The commitment to consider all individuals as potential participants in discourse presupposes a universalistic commitment to the potential equality, autonomy, and rationality of individuals. 1
Jürgen Habermas is the leading second generation figure of the Frankfurt School, a group of philosophers, social theorists and cultural critics who established the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt in 1929. Habermas taught philosophy at the Universities of Heidelberg and Frankfurt, before moving to the Max Planck Institute in 1972, and subsequently, from the mid 1980s, returning to his post as professor of philosophy and sociology at the University of Frankfurt.
Though a social theorist and philosopher rather than an educationist, Habermas has exerted a profound influence on education. His early work takes forward the project of the Frankfurt School of critical theory (e.g. Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse) in its critique of instrumental reason and positivism as being 'scientistic' (the belief that all worthwhile knowledge is only scientific knowledge (Habermas 1972, p.4) and 'technicist' (e.g. treating people and situations as means to an end), and in its expressed political intention of emancipating disempowered individuals and groups within an egalitarian society. Habermas' early work is an attempt to base a social