Critical Social Theory

From Epistemology to Communicative Paradigm
Part of the Contemporary Systems Thinking book series (CST)


Following Habermas (1972, 1984a, 1987b), it seems to us that science, in the broad and (in our view) proper sense is the systematic engagement in endeavors to improve knowledge through a diversity of human processes of new learning backed up by psychosocial heritage of human intuition and past knowledge. However, in his 1965 seminal work (translated from German to English in 1972) on the theory of knowledge, Habermas found all previous influential work on the theory of knowledge epistemologically impoverished; they all suffered from “objectivist illusion,” trying to sever knowledge from human interests. In his recent monumental work (Habermas, 1984a, 1987b), he reconceptualized the problem, not in epistemological terms, but in sociolinguistic terms. Although most of the issues of central concern to his emancipatory program remained the same, the thrust of his argument changed from a preoccupation with radicalizing epistemology to that of radicalizing forms of linguistic interaction. But running throughout these emancipatory concerns, the central problem remains the same: the task of redeeming modernity from the enigma of enlightenment.


Language Game Action Coordination Validity Claim Frankfurt School Communicative Paradigm 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1996

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