Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Habermas IV 320
Double contingency/Parsons/Habermas: (1) Since the regulating power of cultural values does not affect the contingency of decisions, any interaction between two actors who enter into a relationship is subject to the condition of "double contingency": this has the role of a problem-causing fact: it makes regulatory services functionally necessary. In the logical structure of interaction, the double contingency of the freedom of choice of ego and alter takes precedence over the order mechanisms that coordinate action. At the analytical level of the unit of action, the value standards of individual actors are attributed as subjective possession:
Habermas IV 321
They therefore require inter-subjective coordination. The element of value orientation is merely intended to exclude the assumption of contingent processes of purpose setting and prevent the autonomy of determining purpose being withdrawn in favour of a rationalist or positivist alignment of action orientations to determinants of the situation.
Habermas IV 392
Double Contingency/Parsons/Habermas: in communicative action, double contingency results from the fact that each interaction participant can both raise (and refrain) and accept (and reject) fundamentally criticizable claims; he/she makes his/her decisions on condition that this also applies to the other interaction participants. Double contingent understanding is based on the interpretation of actors who, as long as they are not self-centred towards their own success, but oriented towards understanding, and want to achieve their respective goals through communicative agreement, must strive to reach a common definition of the situation.
Habermas: Actions can only be coordinated through linguistic consensus formation if everyday communicative practice is embedded in a context of everyday life that is determined by cultural traditions, institutional orders and competencies. The performance of interpretation draws on these resources of the world.
Habermas IV 393
Problem: The effort of communication and the risk of dissent are awake to the extent that the actors can no longer fall back on such an advance of consensus in the lifeworld. The more they have to rely on their own interpretation, consent will depend on the intersubjective recognition of criticizable claims to validity.
Solution/Parsons: Language as an information medium, especially as a coordination mechanism for well-written contexts. (2)


1.Talcott Parsons, The Social System, Glencoe 1951, S. 36
2. R.C. Baum, On Societal Media Dynamics in: ders. “Introduction to Generalized Media in Action, in: Festschrift Parsons (1976), Vol. II S. 448ff.


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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.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

ParCh I
Ch. Parsons
Philosophy of Mathematics in the Twentieth Century: Selected Essays Cambridge 2014

ParTa I
T. Parsons
The Structure of Social Action, Vol. 1 1967

ParTe I
Ter. Parsons
Indeterminate Identity: Metaphysics and Semantics 2000

Ha I
J. Habermas
Der philosophische Diskurs der Moderne Frankfurt 1988

Ha III
Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. I Frankfurt/M. 1981

Ha IV
Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. II Frankfurt/M. 1981


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-06-18
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