Discourse-theoretical responsibility for faith. Contours of a Religious Epistemology in Confrontation with Jürgen Habermas. Regensburg 2019, ISBN 978-3-7917-3049-3 .
  • 2019: Habermas global. History of the impact of a work. ed. by Luca Corchia, Stefan Müller-Doohm and William Outhwaite, suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2019, ISBN 978-3-518-29879-4 .

Critical contributions (selection)

Web links

Commons : Jürgen Habermas  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikibooks: Jürgen Habermas  - learning and teaching materials





  1. ^ Stefan Müller-Doohm : Jürgen Habermas. A biography. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2014, p. 12.
  2. According to Michael Funken he is "the most cited German philosopher of the present, and by far" and Ralf Dahrendorf saw in him "the most important intellectual of my generation". In: Michael Funken (Ed.): About Habermas. Conversations with contemporaries. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2008, pp. 7 and 124.
  3. Habermas (1985): The new confusion. P. 202.
  4. Habermas: preliminary studies and additions to the theory of communicative action. P. 505 f.
  5. ^ Stefan Müller-Doohm : Jürgen Habermas. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2008, p. 130.
  6. Habermas: Between Naturalism and Religion. P. 17 ff.
  7. Johan Schloemann: Try the better. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung of June 18, 2019, p. 11.
  8. ^ Stefan Müller-Doohm: Jürgen Habermas. A biography. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2014, p. 38.
  9. Joachim Fest: I don't. Hamburg 2006.
  10. ^ Andreas Zielcke: Nazi allegations against Habermas - defamation against better knowledge. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . October 27, 2006.
  11. Habermas: The Absolute and History. P. 86.
  12. Jürgen Habermas: Thinking against Heidegger with Heidegger. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung No. 170, July 25, 1953, features section (above)
  13. ^ Stefan Müller-Doohm: Jürgen Habermas. A biography. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2014, p. 81.
  14. ^ Stefan Müller-Doohm: Jürgen Habermas. A biography. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2014, p. 86.
  15. Jürgen Habermas: Technology and science as ideology. Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1968, p. 153 ff.
  16. Stefan Müller-Doohm: Jürgen Habermas. Suhrkamp BasisBiographie, Frankfurt am Main 2008, p. 31 ff.
  17. Klaus Mlynek , Waldemar R. Röhrbein (eds.) And a .: City Lexicon Hanover . From the beginning to the present. Schlütersche, Hannover 2009, ISBN 978-3-89993-662-9 , p. 611 f.
  18. ^ Jürgen Habermas: Protest movement and university reform. Frankfurt am Main 1969, p. 188 ff.
  19. Carola Stern , Thilo Vogelsang , Erhard Klöss, Albert Graff (eds.): Dtv-Lexicon for history and politics in the 20th century. Volume 2 (H-N). Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, Munich 1974, ISBN 3-423-03127-1 , p. 483.
  20. ^ Stefan Müller-Doohm: Jürgen Habermas. A biography. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2014, p. 226.
  21. ^ Stefan Müller-Doohm: Jürgen Habermas. A biography. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2014, p. 234.
  22. ^ Stefan Müller-Doohm: Jürgen Habermas. A biography. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2014, p. 269 f.
  23. Jürgen Habermas: The apologetic tendencies in German contemporary history. In: The time . 29, July 11, 1986; Retrieved June 4, 2019 .
  24. Habermas: Past as Future? P. 56 f.
  25. ^ Stefan Müller-Doohm: Jürgen Habermas. A biography. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2014, p. 388.
  26. Jürgen Habermas: Bestiality and Humanity. A war on the border between law and morality . In: The time. No. 18, 1999.
  27. Paul Badde: Jürgen Habermas answers the Pope without mentioning him . In: The world . September 15, 2007.
  28. cf. Süddeutsche Zeitung from 21./22. July 2012: Someone digs for the scarce resource of solidarity .
  29. ^ Roman Yos: The young Habermas. An examination of the history of ideas of his early thinking 1952–1962. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt an Main 2018, pp. 73 ff.
  30. Habermas: The Absolute and History. P. 9.
  31. Habermas: Work, Knowledge, Progress. P. 80.
  32. Habermas: Theory and Practice. P. 400.
  33. ^ Habermas: Culture and Criticism. KuK, p. 107.
  34. Habermas: KuK, p. 108.
  35. ^ Habermas, Jürgen: Culture and criticism: scattered essays. 1st edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1973, ISBN 3-518-06625-0 , pp. 12 .
  36. Habermas, Jürgen: Culture and Criticism: Scattered Essays . 1st edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1973, ISBN 3-518-06625-0 , pp. 11 .
  37. ^ Habermas: Structural change of the public. Frankfurt am Main. 1990, p. 90.
  38. However, only with minor references from Habermas to Tönnies' most extensive study Critique of Public Opinion from 1922 [²2002, in: TG 22, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York] (cf. Habermas 1962, Section VI, opening footnote 39).
  39. ^ Habermas: Structural change of the public. P. 292.
  40. ^ Habermas: Structural change of the public. Pp. 339-342.
  41. Alessandro Pinzani: Jürgen Habermas . CH Beck, Munich 2007, p. 48 f.
  42. Habermas: On the logic of the social sciences. P. 48. - Habermas own logical efforts in this study were, however, by Gotthard Günther (in: Critical remarks on the current theory of science - On the occasion of Jürgen Habermas: To the logic of the social sciences. In: "Soziale Welt", vol. 19, 1968, Pp. 328–341) sharply criticized. ( online , PDF, 69 kB).
  43. repetitive
  44. Habermas: On the logic of the social sciences. P. 26.
  45. Helmut Dubiel: Critical Theory of Society . Weinheim and Munich 1988, p. 95.
  46. See Albrecht Wellmer: Communications and emancipation. Reflections on the linguistic turn in critical theory. In: John O'Neill (Ed.): On Critical Theory . Seabury Press, New York 1976, ISBN 0-8164-9297-2 , pp. 230-265.
  47. ^ "Christian Gauss Lectures" from 1971, in: Preliminary studies and additions to the theory of communicative action. Pp. 11-126.
  48. Habermas: preliminary studies and additions to the theory of communicative action. P. 13.
  49. Habermas: preliminary studies and additions to the theory of communicative action. P. 17.
  50. On the following cf. also Habermas: What does universal pragmatics mean? In: Karl-Otto Apel (Ed.): Language pragmatics and philosophy. Frankfurt am Main 1976, pp. 174-272, and Habermas: Preparatory remarks on a theory of communicative competence. In: Habermas / Luhmann: Theory of Society or Social Technology. Pp. 101-141.
  51. Jürgen Habermas: Theories of Truth. In: Helmut Fahrenbach (Ed.): Reality and reflection. Walter Schulz on his 60th birthday . Neske, Pfullingen 1973, ISBN 3-7885-0037-9 , pp. 211–265, here p. 258.
  52. Jürgen Habermas: Theories of Truth. In: Helmut Fahrenbach (Ed.): Reality and reflection. Walter Schulz on his 60th birthday . Neske, Pfullingen 1973, ISBN 3-7885-0037-9 , pp. 211-265.
  53. Habermas: Theories of Truth. P. 212.
  54. Habermas: Theories of Truth. P. 218.
  55. Habermas: Theory of communicative action (TdkH). Volume I, p. 9.
  56. Walther Müller-Jentsch : Theory of communicative action. In: Günter Endruweit / Gisela Trommsdorf / Nicole Burzan (ed.): Dictionary of Sociology. 3. Edition. UKV, Koblenz 2014, p. 551.
  57. Habermas: preliminary studies and additions to the theory of communicative action. 1984, p. 575 f.
  58. Habermas: The new confusion. P. 189.
  59. ^ Habermas: Small political writings. P. 444 ff.
  60. Habermas: The philosophical discourse of modernity . (DphDdM)
  61. Cf. Habermas: Ways of Detranscendentalization. From Kant to Hegel and back. In: Habermas: Truth and Justification. Philosophical essays. Extended edition. Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-518-29323-0 , pp. 186-229 (first 1999).
  62. Habermas: Do Hegel's objections to Kant also apply to discourse ethics? In: Habermas: Explanations on Discourse Ethics. Pp. 9–30, here p. 11.
  63. Cf. Habermas: Do Hegel's objections to Kant also apply to discourse ethics? P. 11.
  64. Habermas: Correctness versus Truth. In: Truth and Justification. Philosophical essays. Frankfurt am Main 1999, p. 294.
  65. Habermas: Discourse Ethics - Notes on a Justification Program. In: Habermas: Moral awareness and communicative action. Frankfurt am Main 1983, pp. 53–125, here p. 70.
  66. Habermas: On the pragmatic, ethical and moral use of practical reason. In: Habermas: Explanations on Discourse Ethics. Pp. 100–118, here p. 113.
  67. Habermas: Transcendence from within, transcendence into this world. In: Habermas: Texts and Contexts. Frankfurt am Main 1991, pp. 127–156, here p. 149.
  68. Habermas: Foreword. In: Explanations on Discourse Ethics. P. 7.
  69. Habermas: Discourse Ethics - Notes on a Justification Program. P. 103.
  70. Habermas: Do Hegel's objections to Kant also apply to discourse ethics? In: Habermas: Explanations on Discourse Ethics. Frankfurt am Main 1991, p. 12.
  71. Habermas: Do Hegel's objections to Kant also apply to discourse ethics? In: Habermas: Explanations on Discourse Ethics. Frankfurt am Main 1991, p. 12.
  72. Ralf Dreier: Discourse Theory and Philosophy of Law. Comments on Jürgen Habermas “Facticity and Validity”. In: Journal for Philosophical Research. 48, 1994, No. 1, p. 90.
  73. Habermas: factuality and validity (FuG)
  74. ^ Thomas Kupka: Jürgen Habermas discourse-theoretical reformulation of the classical law of reason . In: Kritische Justiz 27, 1994, p. 461 ff.
  75. ^ Review by Otfried Höffe in: Neue Zürcher Zeitung. November 8, 2019.
  76. See Jürgen Habermas, Also a history of philosophy. Volume 1: The Occidental Constellation of Faith and Knowledge. Suhrkamp Berlin 2019, pp. 9–15.
  77. See Jürgen Habermas, Also a history of philosophy. Volume 1: The Occidental Constellation of Faith and Knowledge. Suhrkamp Berlin 2019, p. 38.
  78. See Jürgen Habermas, Also a history of philosophy. Volume 1: The Occidental Constellation of Faith and Knowledge. Suhrkamp Berlin 2019, p. 25.
  79. Habermas: The future of human nature (ZmN), p. 30.
  80. Habermas: Time of Transitions. P. 175.
  81. Jürgen Habermas, Time of Transitions. Pp. 176-178, 183-184, 187-188
  82. Jürgen Habermas, Time of Transitions. Pp. 176-179, 183-190, 194-195
  83. Jürgen Habermas, Time of Transitions. P. 183
  84. Jürgen Habermas, Time of Transitions. P. 187
  85. Habermas: Between Naturalism and Religion. Frankfurt / Main 2005, p. 115.
  86. Habermas: Between Naturalism and Religion. Frankfurt / Main 2005, p. 149.
  87. Hans Albert, Joseph Ratzinger Salvation of Christianity - Restrictions on the Use of Reason in the Service of Faith, p. 104.
  88. Hans Albert: The religious belief and criticism of religion of the Enlightenment. Limitations on the Use of Reason in the Light of Critical Philosophy. In: Journal for General Philosophy of Science. 37, 2006, pp. 355-371., Here p. 369, JSTOR 25171351 .
  89. Jürgen Habermas: The boundary between belief and knowledge. In: Revue de métaphysique et de morale. 4/2004, No. 44, pp. 460-484
  90. Habermas: Freedom and Determinism. In: Habermas: Between Naturalism and Religion. FuDINuR, Frankfurt / Main 2005.
  91. ^ Jürgen Habermas: On the constitution of Europe. An essay. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2011, p. 40.
  92. philomag.com: Emmanuel Macron adoubé par Jürgen Habermas à Berlin (French, accessed April 24, 2017).
  93. a b Arno Widmann: Habermas wishes the AfD success In: Frankfurter Rundschau. May 6, 2013 (accessed June 28, 2018).
  94. Otfried Höffe: Categorical legal principles. Frankfurt am Main 1990, p. 358.
  95. Sabine Oelze: "Jürgen Habermas is extremely open to suggestions". In: Deutsche Welle. June 17, 2019, accessed on June 18, 2019 (conversation with Habermas' editor at Suhrkamp Verlag, Eva Gilmer).
  96. See Jürgen Habermas: Values ​​and Norms. A comment on Hilary Putnam's Kantian pragmatism. In: German Journal for Philosophy 48, 2000, No. 4, pp. 547-564; also contained in: Habermas: Truth and Justification. Philosophical essays. Extended edition. Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-518-29323-0 , pp. 271-298.
  97. Alessandro Pinzani: Jürgen Habermas. P. 200.
  98. Seel sums up in a conscious exaggeration: "Language is the language of democracy." (Martin Seel: In the machine room of thinking. The power center of Jürgen Habermas' philosophy is language. Without it there is no democracy. In: Die Zeit, 13. June 2019, p. 35)
  99. “Contrary to what Habermas wants, the existing institutions do not honor the simultaneity of unconditionality and realization. They dissolve it. "(Christoph Menke: The Unconditional and its Realization. The Limits of the Discourse: To think with Habermas, you have to contradict it. In: Die Zeit, June 13, 2019, p. 40)
  100. ^ Eva Illouz: All too sober Stime der Vernunft. Even if he recognizes the role of religion, he does not take into account the role of feelings. In: Die Zeit, June 13, 2019, p. 36.
  101. "From the perspective of political philosophy there is no doubt that the disappearance of this communicative rationality also means the end of our democracies." (Seyla Benhabib: We are not machines. We are people. Anglo-Saxon philosophy owes him a lot. His books came at the right moment. In: Die Zeit, June 13, 2019, p. 40)
  102. René Görtzen: Jürgen Habermas: A mondial selection bibliography of primary literature , in: Habermas global. History of the impact of a work. ed. by Luca Corchia, Stefan Müller-Doohm and William Outhwaite, suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2019, p. 761f. and 822. 40
  103. ^ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, August 14, 2015
  104. friedenspreis-des-deutschen-buchhandels.de
  105. fundacionprincipedeasturias.org ( Memento of May 14, 2008 in the Internet Archive ).
  106. ^ Holberg International Memorial Prize
  107. ^ "European Prize for Political Culture" goes to Jürgen Habermas ( Memento from August 16, 2008 in the Internet Archive ). On: presseportal.de. August 10, 2008.
  108. boersenblatt.net January 29, 2013 Literary Life - Awards Jürgen Habermas receives Erasmus Prize , accessed on January 29, 2013
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on August 30, 2012 .