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978-0-226-79684-0 / 0226796841

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About the book:

Jacques Derrida and Jürgen Habermas have long represented opposite camps in contemporary thought. Derrida, who pioneered the intellectual style of inquiry known as deconstruction, ushered in the postmodern age with his dramatic critique of reason; Habermas, on the other hand, has consistently argued in defense of reason, modernity, and the legacy of the Enlightenment. Their many differences led to a long-standing, if scattered, dialogue, evidence of which has been available in only bits and pieces. But now, for the first time, The Derrida-Habermas Reader brings these pieces together, along with a collection of essays documenting the intellectual relationship between two of the twentieth centurys preeminent thinkers. 

Taken together, Derrida and Habermass writingscombined here with contributions by other prominent philosophers and social theoriststell the story of the two thinkers provocative engagement with each others ideas. Beyond exploring the conflict between Derridas deconstruction and Habermass communicative rationality, they show how the Derrida-Habermas encounter changed over the years, becoming more theoretically productive without ever collapsing into mutual rejection or simple compromise.

Lasse Thomassen has divided the essaysincluding works on philosophy and literature, ethics, politics, and international lawinto four parts that cover the full range of thought in which Derrida and Habermas engaged. The last of these sections fittingly includes the thinkers jointly signed work on European solidarity and the Iraq War, highlighting the hopes they held in common despite their differences. The wide breadth of this book, along with Thomassens lucid introductions to each section, makes The Derrida-Habermas Reader an ideal starting point for anyone interested in one of the most dynamic intellectual debates of our time.

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