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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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“Communicative” versus Purposive Rationality

“Communicative” versus Purposive Rationality

Chapter:
(p.4) 1 “Communicative” versus Purposive Rationality
Source:
The Philosophy of Jürgen Habermas
Author(s):

Uwe Steinhoff (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547807.003.0002

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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