Juergen Habermas

June 18, 1929 Germany


            Juergen Habermas is a philosopher who has strongly influenced not only the philosophical realm but the political, social, and communication realms as well.  For communication, Juergen Habermas is best known for his work on Communicative Action.  The Theory of Communicative Action is a two volume work that studies the theories of rationality and Critical theory.  He analyzes communicative rationality and the rational potential built in to speech, as well as a theory of modern society and modernization.  Habermas defines rationality as, “how speaking and acting subjects acquire and use knowledge”.  Habermas believes that one should coordinate their action through language.  Fundamentally, the speaker will try to orient towards “reaching understanding”, which he calls the “inherent telos” of speech.  When speakers engage practically, they are engaging in communicative action.  A goal of communicative action is that the action is reasonable.  Rationality is in interpersonal linguistic communication (Bohman, 2007).