Habermas: Reigniting enlightenment reason

Jeff B. Murray*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Jürgen Habermas was born in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1929. He is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading intellectuals. A sociologist and philosopher by training, Habermas leads the second generation of critical theorists, picking up where the Frankfurt School left off. In a 1981 article published in the New German Critique entitled Modernity versus Postmodernity , Habermas asks the question that drives his theoretical agenda: “Should we try to hold on to the intentions of the enlightenment, feeble as they may be, or should we declare the entire project of modernity a lost cause?” (p. 9). Later in the article, Habermas states, “The project of modernity has not yet been fulfi lled” (p. 12). Note that Habermas refers to enlightenment reason and modernity as a project . Enlightenment reason has emancipatory potential, promoting a deeper understanding of the world and of the self, moral progress, the justice of institutions, and even the happiness of human beings (Habermas 1981). Yet, the 20th century has shattered this optimism. So here is the question: can the potential of enlightenment reason be reignited?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCanonical Authors in Consumption Theory
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781315626093
ISBN (Print)9781138648968
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2017
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


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