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Habermas, J. "Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns", trans. McCarthy, T. (1987) "The theory of communicative action: vol 2, lifeworld and system, a critique of functionalist reason", Polity, Cambridge

Analytical Table of Contents

Volume 1. Reason and the Rationalization of Society

Translator's introduction
Author's Preface

I. Introduction: Approaches to the Problem of Rationality

Preliminary Observations on the Concept of Rationality in Sociology

1. "Rationality" - A Preliminary Specification

A. The Critizability of Actions and Assertions
B. The Spectrum of Critizable Utterances
C. An Excursus on the Theory of Argumentation
Argumentation as Process, Proceedure, and Product - Internal vs. External Perspective - Forms and Fields of Argument - Validity Claims and Types of Argumentation

2. Some Characteristics of the Mythical and the Modern Ways of Understanding the World

A. Godelier's Account of the Structures of the Mythical Understanding of the World
B. The Differentiation of Object Domains vs. the Differentiation of Worlds
C. The Rationality Debates Sparked by Winch: Arguments for and against a Universalistic Position
D. The Decentration of Worldviews (Piaget): Provisional Introduction of the Concept of the Lifeworld

3. Relations to the World and Aspects of Rationality in Four Sociological Concepts of Action

A. Popper's Theory of the Three Worlds and Jarvie's Application of It to the Theory of Action
B. Three Concepts of Action Differentiated according to Their Actor-World Relations
(a) Teleological (Strategic) Action: Actor-Objective World
(b) Normatively Regulated Action: Actor-Social and Objective Worlds
(c) Dramaturgical Action: Actor-Subjective and -Objective Worlds (including social concepts)
C. Provisional Introduction of the Concept of Communicative Action
(a) Remarks on the Character of Independent Actions (Actions - Bodily Movements - Operations)
(b) Reflexive Relations to the World in Communicative Action

4. The Problem of Understanding Meaning in the Social Sciences

II. Max Weber's Theory of Rationalization

III. Intermediated Reflections: Social Action, Purposive Activity, and Communication

IV. From Lukacs to Adorno: Rationalization as Reification

Volume 2. Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason

Translator's Preface

V. The Paradigm Shift in Mead and Durkheim: From Purposive Activity to Communicative Action

1. The Foundations of Social Science in the Theory of Communication

A. The Question behind Mead's Theory of Communication
B. The Transition from Subhuman Interaction Mediated by Gestures to Symbolically Mediated Interaction: Taking the Attitude of the Other
C. Excursus: Using Wittegenstein's Concept of Following a Rule to Make Mead's Theory of Meaning More Precise
D. The Transition from Symbolically Mediatied to Normatively Guided Interaction (Role Behaviour)
E. The Complementary Construction of the Social and Subject Worlds
(a) Propositions and the Perception of Things
(b) Norms and Role Behaviour
(c) Identity and Need

2. The Authority of the Sacred and the Normative Background of Communiative Action

3. The Rational Structure of the Linguistification of the Sacred

VI. Intermediate Reflections: System and Lifeworld

1. The Concept of the Lifeworld and the Hermeneutic Idealism of Interpretive Sociology

2. The Uncoupling of System and Lifeworld

VII. Talcott Parsons: Problems in Constructing a Theory of Society

1. From a Normativistic Theory of Action to a Systems Theory of Society

2. The Development of Systems Theory

3. The Theory of Modernity

VIII. Concluding Reflections: From Parsons via Weber to Marx

1. A Backward Glance: Weber's Theory of Modernity

2. Marx and the Thesis of Internal Colonization

3. The Tasks of a Critical Theory of Society


Created 27/9/98
Modified 28/10/98