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Habermas, Jürgen (1929–)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DD024-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 15, 2024, from

Article Summary

Jürgen Habermas, German philosopher and social theorist, is perhaps best known for his wide-ranging defence of the modern public sphere and its related ideals of publicity and free public reason, but he has also made important contributions to theories of communication and informal argumentation, ethics, and the foundations and methodology of the social sciences. He studied in Göttingen, Zurich and Bonn, completing a dissertation on Schelling’s philosophy in 1954. After working for a short time as Theodor Adorno’s research assistant at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt he held professorships in Heidelberg and Frankfurt and, from 1971 to 1981, was co-director of the Max Planck Institute in Starnberg. With the publication of Knowledge and Human Interests (1968) he became widely recognized as the leading intellectual heir to the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, a variant of Western Marxism that included such figures as Adorno, Max Horkheimer and Herbert Marcuse. His two-volume The Theory of Communicative Action (1981) is a major contribution to social theory, in which he locates the origins of the various political, economic and cultural crises confronting modern society in a one-sided process of rationalization steered more by the media of money and administrative power than by forms of collective decision-making based on consensually grounded norms and values.

Citing this article:
Baynes, Kenneth. Habermas, Jürgen (1929–), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DD024-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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