ISBN 9789350027912
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ISBN 9789350027912


This is the first book to consider the debate between two of the most prominent philosophers and social theorists of the 20th century: Jacques Derrida and Jürgen Habermas.This book presents a unique collection of articles by the two figures and by those who have written about them, and includes pieces published in English for the first time.The book will be of interest to students and scholars with an interest in the implications of Derrida’s deconstruction and Habermas’s critical theory for issues such as international relations, Europe, tolerance, rights, multiculturalism and identity politics, and the nature of philosophy.

Including an introduction to the differences and affinities between Derrida’s and Habermas’s works, introductions to each text, suggestions for further reading, and a bibliography, this book is the ideal starting point for students and scholars wishing to understand the relationship between these two great thinkers.

Lasse Thomassen is Senior Lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the author of Deconstructing Habermas (Routledge, 2007) and Habermas: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum, 2010), and the co-editor of Radical Democracy: Politics between Abundance and Lack (Manchester University Press, 2005) and the editor of The Derrida-Habermas Reader (Edinburgh University Press, 2006).


This is a most welcome volume. It provides the reader not only with an wonderful overview of the deep philosophical differences that divide Derrida and Habermas, but also with some sense of their common hopes as Europeans and cosmopolitan citizens. The excellent selection of primary texts is supported by a small number of well-chosen commentaries on the two thinkers. – Stephen K. White, James Hart Professor of Politics, University of Virginia

Under the editorship of Lasse Thomassen, the volume collects some of the most interesting and wide-ranging contributions to the Derrida-Habermas discussion… all of the essays assembled in The Derrida-Habermas Reader are significant contributions to a rich and vibrant dialogue inaugurated by two of the most prominent philosophers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Scholars and students of Derrida and Habermas are well counseled to grant them careful consideration.- Richard Ganis, University of Salford, Radical Philosophy

The belated rapprochement between Derrida and Habermas after decades of cross-purpose exchange is one of the most important and heartening events in recent intellectual history. This exceptionally well-edited volume brings together a range of representative texts which show how their earlier disagreements took hold but also how they came to acknowledge a sense of shared aims and interests. Above all it demonstrates the extent to which their thinking was challenged and subject to careful re-assessment on both sides in response to world-political developments following 9/11, the resurgence of religious fundamentalism in various forms, and the Bush administration’s ‘war on terrorism’. Along with these texts by the main protagonists goes a fine selection of commentaries on various aspects of the Derrida/Habermas relationship, drawing out their points of convergence and divergence on some of the most pressing political and ethical issues of our age. Altogether they make a fitting tribute to two figures who have done much to reinvigorate the tradition of philosophy as socially engaged while remaining true to its distinctive vocation of autonomous critical thought. That their dialogue should have been cut short by Derrida’s untimely death is a cruel irony but all the more reason to value this immensely significant and thought-provoking volume.-Professor Christopher Norris, Cardiff University


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