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The Theory of Communicative Action, Volume…
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The Theory of Communicative Action, Volume 2: Lifeworld and System: A… (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 1981; vuoden 1985 painos)

– tekijä: Thomas McCarthy (Translator) Jurgen Habermas (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut / Maininnat
305267,909 (3.72)1 / 3
This study offers a systematic reconstruction of the theoretical foundations and framework of critical social theory. It is Habermas' "magnum opus", and it is regarded as one of the most important works of modern social thought. In this second and final volume of the work, Habermas examines the relations between action concepts and systems theory and elaborates a framework for analyzing the developmental tendencies of modern societies. He discusses in detail the work of Marx, Durkheim, G.H. Mead and Talcott Parsons, among others. By distinguishing between social systems and what he calls the "life-world", Habermas is able to analyze the ways in which the development of social systems impinges upon the symbolic and subjective dimensions of social life, resulting in the kind of crises, conflicts and protest movements which are characteristic of advanced capitalist societies in the late-20th century.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:emman-1989
Teoksen nimi:The Theory of Communicative Action, Volume 2: Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason by Jürgen Habermas (1985) Paperback
Kirjailijat:Thomas McCarthy (Translator) Jurgen Habermas (Tekijä)
Info:Beacon (1985)
Kokoelmat:Philosophy, Oma kirjasto
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The Theory of Communicative Action, Volume 2: Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason (tekijä: Jürgen Habermas) (1981)

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näyttää 2/2
Este libro es como un pantano. De repente, se encuentra uno metido en un fangal y no entiende una mierda de lo que está leyendo, pero un poco más allá, como por ensalmo, se encuentra el lector encaramado a un trozo de tierra firme, y entonces mira a su alrededor y dice: "¡Pues no está tan mal esto, hasta es interesante!". Un ratito después vuelve a estar seriamente tentado de mandar el libro al fuego. Y así hasta el final.

Yo creo que parte de esa sensación me ha venido porque Habermas dedica muchísimas páginas a exponer y criticar la obra de otros. En este tomo dedica sus desvelos a Talcott Parsons, del que confieso no había oído hablar antes. Pero cuando nuestro profesor de filosofía se decide a contarnos lo que piensa él, la cosa se aclara bastante. Puede que me haya perdido bastantes cosas, pero creo que lo que quiere, en realidad, es defender la socialdemocracia y del Estado del Bienestar frente a quienes estaban ya a principios de los 80 maldiciendo de la Modernidad. Dice que el problema es que el "sistema" (que parece indicar el complejo de mecanismos de poder más o menos ciego de corte capitalista y burocrático a la vez, tal como lo dibujó en su día Max Weber) ha "colonizado" el "mundo de la vida", que lo conforman las aspiraciones y vivencias cotidianas de la gente, tratando de convertirnos en sus esclavos y utilizando para ello los mecanismos del dinero y el poder. Como la sociedad ya ha dejado atrás los referentes éticos externos (es decir, las religiones) que habían servido de contrapeso en el pasado, y Habermas tiene como axioma que estos referentes no deben volver so pena de caer en el oscurantismo medieval, entonces hay que buscar alguna fórmula que permita compaginar el sistema capitalista y burocrático con la libertad real (más allá de las votaciones periódicas) y el bienestar. La fórmula que propone es la acción orientada al entendimiento, o "acción comunicativa", que implica que no buscamos la verdad de las cosas, sino solo una forma de entendernos y llevarnos razonablemente bien.

Y en esto estamos. Pero yo creo que despreciar las religiones y las éticas premodernas sin más no es nada inteligente, además de miope, porque muchísima gente sigue teniendo este tipo de sentimientos, al margen de su adscripción formal o no a una determinada iglesia, y no son tan fáciles de extirpar. Además, la mayor parte de los principios éticos que queremos salvaguardar, como la libertad individual o el pacifismo, proceden del sustrato religioso. Pero, sobre todo, me parece que Habermas ignora a otras sociedades que no sean la suya, la europea de fines del siglo XX. Y de ahí, de fuera de nuestro entorno, pueden venir las soluciones. Creo que la filosofía occidental ha llegado a un punto sin retorno en el que no hace más que dar vueltas sobre sí misma, como el perro que persigue su propio rabo, y necesitamos que alguien venga de fuera y nos reoriente. Lo malo es que no sabemos si en esa operación perderíamos demasiado. La vida es arriesgarse.

Por cierto, que en esta edición no conocemos el nombre del traductor o traductores. Sorprendente. ( )
  caflores | Jan 15, 2020 |
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 more 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 more 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 more '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 more 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 more 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. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
näyttää 2/2
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This study offers a systematic reconstruction of the theoretical foundations and framework of critical social theory. It is Habermas' "magnum opus", and it is regarded as one of the most important works of modern social thought. In this second and final volume of the work, Habermas examines the relations between action concepts and systems theory and elaborates a framework for analyzing the developmental tendencies of modern societies. He discusses in detail the work of Marx, Durkheim, G.H. Mead and Talcott Parsons, among others. By distinguishing between social systems and what he calls the "life-world", Habermas is able to analyze the ways in which the development of social systems impinges upon the symbolic and subjective dimensions of social life, resulting in the kind of crises, conflicts and protest movements which are characteristic of advanced capitalist societies in the late-20th century.

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