Habermas' theories have greatly contributed to the evolution of modern social sciences, the Hans Ringier Foundation, patrons of the €50,000 ($75,000) prize, said. A speech detailing the Düsseldorf native's achievements was held by German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
The philosopher, born in 1929, is best known for his work on the concept of the public sphere – the topic of his first book – and for his commitment to teaching at universities all over the world.
It is the third year that the prize has been awarded. Previous recipients are Serbian President Boris Tadic, and the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker.