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The Rorty-Habermas Debate
Toward Freedom as Responsibility
The Rorty-Habermas Debate
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Marcin Kilanowski - Author
SUNY series in American Philosophy and Cultural Thought
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 292 pages
Release Date: May 2021
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-8355-9

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Argues that out of the confrontation between Rorty and Habermas, we might be able to find a new way to think about the kind of politics we need today.

The Rorty-Habermas debate has been written on widely, but a full treatment of its importance had to wait until now. We have some historical distance from this exchange, which extended over three decades, and which touches upon the central concerns of numerous fields of study and of social organization. From law, to politics, to philosophy and communication theory, and including the basics of action, these two towering figures compare their forms of pragmatism. Marcin Kilanowski sets the debate in its historical and multilayered context, comparing it with criticism and commentary from his own viewpoint and from that of other important thinkers who observed and participated in the famous exchange. This book not only provides background in the history of philosophy for a general reader but also will be useful to those who need an abbreviated narrative and compendium of relevant sources for their own thinking and research. Kilanowski shows the points of convergence between Rorty and Habermas, and also examines the meaning of the outcome of their long exchange. Does the result get us any closer to a viable idea of freedom? Of responsibility? The book suggests some answers to these and other related questions.

“Kilanowski offers thorough introductions to Rorty and Habermas, accessible to scholars working outside philosophy. He then fully dispels the battling caricatures that have arisen, establishing roots and commonalities especially deriving from Dewey’s philosophical pragmatism. This book will be an enormous service to students and scholars who hope to learn from these philosophers without being specialists themselves, or even without being philosophers at all.” — David Estlund, Brown University

Marcin Kilanowski is Professor of Law at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Poland.

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Table of Contents

From the Author


1. Opening: First Comes Dewey

2. On Rorty’s Sociopolitical Thought

3. On Habermas’s Theory of Communicative Action

4. On the Convergence of the Perspectives of Rorty and Habermas

5. Postscript: From Dewey to Rorty and Habermas



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