Jürgen Habermas on Agreement - Dictionary of Arguments
Understanding/agreement/Habermas: in the context of an action theory, understanding cannot be characterized by psychological terms. It is also not about empirically characterized behavioral dispositions but about the capturing of general structures of communication processes from which conditions of participation can be derived.
It is not about the predicates that an observer uses when writing communication processes, but about the pre-theoretical knowledge of competent speakers who themselves can intuitively distinguish when they interact with others and when they communicate with them. The speakers also know when communication attempts fail. It is about finding standards for these distinctions.
Although communication is considered to have come about through language, those involved can also feel one in a way that makes it difficult to ascribe a propositional content. Such a collective equality of opinion does not fulfil the conditions of a communicative agreement. Thanks to its linguistic structure, understanding cannot be induced solely by external influence; it must be accepted as valid by those involved. In this respect, understanding differs from mere factual agreement.
An agreement achieved through communication has a rational basis. It cannot be imposed by success-calculated influence. Agreement may be objectively enforced, but what comes evidently about through external influence or violence cannot subjectively count as agreement. Agreement is based on common convictions. All those involved base their decisions on potential reasons.
Without reference to language or the model of speech, communication cannot be analysed. However, language and communication do not relate to each other like means and purposes. But we can only explain the concept of communication if we state what it means to use sentences with communicative intent.
Since acts of speech are not always teleological, it must be possible to clarify the structures of linguistic communication even without reference to structures of the purpose activity. What we mean by understanding must be clarified solely on the basis of illocutionary acts - acts that are dealt with but do not always have an effect. ((s) This makes it possible to speak at all of attempts of communication, even if they fail.)
Understanding/communicative action/Habermas: if the listener accepts an offer of a speech act, an agreement can be reached between a subject capable of speaking and a subject capable of acting. However, this is not based solely on the intersubjective recognition of a single
thematically highlighted claim to validity. Rather, agreement is achieved simultaneously at three levels: via a) an act of speaking correctly in the normative context, b) a true statement, c) a truly expressed opinion, intention, feeling or conviction._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Der philosophische Diskurs der Moderne Frankfurt 1988
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. I Frankfurt/M. 1981
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. II Frankfurt/M. 1981