Columbia University Press (2021)

Fifty years ago, the two leading German philosophers and sociologists since the Second World War, Jürgen Habermas and Niklas Luhmann, embarked on a sweeping and contentious debate that would continue for decades. Their coauthored 1971 book Theory of Society or Social Technology laid out their opposing positions on meaning, communication, consensus, and dissent—and ultimately the foundations of modern social thought. Habermas and Luhmann would elaborate their disagreement in the years to come in a controversy whose aftershocks divided social theorists by presenting what appeared to be two fundamentally divergent views of the nature of society and what systems theory was capable of explaining. This is the first book in English about one of the most important conflicts in social theory today. Gorm Harste analyzes the Habermas-Luhmann debate from its inception through Habermas’s most recent works, exploring issues such as methodology, ideology, truth, history, and politics. He contextualizes their positions in terms of how each grappled with the legacy of Nazism and sought to provide grounding for an antitotalitarian politics. Harste follows the evolution of the debate, as the fundamental dispute over the normative and practical desirability of agreement and disagreement came to touch upon political questions including the rule of law, the separation of powers, human rights, individualization, and secularization. Ultimately, Harste emphasizes the convergence between Habermas and Luhmann—and the pressing need for social theorists to further unite these two formative accounts of contemporary society.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy this book $111.21 new (23% off)   $127.71 used (12% off)   $132.41 from Amazon (9% off)   Amazon page
ISBN(s) 9780231550079   0231159145   0231159153   0231550073
DOI 10.7312/hars15914
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,703
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
Chapters BETA

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Habermas contra el hiperracionalismo: apuntes del debate Habermas-Luhmann a propósito del tópico marxista de la ideología.Enrique Sotomayor - 2014 - Estudios de Filosofía: Revista del Seminaro de Filosofia del instituto Riva-Aguero 12:108-131.
Art as a Social System: The Sociological Aesthetics of Niklas Luhmann.Matthew Rampley - 2009 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 2009 (148):111-140.


Added to PP index

Total views
1 ( #1,516,358 of 2,462,500 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,311 of 2,462,500 )

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes