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The Philosophy of Jürgen HabermasA Critical Introduction$
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Uwe Steinhoff

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199547807

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547807.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 May 2021

“Communicative” versus Purposive Rationality

“Communicative” versus Purposive Rationality

(p.4) 1 “Communicative” versus Purposive Rationality
The Philosophy of Jürgen Habermas

Uwe Steinhoff (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

According to Habermas, a universalist normative ethics cannot be justified by appeal to purposive rationality or means-end rationality. Therefore he proposes recourse to an “uncurtailed” form of rationality that is oriented towards consensus and hence can guarantee intersubjective validity. This is an appeal to what Habermas calls “communicative” or “discursive rationality”. He tries to develop the concept of communicative rationality and to demonstrate its irreducibility to and priority over purposive rationality in his theory of communicative action. In particular, he attempts to show that the conditions of rationality for communicative action have to be explicated through a theory of argumentation, which, in turn, leads to a discourse theory of rationality. The chapter explains and critically analyses Habermas' chain of argument.

Keywords:   argumentation, communicative action, communicative rationality, consensus, intersubjectivity, purposive rationality, rationality, universalism, validity, Max Weber

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