The Derrida-Habermas Reader Lasse Thomassen
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
In an effort to address my ignorance about everything, I picked up a Habermas/Derrida reader. One cannot reason introspectively and expect to reach conclusions that are fair and universalisable. Derrida, citing Habermas as an example, remarked that, "those who have accused me of reducing philosophy to literature or logic to rhetoric have visibly and carefully avoided reading me". At the time, most of the German students, who were in perpetual occupation of some area of the Rostlaube, were reading Derrida or Foucault in autonomous seminars. And Circumvention from Essays on Heidegger and Others (come to think of it I guess the whole book is relevant) and Habermans, Derrida and the Functions of Philosohpy from the Derrida-Habermas Reader. Ronald Habermas is professor of biblical studies and Christian formation at John Brown University and a member of the North American Professors of Christian Education. Derrida's, on the other hand, takes the reader on a long, winding and unpredictable road. After reading Habermas, it seems almost too clear that it is in the intersubjective realm that the best answers can be found. Michael Wilkinson finds that although Breen's book serves as a prelude to this broader project rather than its fulfillment, it is nonetheless a tantalising one which leaves the reader itching for more. As mentioned in class, next week we will be reading Habermas's The Structurual Transformation of the Public Sphere. Lasse Thomassen (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006). Characteristically, Habermas's dialogue is dense, compact and elegantly traditional. The results will surprise many readers. Derrida published three books in 1967-Speech and Phenomena; Of Grammatology; and Writing and Difference, which outline the deconstructive approach to reading texts. It behoves upon us to read Derrida as he would have read Derrida if he were not Derrida. For an excellent primer on the interchange between Derrida and Jürgen Habermas in this context, see The Derrida-Habermas Reader, ed.