Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review of "Jürgen Habermas: Key Concepts"

At "Notre Dame Philosophical Review", David Ingram reviews "Jürgen Habermas: Key Concepts" (Acumen Press, 2011) edited by Barbara Fultner:

Review of "Jürgen Habermas: Key Concepts"

"Anyone who has read Habermas knows how daunting his writing can be. Aside from the notorious density and abstractness of his prose, there is the challenge posed by the sheer scope of his undertaking. Quite simply, he stands out among our great contemporary thinkers for having dared to write a system of philosophy that crosses both disciplinary and thematic boundaries. In addition to this challenge, his thought has undergone several major permutations and countless minor ones over the past half century, as evidenced by the thirty some odd books and collections he has authored.

So we are truly fortunate that Acumen chose to include a book on Habermas in its exceptional Key Concepts series. These volumes are designed to provide synoptic introductions to important thinkers. This volume, edited by the well-known Habermas translator and scholar, Barbara Fultner, is a fine addition to the series. The essays included in this volume are written by eminent specialists in their respective fields, many of whom studied with Habermas. They are uniformly of high quality, and most are written at a level that upper-division undergraduates should find accessible. Furthermore, although most of them present a sympathetic case for Habermas's ambitious undertaking, they do not shy away from noting potential weaknesses. In short, this is about as complete an account of Habermas's social philosophy as one might possibly expect from a modestly sized volume.

(....) this volume will likely remain a standard source for students of Habermas, who will appreciate its overall evenhandedness and comprehensiveness."

David Ingram is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. He is the author of "Habermas and the Dialectic of Reason" (Yale University Press, 1989) and "Habermas - Introduction and Analysis" (Cornell University Press, 2010).

Thanks to Ali Rizvi for the pointer.

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