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Jürgen Habermas – Biographic Notes

by Thomas Gregersen

1929    Born June 18 in Düsserdorf, Germany
            Mother: Grete Habermas (1894-1983)
            Father: Ernest Habermas (1891-1972)
            Brother: Hans-Joachim Habermas (1925- )
            Sister: Anja Habermas (1937- )

1929-48  Brought up in Gummersbach, where his father was director
              of the Bureau of Trade and Industry

1944    Member of the Hitler Youth

1949-54  Student at universities in Göttingen (1949/50), Zurich (1950/51)
              and Bonn (1951-54)

1953    Writes a famous article, which criticizes Martin Heidegger’s
            Nazi affiliation 

1954    Ph.D. dissertation on Schelling, Bonn University

1954-56  Free-lance journalist at various daily and weekly newspapers

1955    Reads Max Horkheimer & Theodor Adorno’s Dialektik der

            Marries Ute Wesselhoeft

1956-61  Residence in Frankfurt am Main

1956-59  Assistant for Theodor W. Adorno, Institute for Social
              Research, Frankfurt

1956    First child: Tilmann Habermas

1957-58  Active participation in the antinuclear movement

1959    Becomes an active member of the social democratic student
            Departure from Institute for Social Research after
            criticism from its director, Max Horkheimer
            Second child: Rebekka Habermas

1961    Habilitation at Marburg University (with Wolfgang
            Abendroth):”Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit”
            Associate professor at Marburg University

1962    Professor of philosophy at Heidelberg University
            (aften recommentations from Hans-Georg Gadamer)

            Critique of positivism

1964    Professor of philosophy and sociology, Institute for Social
            Research, Frankfurt (succeeds Max Horkheimer)

1964-71  Residence in Steinbach am Taunus, Hessen

1965    First study visit to the USA

1966    Conference on the Vietnam War (with Herbert Marcuse),

1967    Warns the student movement against ”Left Fascism”
            (Rudi Dutschke)
            Third child: Judith Habermas

1968    "Erkenntnis und Interesse"

1970    Essays on hermeneutic and philosophy of language
            (Habermas’ ”linguistic turn”)

1971    Departure from Goethe University, Frankfurt, in wake of
            servere criticism from the Marxist student movement
            The Christian Gauss Lectures, Princeton University
            Debates with Niklas Luhmann on systems theory

1971-81  Director for Max Plack Institute, Starnberg
            (with Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker)

1971-    Residence in Starnberg, Bayern

1973    "Legitimationsprobleme im Spätkapitalismus"

1974    Hegel Prize, Stuttgart

            ESsays on theories of social evolution

1975-82  Honorary philosophy professorship at Goethe University, Frankfurt

1977    Critique of ”Beruftsverbot” and the authoritarian response
            to terrorism (”The German Autumn”)

1980    Critique of postmodernism and neo-conservatism
            Adorno-prize, Frankfurt

1981    "Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns"

1983    Professor at Philosophy Department, Goethe University,
            Essays on moral theory (discourse ethic)

1983-94  Residence in Frankfurt

1984    Speech in the Spanish Parliament on the crisis of the
            welfare state

            Discussion group in Frankfurt with Joscha Fischer et.al.

1985    "Der philosophische Diskurs der Moderne"

1986    Tanner Lectures on Human Values, University of Utah
            ”The Historian’s Debate” in Germany

1987    Sonning Prize, Copenhagen, Denmark (Lecture on

            Essays on post-metaphysical thinking

1990    Critique of ”DM-nationalism”

1992    "Faktizität und Geltung" on theory of law and democracy

1994    Official retirement

1994-    Guest professor at Northwestern University, USA (fall courses)

1995    Discussion with John Rawls on political liberalism
            Karl Jaspers Prize

1996    Lectures in Hong Kong and South Korea

            Essays on globalization, the European Community and
            on human rights
1998    Discussion with Gerhard Schröder, Berlin

            Debate over genetic engineering, and freedom of the will

1999    The liberal Theodor Heuss Prize, Stuttgart

2001    Frankfurt Book Fair Peace Prize
            Visit to China (lecture on human rights)

            Essays on bioethics and on religion
            Appeals for an European Constitution
            Critique of the invasion in Iraq

2002    Lectures in Iran on secularization

2003    Essays on Europe after the Iraq war (with Jacques Derrida)

2004    Koyoto prize, Japan

2005    Discussion with Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
            on religion
            Holberg prize, Bergen, Norway

2006    Lectures and essays on religion in the public sphere
            Bruno Kreisky Award
2008    Debate on the crisis of the EU

2009    Visiting professor at Stony Brook University, New York

2010-    Debate on the crisis of the EU

2010      Ulysses Medal, Dublin

2012      Further essays on post-metaphysical thinking
              Heinrich Heine Prize, Düsseldorf
2013      Easmus Prize, Amsterdam

2015      The John W. Kluge Prize, Washington DC

2017      Discussion with Emmanuel Macron

2018      The German-French Journalists Prize

2019      "Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie"

Further information:

1. Stefan Müller-Doohm - Jürgen Habermas. Eine Biographie
    (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2014). English edition 2016.

2. Martin Beck Matustik - Jürgen Habermas. A Philosophical-Political Profile
    (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001)

3. Rolf Wiggershaus - Jürgen Habermas (Rowohlt, 2004)

4. Mattias Iser & David Strecker - Jürgen Habermas zur Einführung (Junius, 2010)

5. Peter Dews (ed.) - Habermas: Autonomy & Solidarity. Interviews with Jürgen Habermas
    (Verso, 1986)

6. Jürgen Habermas - ”Öffentlicher Raum und politische Öffentlichkeit”, in
    Habermas – Zwischen Naturalismus und Religion (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2005) pp. 15-26

7. Amy Allen & Eduardo Mendieta (eds.) - The Cambridge Habermas Lexicon (Cambridge University Press, 2019)