Article 2 of the Constitution of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation reads as follows: Within the context of the cultural traditions of Europe in general and the ideas of Erasmus in particular, the aim of the Foundation is to enhance the position of the humanities, social sciences and the arts. The emphasis is on tolerance, cultural pluralism and non-dogmatic, critical thinking. The Foundation tries to achieve this aim through the award of prizes and by other means. A money prize is awarded under the name of Erasmus Prize.
In accordance with this article, the Board of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation has decided to award the Erasmus Prize for the year 2013 to professor Jürgen Habermas.
The Prize is awarded to him on the following grounds:
Jürgen Habermas’ viewpoints on socio-political events are rooted in his life-long theoretical work on the public sphere and human communication. He asks critical questions, like most philosophers do, but also gives answers. In these answers he has always emphasized the importance of dialogue for a democratic society in which he argues human dignity should be the prime value.
Sharp in his analysis of political events in Europe, Habermas criticizes political elites for their opportunistic thinking. He pleads for political solidarity and long-term thinking, and takes a firm and positive stand in the debate on a more far-reaching European integration.
Jürgen Habermas is one of the most influential scholars and public intellectuals, in areas cutting across sociology, politics and philosophy. Both in writing and in practice, he has demonstrated a worldview, according to which rational debate among equal individuals is the basis for a civilized, humane and democratic world.
He is a cosmopolitan citizen in the true Erasmian sense.