Jürgen Habermas


Jürgen Habermas : biography

1929-6-18 –

Habermas and Derrida

Habermas and Jacques Derrida engaged in a series of disputes beginning in the 1980s and culminating in a mutual understanding and friendship in the late 1990s that lasted until Derrida died in 2004.Derrida, J. "Honesty of Thought" in The Derrida-Habermas Reader ed. Thomassen L. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago Ill. Pp. 300-306. P.302 They originally came in contact when Habermas invited Derrida to speak at The University of Frankfurt in 1984. The next year Habermas published "Beyond a Temporalized Philosophy of Origins: Derrida" in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity in which he described Derrida’s method as being unable to provide a foundation for social critique.Thomassen, L. "Introduction: Between Deconstruction and Rational Reconstruction" in The Derrida-Habermas Reader ed. Thomassen L. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago Ill. Pp. 1-7. P.2 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".Derrida, J. "Is There a Philosophical Language?" in The Derrida-Habermas Reader ed. Thomassen L. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago Ill. Pp. 35-45. P.37 After Derrida’s final rebuttal in 1989 the two philosophers didn’t continue, but, as Derrida described it, groups in the academy "conducted a kind of ‘war’, in which we ourselves never took part, either personally or directly". Then at the end of the 1990s Habermas approached Derrida at a party held at a university in the United States where they were both lecturing. They then met at Paris over dinner, and afterwards have participated in many joint projects. In 2000 they held a joint seminar on problems of philosophy, right, ethics, and politics at the University of Frankfurt. In December 2000, in Paris, Habermas gave a lecture entitled "How to answer the ethical question?" at the Judeities. Questions for Jacques Derrida conference organized by Joseph Cohen and Raphael Zagury-Orly. Following the lecture by Habermas, both thinkers engaged in a very heated debate on Heidegger and the possibility of Ethics. The conference volume was published at the Editions Galilée (Paris) in 2002, and subsequently in English at Fordham University Press (2007). In the aftermath of 9/11, Derrida and Habermas laid out their individual opinions on 9/11 and the War on Terror in Giovanna Borradori’s Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida. In early 2003, both Habermas and Derrida were very active in opposing the coming Iraq War, and called for in a manifesto that later became the book Old Europe, New Europe, Core Europe for a tighter union of the states of the European Union in order to provide a power capable of opposing American foreign policy. Derrida wrote a foreword expressing his unqualified subscription to Habermas’s declaration of February 2003, "February 15, or, What Binds Europeans Together: Plea for a Common Foreign Policy, Beginning in Core Europe," in Old Europe, New Europe, Core Europe which was a reaction to the Bush administration demands upon European nations for support for the coming Iraq War.Habermas, J. and Derrida, J. "February 15, Or What Binds Europeans Together: A Plea for a Common Foreign Policy, beginning in the Core of Europe" in The Derrida-Habermas Reader ed. Thomassen L. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago Ill. Pp. 270-277. P.302 Habermas has offered further context for this declaration in an .

Dialogue with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

In early 2007, Ignatius Press published a dialogue between Habermas and Roman Catholic Pontiff Pope Benedict XVI, entitled The Dialectics of Secularization.

It addresses such important contemporary questions as these:

  • Is a public culture of reason and ordered liberty possible in our post-metaphysical age?
  • Is philosophy permanently cut adrift from its grounding in being and anthropology?
  • Does this decline of rationality signal an opportunity or a deep crisis for religion itself?