Saturday, May 20, 2017

Habermas and Communication Theory


Jürgen Habermas (born 18 June 1929) is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theories on communicative rationality and the public sphere. In 2014, Prospect readers chose Habermas as one of their favourites among the "world's leading thinkers.’

Associated with the Frankfurt School, Habermas's work focuses on the foundations of social theory and epistemology, the analysis of advanced capitalistic societies and democracy, the rule of law in a critical social-evolutionary context, and contemporary politics, particularly German politics. Habermas's theoretical system is devoted to revealing the possibility of reason, emancipation, and rational-critical communication latent in modern institutions and in the human capacity to deliberate and pursue rational interests. Habermas is known for his work on the concept of modernity, particularly with respect to the discussions of rationalization originally set forth by Max Weber. He has been influenced by American pragmatism, action theory, and even poststructuralism.

Communication is a central concept in the philosophy of the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas.

This term is also about misunderstandings because it is often associated with the ordinary meaning. However, the concept of communication is the opposite of the same concept used in the science of communication. It is not in this case a strategic activity to present a project or aspects of reality in one hand, by optimizing the admissibility of those who are the object and on the other hand, to minimize or even hide the disadvantages or consequences. Habermas, communication is contrary to the basic activity in which two or more subjects are able to spontaneously get agreement on a draft joint action or a shared reality in the public sphere.

Habermasian definition of communication:

We can therefore define communication as strictly what happens between two or more, talking seriously about something that exists or should exist in the world, but no one disputes the validity of the statements or suggestions made by and each other. Communication therefore uses a medium in and through which it occurs: the language.

In this sense, communication is commonplace and everyday, but it is also vital and is, indeed, a necessary condition for the symbolic reproduction of the world, sharing information, learning process, etc.. We can therefore say that it structures the world of everyday life.

Communication and discussion:

It should not be confused,  communication and discussion, even if the contact points between the pragmatic of Apel and the philosophical Habermas partly explain this assimilation.

The discussion in the German thinker, is not communication in the strict sense, however, it is communicative in the sense that communication and understanding are its purpose, it should be noted, however, that the communication is interrupted by the disagreement  and the conflict or dispute. There is no solution of continuity between communication and discussion in the strict sense, because the argumentative discourse that unfolds in the discussion is latent in communication, it is present as a regulator underlying, but we do not use it itself.

Thus, the validity claims are issued in the communication in the strict sense.

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