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Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication

With a Foreword by Richard J. Bernstein and an Afterword by John Durham Peters

Edited By Jason Hannan

Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication is the first book to draw systematic attention to the theme of communication in twentieth-century academic philosophy. It covers a broad range of philosophical perspectives on communication, including those from analytic philosophy, pragmatism, critical theory, phenomenology, hermeneutics, feminism, psychoanalysis, systems theory, and more. What emerges is a vital, long-neglected story about the theme of communication in late modern academic philosophy. Each chapter features a «profile» of a particular philosophical figure, with a brief intellectual biography, an overview of that figure’s contribution to communication theory, and a critical assessment of the significance of that contribution. The clear and accessible organization of the volume makes it ideal for courses in both philosophy and communication studies.

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15 Niklas Luhmann: Society as a System of Communication HANS-GEORG MOELLER 367

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15 Niklas Luhmann Society as a System of Communication HANS-GEORG MOELLER ________________________________________ Biography Life and Work Niklas Luhmann was born on December 8, 1927, in Lüneburg, Germany, a small city to the southeast of Hamburg.1 His father owned a brewery and was a member of the local business community. Luhmann spent his childhood in the “Nazi environment”2 and, as it was practically mandatory at this time, became a member of the Hitler-Jugend, the fascist youth organization, at an early age. He recalled this experience as rather unpleasant because of all the marching and greeting he had to do. At the age of fifteen, he had to undergo military training as an air force assistant. At the end of 1944, he was conscripted as a front soldier and soon became a prisoner of war (POW) of the American forces. He was released shortly after, however, because he was not yet eighteen years of age. After the Second World War, Luhmann studied law, one of the reasons for him being the violations of the Geneva Convention he had witnessed dur- ing his time as a POW (he had been beaten, and some of his fellow POWs who were older than eighteen had been sent to work in French mines). He studied at the University in Freiburg, focusing on the history of Roman law, and obtained his first degree in 1949, followed by an internship with a law- yer in his hometown. Unsatisfied with this line of work, he took on a...

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