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New Reading of Habermas Theory

New Reading of Habermas TheoryNew Reading of Habermas Theory

Researcher in social philosophy, editor and translator Nasser Taqavian has one chapter left to complete his book on the Theory of Communicative Action.

‘Habermas, Language, Communicative Action’ is the title of the upcoming book by Taqavian who is a faculty member at the Institute for Social and Cultural Studies, a research center in Tehran affiliated to the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, IBNA reported.

The book is expected to offer a new reading of the theory introduced in 1981 by Jurgen Habermas, 87, one of the world’s leading thinkers alive.

In his two-volume book, ‘The Theory of Communicative Action,’ German sociologist Habermas, a philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism, has presented a new basis for social sciences.

The theory reconstructs a concept of reason which is not grounded in instrumental or objectivistic terms, but rather in an emancipator communicative act.

According to the reconstruction, “human action and understanding can be analyzed as having a linguistic structure.”

Such linguistic structures of communication can be used to establish a normative understanding of society. This conception of society is used “to make possible a conceptualization of the social-life context that is tailored to the paradoxes of modernity.”

Habermas’ book has encouraged many responses by social theorists and philosophers. In 1998, it was listed by the International Sociological Association, headquartered in Madrid, as the eighth most important sociological book of the 20th century.

  Focus on Linguistics Aspect

Taqavian is among the researchers inspired by the theory. He is preparing his own thoughts in his work. “My latest work … is going to be released by (Tehran-based) Cheshmeh Publication in two months.  I am presenting a new reading of Habermas’ conception, so far not discussed in Iran. My particular focus is on the linguistic aspect of the theory, an area not yet covered here.”

Taqavian added: “In his thoughts, Habermas is always oriented toward one central core that is Universal Pragmatics.” In 1979, Habermas coined the term in his essay ‘What is Universal Pragmatics?’ where he suggests that human competition, conflict, and strategic action are attempts to achieve understanding that have failed because of modal confusions. The implication is that coming to terms with how people understand or misunderstand one another could lead to a reduction of social conflict.

Universal Pragmatics, more recently called formal pragmatics, has not received due attention in Iran, said Taqavian “Our understanding of Habermas’ thoughts is oftentimes not deep enough in Iran; so I have tried to offer a new reading of his works.”

He said he would translate Habermas’ The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures, later in the year. The 1985 book is regarded as an important contribution to the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, a school of social theory and philosophy where a majority of theorists believed that traditional theory could not adequately explain the turbulent and unexpected development of capitalist societies in the 20th century.




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