Jürgen Habermas

Communication and Critique: An Introduction to Jürgen Habermas

Instructor: Ajay Singh Chaudhary
Goethe-Institut New York
30 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003

Jurgen Habermas is one of the most prolific and influential contemporary European philosophers and public intellectuals. Although a student of Theodor Adorno and the most prominent member of the so-called “second generation” of Frankfurt School thinkers, Habermas’ thought departs significantly from the largely Marxian frameworks of Adorno and Max Horkheimer in favor of reframing human emancipation within intersubjective communication, what Habermas calls “communicative rationality.” While Habermas is among the most cited scholars in the world, he is often more referenced than read; he lacks the counter-cultural veneer and appeal of his supposedly more “radical” postmodern contemporaries, with whom he profoundly disagreed. Yet for anyone interested in the broadest questions of contemporary politics and society — from the legacy of Enlightenment thought, the nature of modernity, the future of critical theory, the nature of intersubjective communication, the importance of civil society, the concept of the lifeworld, the critique of capitalism, and conversations between Continental and Anglo-American/Analytic philosophical traditions — Habermas’ work is indispensable.

In this survey of Habermas’ thought, we will read selections from a broad swath of his most influential works, such as The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Theory of Communication Action, and The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, alongside several of his more recent shorter writings on topics from religion to contemporary European politics. Finally, we will also read Raymond Geuss’ short and brilliant The Idea of a Critical Theory, which provides not only a lucid account of Habermas in terms amenable to both sides of the Atlantic, but also an opportunity for students to re-situate his work within the long tradition of the sociological, philosophical, and psychological social theory of Marx, Hegel, Freud, and the Frankfurt School itself.

The Goethe-Institut New York is pleased to announce Communication and Critique: An Introduction to Jürgen Habermas, a class presented in collaboration with the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research as part of an ongoing partnership.

Course Schedule

Monday, 6:30-9:30pm
June 06 — June 27, 2016
4 weeks


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