Communication, Democratization, and Modernity – critical reflections on Habermas and Dewey

Alone among Frankfurt School critical theorists, Habermas has critically appropriated pragmatist motifs. Although the Habermas-Dewey connection has been generally neglected, significant similarities as well as important differences appear in their work. Both theorists share, with Aristotle, Mead, Gadamer, and other dialogical thinkers, the view that human beings are primarily speaking and socially interacting creatures. Dewey asserted that society exists “by… and in communication,” praising it as “the most wonderful” of all activities “by the side of which transubstantiation pales“. For Habermas, too, communication is a central life activity and the fulcrum of his critical theory: “The utopian perspective of reconciliation and freedom is ingrained in the conditions of communicative sociation of individuals“.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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