Philosophers Jürgen Habermas and Charles Taylor receive top US award | Arts | DW | 29.09.2015
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Philosophers Jürgen Habermas and Charles Taylor receive top US award

He's been called the conscience of a country. Now German philosopher Jürgen Habermas is set to collect the prestigious Kluge Prize in Washington DC, won jointly with Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor.

They are considered two of the greatest intellectual voices of our time. On Tuesday (29.09.2015) that widely held opinion will be formalized in the US capital as the German and Canadian philosophers officially collect their joint Kluge Prize, sharing the $1.5 million award (1.35 million euro).

Jürgen Habermas achieved worldwide recognition for his unique analysis of advanced capitalistic societies, explored in his first significant work, "The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere."

Born on June 18, 1929, in Dusseldorf, Habermas is known for his public statements on controversial political and social matters, and has been a vocal critic of what he calls the "toxic" deal for Greece regarding its debt crisis - recently telling "The Guardian Newspaper" that Chancellor Angela Merkel risked "gambling away" Germany's hard won post-war reputation as a good global citizen. His works have been translated into more than 40 languages.

Habermas shares the award with the Canadian philosopher, widely regarded for his work in political philosophy. Taylor was born in Montreal in 1931, and has authored more than 20 books and 500 articles on a range of philosophical themes. One of his most acclaimed books was his 1975 work "Hegel," in defense of the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

The Kluge Prize is awarded by the US Library of Congress for lifetime achievement in the study of humanity, and is the largest award of its kind - sometimes referred to as the Nobel Prize of conscience. The award was inaugurated in 2003, and past winners have included philosopher Leszek Kolakowski, and historians Yu Ying-shin and Romila Thapar.

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