The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures (Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought) Reprint Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0262581028
ISBN-10: 0262581027
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Destined to be the most widely discussed intervention into the increasingly heated controversy over the apparent transition from modernity to postmodernity, Habermas's latest major effort is certain to raise the level of the debate several notches.

(Martin Jay )

These lectures may provide the best entrance into Habermas's thought for non-specialists of any of his writings.

(Peter C. Hodgson Religious Studies Review)

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought
  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (March 14, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262581027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262581028
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Dale on December 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Though I am almost always disturbed by Habermas's borderline naivety concerning what he calls the "unfinished project of modernity," in this volume he rises to the heights I always thought him capable. In 400+ pages (a big book, but always just short enough on the essays to be concise and clear), Habermas shows his command of almost all post-Kantian philosophy. His criticisms are almost always on-target, and even though I do not follow his conclusions (has he read and dealt seriously with ALL of Heidegger? what does he do with metaphysics that are expressly anti-metaphysical, such as those of Bergson, Whitehead, and James?), I am always amazed at his insights and explanations. Interestingly enough, much of what Habermas is explicating (critique of foundations) has always been found in theoretical form in Gadamer, and in cosmological form in Whitehead. Habermas always seems to hold out hope that some sort of Rawlsian "original position" will be found (can Habermas really think that there could ever be such a thing as an "ideal speech situation," devoid of what Gadamer calls the Wirkungsgeschichte, or history which affects it?). For my part, I cannot accept this. Insofar as modernity wanted to find such a situation, it was guilty of what Whitehead called "misplaced concrescence." Habermas makes himself succeptible to the same criticisms. But even though I all too often find Habermas too optimistic in regards the quest of modernity, I am never disappointed when he writes about that quest. I believe this is one of Habermas's finest books, worth the time and effort required to read it.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is truly a masterpiece. Especially if you're somebody schooled in the incredibly repetitive and tedious Anglo-Saxon tradition, this book will surely be a revelation. You'll need some philosophical training to understand a lot of this, but if you want a brilliant, sweeping evaluation of most of the most important thinkers in Europe post-Kant, with just the perfect balance of detail and summary, and of exegesis and polemic, then this book is essential.
Habermas begins by showing how the discourse of modernity and postmodernity, the concepts that transmitted philosophy from the Humean/Kantian epistemologist's study to the real world, began with Hegel, and how it has been developed since then in different directions, but nobody has really risen to Marx's challenge successfully. Somebody who doesn't know Heidegger and Derrida too well may get the impression that they're not as important as they actually are, due to Habermas' necessarily selective treatment of their work, but other than that the way Habermas dissects the nature of modernity and postmodernity, and then shows how the future can still be hopeful with 'communicative rationality' rather than the solipsistic nature of pre-Habermasian philosophy which inevitably ends up in postmodern tangles, is brilliant.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By W. Donovan on September 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm an art history graduate student at Stony Brook, and I'm taking a course on Habermas and Aesthetics. We had to read the PDM, this review was written as a class assignment, and not specifically for amazon, so there are some references to the prof and one to a student who gave a presentation I quote.

The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, hereafter referred to as the PDM, is based on a series of public lectures given by Jürgen Habermas during the summer of 1983 and the winter 1983-1984 at the University of Frankfurt. There are twelve chapters in the PDM, each of which contains Habermas's description of a particular philosopher's, or grouping of philosophers', discourse(s) in regards to Modernity. Out of the twelve chapters, ten are based on the lectures from those two semesters from nineteen-eighty-three to nineteen-eighty-four at the University of Frankfurt, and two of the chapters are later additions which were added to the PDM after the lectures. The later additions are the fifth chapter, The Entwinement of Myth and Enlightenment: Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, and the last chapter, which is the twelfth chapter: The Normative Content of Modernity. The PDM was published in German in nineteen-eighty-five by Suhrkamp Verlag, and in English in nineteen-ninety by MIT Press.

In the first paragraph of the introduction to the PDM Thomas McCarthy writes that: "Habermas is concerned here to respond to the challenge of posed by the radical critique of reason...
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