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This is a difficult book to rate, since it s obviously very important influential And the horrific style could bias anyone against it But I finally settled on two stars Why Habermas theory is meant to be an advance beyond previous critical theories He argues that their focus on consciousness philosophy broadly speaking, an individualist approach to social theory, which assumes that individuals are the primary bearers of meaning leads them into all sorts of problems But his interpretations of those previous critical theories are, not to put too fine a point on it, appalling He misreads Hegel he misreads Marx to such a great extent that one might almost believe he d never even read Capital and his take on earlier critical theorists is or less limited to Horkheimer s Eclipse of Reason Habermas main criticism of Adorno is that Adorno seeks a solution to the problems of modern societies in a kind of irrationalist mysticism It is no surprise that almost all of his evidence for this is taken from books about , rather than by Adorno Good rebuttals of Habermas readings of Hegel and Marx can be found in Pippin s Idealism as Modernism, and Postone s Time, Labor and Social Domination respectively For Habermas, the main problem with previous critical theories is that they don t seem to be grounded Habermas sees a strict dichotomy here Either you ground your theory by taking on a universalist perspective, or you lapse into relativism Because critical theory has tended to avoid universalism, it must be relativistic This is tied to his failure to understand Hegel s work Hegel shows that the dichotomy between universalism and relativism is flawed that something can be grounding without being universal On this approach, critical theory is right to find its foundation only in an immanent critique of the present, without a universalist standpoint Habermas claims to find his universalist standpoint in language He argues that any any speech act assumes the possibility of rational agreement, and that this can be a basis of a critical theory Language becomes the inalienable repository of freedom and reconciliation This is where Habermas rejection of consciousness philosophy hurts him most Why is it that language can remain or less pure He has no answer for this question Consciousness philosophy, of course, would argue that since language is bound up with consciousness and since consciousness somewhat obviously cannot remain pure in an impure world then language itself cannot remain pure, and cannot be the universal standpoint Habermas seeks Finally, Habermas tries to combine two sociological approaches systems theory and action theory He never asks, however, if these theories themselves might be reflections of actual social problems which cannot be merely combined at the theoretical level A critical theory will show the problems with these theories, and explain how to move past them Habermas does not do this, because he accepts Daniel Bell s thesis of end of ideology Theories are now just different standpoints from which we view the same content, not reflections of that content itself Again, a bit consciousness philosophy would have led Habermas to see that this separation of form and content which he sees as a key moment of modernism is theoretically untenable On a somewhat obvious level, this was a theory designed for a welfare state world This world collapsed just as these volumes were being published in German Habermas himself said, in an interview around the time they were being published, that this work assumed such a welfare state world The Dialectics of Rationalization, in Telos The disappearance of that world made it clear that power was no than a handmaiden to money The best recent work of critical theory, Postone s book mentioned above, makes this argument very well That s all substantive stuff On a less high falutin level, this book is horrifically written, spends far too much time summarizing previous sociological theories, and shows a frankly bizarre addiction to unnecessary, quasi scholastic hair splitting For those interested in critical theory, I recommend reading the intermediate reflections and concluding reflections Otherwise, it s like reading a freshman comp paper written by a staggering genius. Habermas intimidated me quite a deal, I admit, but the thing about analytical philosophers is that while their texts are lengthy and detailed in their proofs, they make for good skimming In fact, Jeff Walker giving me permission not to worry about focusing on every page was a big part of the best day of my life The ideas here are remarkably interesting and tie in dreadfully with Burke, I think. I was actually surprised by how thoughtless Habermas critique of Marx was, relying as it does on the Weber reading, and the whole base superstructure trope For those of you who heard about this famous duality and want to critique Marx based on it Marx said this ONCE, and with contextual specificity He didn t really believe you could just dump the social on top of some stool called economy this is an economist reading.Habermas also seems to think Marxism can t account for the welfare state, or the other somewhat underhanded tactics Capitalism has used to keep itself afloat through ever worsening financial crisis I think he would be hard pressed to find a Marxist economist who isn t dealing with this currently, not to mention Marx himself being relatively clear on how capitalism won t abide a barrier, and has historically come up with extremely remarkable ways to keep moving Habermas doesn t deal with the core of Marx s real addendum to the political economic discourse of the time, namely that its core isn t just the commodity relation, but surplus value While scooting around Marx s ideas about value in general, he never actually gets at the core factor, which is that the surplus value relationship which is inherent to Capitalism is inherently exploitative, and no amount of restructuring will cure this fundamental ailment There is no real pacification of class antagonism, and we are beginning to see Marx s foresight on this matter now Habermas posses another fundamentally poorly framed question when he wonders why modern resistance is declassed in a way as in coming from students rather than workers Firstly I don t think anyone looking at the conflicts happening around the world in the 60 s could be so deluded as to not understand the class interaction of situations like Vietnam, and secondly he perhaps should relook at the class positions of many students.Not to mention his claim that Marx somehow ignores or subsumes culture in this severe way A few other problems with Habermas The idea that we have to work from the assumption that language has an inherent drive toward consensus understanding and that somehow this is not teleological in a hard sense because its merely goal oriented The abstract theory of language that serves as the foundation of his entire method is simply terrible His system falls apart without its fallacious starting point being assumed Economy and State are considered in isolation from culture, those making the problem remarkably similar to a bad reading of Marx in that his problem is these systems economy, state invading the lifeworld culture, language How economy is not a cultural and linguistic practice is totally beyond my comprehension It seems like there is just some mystical assumption about how economy just flows on its own, and any mention of the ruling classes and their historical and current role in shaping that interaction are ignored what about imperialism The appeal to general political legitimacy , which eliminates all forms of political struggle save communicative action The assumption that we can rationally talk out our problems and thus solve any dispute, and that this is the only legitimate way to do so, leaves a great deal to be desired In his theory of communicative action, regulative validity claims are subject to acceptance in the Yes or No dichotomy of responses to validity claims based on their normativeness, which seems problematic if this is the type of speech act which we use to request or regulate others An inability to fold art poetry into his proceduralist account of communicative action towards satisfying reason leads him to put it wholly outside the world The autonomous realm of art is just a mythology, whether from those who wish to validate it, or from those who say it is not reasonable enough Linguistic Kantianism based on regulatory ideals is a one way ticket back to Hegel s critique of universal morality How can Habermas claim to have an intersubjective account with this monstrous presupposition looming all of our discourse I understand the attempted tripartite of objective, inter subjective, and subjective, I just think it fails to come through The problem of social order and its explanation has never been a satisfying frame for my understanding of social systems stemming from Parson s social integration theory Marx describes our economic condition as anarchic, and I tend to agree Phrasing the problem in such a way as to assume that there is a relative degree of social equilibrium really misses the power relationships at the bottom of even the most basic agreements though I generally sympathize with Habermas in that he is responding to post structuralist power analysis I think Parson s critique of Hobbes is missing the main thrust of the Hobbsian argument, which is that fear of violent death accounts for social order this is lurking closer to the surface than we often realize This is the difference between a crises model that recognizes the internal contradictions of the capitalist system, and a consensus model one wonders if Parson s had a window in his ivory tower Habermas at least tries to explain why our society is in perpetual crisis systems invading life world , but that our natural culture and language is bent towards rejection of systems seems than arbitrary, it is down right anti dialectic ANTHROPOCENTRISM, only humans have language, the environment and the animals are just going to have to deal with our decision ETHNOCENTRISM, being situated in and being the self proclaimed heir to western philosophical linguistic thought, the backwards cultures that have yet to evolve to western standards of rationality are just waiting to be subsumed, and receive this prescriptive division from immediate mythological binding ala Durkheim. An interesting read, incredibly illuminating for those trying to understand the theoretical underpinnings of Habermas overall project However, much like other modern magnum opuses i.e Rawls Theory of Justice the work could have been considerably succinct The expansive re hashs and expositions on modern sociology that makes up the majority of the work, while interesting, was far less interesting then the far too brief analysis of the critique of rationalization as part of an emancipatory social theory, as well as Habermas reformation of the task of critical theory. ( Download Book ) ♶ Theorie des Kommunikativen Handelns: Handlungsrationalität und gesellschaftliche Rationalisierung ♵ A Major Contribution To Contemporary Social Theory Not Only Does It Provide A Compelling Critique Of Some Of The Main Perspectives In Th Century Philosophy And Social Science, But It Also Presents A Systematic Synthesis Of The Many Themse Which Have Preoccupied Habermas For Thirty Years Times Literary Supplement Including vol 2 as well, Habermas re conceives the rational society as based not on some abstract ideal, but in the rationality of everyday discourse. Mr Habermas, couldn t you write it in a simpler way Your book is hard to read How we communicate determines the structure of our lives. The problem that most adults face in Modern society is that they have almost no ideas with which to formulate an understanding of how they can transform again Most assume that they will learn things that are learnable just as other things were in the past Habermas 1984, p 68 , however, described the difference well With the transition to a new stage the interpretations of the superseded stage are, no matter what their content, categorically devalued It is not this or that reason, but the kind of reason, which is no longer convincing People incapable of imagining transformation no longer can conceive of new kinds of reasons they can only conceive of reasons that are simply of the same kind Looking at stage theories with advances well beyond that of the most advanced adults gives us a sense of humility to at least know that we do not know. These ideas need to be considered if we want real democracy to flourish we need to implement some of them We do not talk about important things any We ought to.