An opening essay by d'Entrèves sets out the main issues and orients the debate between Habermas and the postmodernists by identifying two different senses of responsibility: a responsibility to act versus a responsibility to otherness (an openness to difference, dissonance, and ambiguity). These are linked with two alternative understandings of the primary function of language: action-orienting versus world-disclosing. This is a fruitful way of looking at the issues that Habermas has raised in his attempt to resurrect and complete the project of Enlightenment.
Habermas's essay discusses the main themes of his book in the context of a critical engagement with neoconservative cultural and political trends. The main body of essays offer an interesting collection of points of view, for and against Habermas's position by philosophers, social scientists, intellectual historians, and literary critics.
Jan 9th, 2015
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