Habermas, Modernity and Postmodernism; A Philosophical Inquiry

  • F Merawi


The modern/postmodern debate is usually presented as one of  universality vs. relativism, rationalism vs. irrationalism and emancipation vs. deconstruction. This article tries to critically expose and critique Habermas’s discussion of postmodernism as a way of highlighting some of the limitations of this lively discussion. This is to be accomplished through a conceptual analysis of Habermas’s defense of modernity against the postmodernism of Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault as elaborated in Habermas’s work The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. Through such an analysis, I will argue for the following points. (1) Habermas’s discourse of modernity provides better accounts of responsibility and emancipation compared to the postmodernism of Derrida and Foucault. (2) Still,  Habermas’s discourse of modernity fails to fully address asymmetrical power relations and (3)  Habermas’s modernity is Eurocentric in failing to fully deconstruct the Eurocentric tendencies of the philosophical tradition of which it’s a part.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2305-3372
print ISSN: 2226-7522