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La filosofía del sujeto y la sociología del conocimiento en las teorías de Jürgen Habermas y Niklas Luhmann

Author(s): Sánchez Flores, Mónica Judith

Journal: Confines de relaciones internacionales y ciencia política
ISSN 1870-3569

Volume: 3;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 87;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: Philosophy of the subject | meaning phenomenology | sociology of knowledge | functionalism | autopoiesis | social systems | critical school | communicative action.

In this article I show that, in spite of essential differences between Habermas and Luhmann with respect to the philosophy of the subject, they both depend on the modern idea of the individual self to pose their theories of meaning (Habermas 1989 and 1990, Luhmann 1998). Habermas and Luhmann belong to divergent theoretical schools (critical and functionalist respectively) and yet they both use essential lessons about language from the German “sciences of the spirit” (Geisteswissenschaften); the phenomenological perspective and the sociology of knowledge. Even though their positions on the value of the modern individual self are opposed, the latter is an essential element in the theoretical perspectives of both sociologists: Habermas describes the individual subject as a linguistically competent, rational, and critical entity; while Luhmann rejects this anthropocentric conception outright and contemplates society as a set of systems oriented towards their own functionality. Luhmann produces a very useful sociological perspective, but rhetorically rejects the substantive aspect of the philosophy of the subject without recognizing that his perspective depends on the consciousness of the subject that he rejects at the same time. In the light of this dilemma I argue that it is necessary to remember essential lessons from Max Weber’s methodology of the social sciences.

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