What I’m Reading

The Habermas/Luhmann debate and subsequent Habermasian perspectives on systems theory

Abstract

The Habermas/Luhmann debate centers on two questions. One is theoretical and one ethical. The theoretical question is: Can social processes be explained in primarily systemic terms? The ethical question is: What does reliance upon systems theory do to an advanced industrial society? Since the original debate, Habermas has developed an evolutionary architectonic that accords a role to systems theory. He continues, however, to voice objections and reservations about systems theory and Luhmann in particular. His criticisms need to be seen in their narrow context and brought into general conversation with the wide sweep of contemporary systems thinking.

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