The Critique of Instrumental Reason from Weber to Habermas by Darrow Schecter

By Darrow Schecter

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"This excellent publication includes really insightful discussions of severe thought, Heidegger, Arendt and different theorists and opens up a really very important argument concerning the family among legality and legitimacy." —William Outhwaite, Chair of Sociology, Newcastle University

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C. B. Mohr, 1988, pp. 532–4. In this essay Weber analyses the transformation of the nineteenth-century élite political clubs into the mass political parties of the twentieth century, as well as the implications of this shift in terms of the public sphere and the possibilities of a rational mediation of private interests and political authority. The analysis prefigures the main themes in Habermas’ Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. These issues are also discussed in Wolfgang Schluchter, The Rise of Western Rationalism: The Rise of Max Weber’s Developmental History, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1981; in John Burrow, The Crisis of Reason: European Thought, 1848–1914, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2000; and in H.

In very broad lines one can see that in very different ways theorists such as Hegel, Lukács, Benjamin, Heidegger, Arendt, and others broadly subscribe to the first line, while others such as Luhmann subscribe to the second. Weber’s theory of charisma and Habermas’ theory of communication stake out somewhat ambiguous intermediate positions which define the starting-point and the conclusion of this book. Although they acknowledge the reality of systemic differentiation and social complexity, both thinkers also accept that genuine legitimacy requires more than political institutions based on procedural regularity supported by socio-economic policies oriented towards economic growth and fair distribution.

B. Mohr, 1988, pp. 532–4. In this essay Weber analyses the transformation of the nineteenth-century élite political clubs into the mass political parties of the twentieth century, as well as the implications of this shift in terms of the public sphere and the possibilities of a rational mediation of private interests and political authority. The analysis prefigures the main themes in Habermas’ Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. These issues are also discussed in Wolfgang Schluchter, The Rise of Western Rationalism: The Rise of Max Weber’s Developmental History, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1981; in John Burrow, The Crisis of Reason: European Thought, 1848–1914, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2000; and in H.

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