You are here:  HomeWriting Out Loud › Toward a Rational Society

Toward a Rational Society

In Toward a Rational Society, the Frankfurt School theorist Jürgen Habermas argues that modern societies are increasingly characterized by a tension between technology and the social life-world. As you read the excerpt, think about how Habermas explains this tension and what he thinks needs to be done to fix the problem. Then, answer the following questions.


1. For Habermas, what are the key differences between the spheres of technology and the social life-world? Which sphere does he argue is most important for developing a truly rational society and why?

2. Why is Habermas so critical of the path technical progress has taken in contemporary industrial societies? Is Habermas anti-technology?

3. Habermas argues against the idea that technology/technical progress on its own can help improve society. Do you agree with his assessment? Support your argument with a concrete example of a major technological advance (such as nuclear power, the printing press, the automobile, the Internet, etc.).

Please login to complete these activities