Eric's Reviews > The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures

The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity by Jürgen Habermas
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's review
Oct 18, 2007

it was amazing
Read in September, 2009

The publisher's description of the book is inaccurate and does the book a disservice. This is not a critique of French philosophy, but a critique of the "philosophy of the subject" so en vogue and monolithic in French philosophy. Having said that, it originates in German philosophy, namely Nietzsche and Adorno who also come in from a critique from Habermas. Philosophy, he believes, has been led away from demonstrable conclusions into a morass of reflexive and reductionist rhetoric that ill serves the unprivileged classes from which it draws its raison d'être. Habermas wants to take the philosophical narrative down a different path from Hegel.

Whether his case for communicative action is the best solution to the problems of (now not quite) contemporary modernist philosophy, it's a fascinating critique of philosophical texts that have either been enthusiastically accepted or rejected and ridiculed outright out of discomfort or refusal to engage the text directly.

Some will reject the narrative that Habermas constructs in his genealogy of the philosophy of the subject, but his contribution to the discussion is invaluable. A couple of decades later, the zeitgeist seems to have largely to have shrugged at this literate attempt at debate (Derrida excepted). It's well worth a close read.
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10/14/2008 page 248
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