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|Social Theory · Epistemology|
Political theory · Pragmatics
Jürgen Habermas (born June 18, 1929) is a German philosopher and sociologist, or someone who studies different societies. He uses a type of theory called critical theory, where he studies how people use power. He also uses the theory of American pragmatism, which studies if something is true or not by the effects of actions. He is known for his work on the theory of the public sphere. He studies power in democracy, and politics. He also studies how people develop a society through language and communication, and tries to understand how that society and the government work together.
Biography[change | change source]
Education[change | change source]
Habermas lived in Gummersbach, near the city of Cologne until his graduation from gymnasium. Jürgen was raised in a Protestant religious family because his grandfather was in charge of the seminary, or religious school, in Gummersbach, Germany. Jürgen Habermas went to the universities of Göttingen (1949/50), Zürich (1950/51), and Bonn (1951/54). He earned a doctorate (PhD). from Bonn in 1954 with his work Das Absolute und die Geschichte. Von der Zwiespältigkeit in Schellings Denken (The absolute and history: on the contradiction in Schelling's thought).
From 1956 on, he studied philosophy and sociology under the critical theorists Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. Because Horkheimer had asked Habermas to make some changes to his dissertation. Habermas did not want to do this, and thought that the Frankfurt School was not correct in its views of modern culture. Habermas left the Frankfurt School (a school of thought rather than one made of bricks and mortar).
Works[change | change source]
He finished his habilitation, or highest academic degree, in political science at the University of Marburg under the Marxist Wolfgang Abendroth. His habilitation work was entitled, Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit; Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der Bürgerlichen Gesellschaft (published in English in 1989 titled The structural transformation of the public sphere: an inquiry into a category of bourgeois society). In 1961, he became a privatdozent in Marburg. He began working as a "extraordinary professor" (professor without a chair) of philosophy at the University of Heidelberg. Hans-Georg Gadamer and Karl Löwith got him this job. In 1964 Habermas returned to Frankfurt to take over Horkheimer's job in philosophy and sociology.
He was in charge of the Max Planck Institute in Starnberg (near Munich) in 1971, and worked there until 1983, two years after the publication of his main work, The Theory of Communicative Action. Habermas then returned to his chair at Frankfurt as head of the Institute for Social Research. After retiring from Frankfurt in 1993, Habermas wrote many books and articles. In 1986, he received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which is the highest honour awarded in German research. He is a "Permanent Visiting" Professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and "Theodor Heuss Professor" at The New School, New York.
Awards[change | change source]
Habermas was awarded The Prince of Asturias Award in Social Sciences for 2003. Habermas was also the 2004 Kyoto Laureate in the Arts and Philosophy section. He traveled to San Diego and on March 5, 2005, as part of the University of San Diego's Kyoto Symposium, gave a speech entitled The Public Role of Religion in Secular Context, about the separation of Church and State. He received the 2005 Holberg International Memorial Prize (about € 520,000).