Jurgen Habermas: Social Theorist and Defender of Morality and Rationality
Introduction Jürgen Habermas is without a doubt, the leading social theorist and the leading defender of modernity and rationality. He uses his theory of communication to help analyze the problems of the modern world, and strongly believes the issues can be solved. The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate the problems Habermas has analyzed in terms of the modern world, and to put emphasis on basic assumptions and key concepts of his communication theory of society. Once the theoretical concepts have been covered, some illustrative examples will be discussed to show how these ideas could be used to analyze certain real-life social issues in today’s society.
Jürgen Habermas Habermas is one of the greatest representatives of contemporary modernism, but for him, modernism remains as a project that is incomplete. Only when the structures of inequality that lead to a distorted communication between social groups have been transformed into more humane and egalitarian institutions, can the full promise of modernism be realized. That is when free and open communication between social groups becomes possible in late modern society. He studied the conflicts within modern society, and his theory could be called the “theory of pathology of modernity” because he views modernity as being at a variance with itself (Ritzer, 2008). This statement by Habermas means that the rationality that has begun to characterize the social systems is different and in conflict with the rationality that characterizes the life-world. Habermas distinguishes several types of knowledge in the social sciences as well as their underlying cognitive interests. He claims that outlining this typology of knowledge and associated human interests is to display the fact that not one type of knowledge can fit all possible human needs. His classification of the different types of knowledge may be understood as a critique of positivism and scientism, which helped him
References: Ritzer, G. (2008). Modern sociological theory. Boston: McGraw-Hill. Turner, J. (1998). The continuing tradition I: Jürgen Habermas’ Frankfurt-school project. Toronto: Wadsworth Publishing Company.