Problem of Critique: Triangulating Habermas, Derrida, and Gadamer within Metamodernism
Contemporary Political Theory, Vol. 4, p. 296
35 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2010
Date Written: 2005
This essay argues that Hans-Georg Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics, Jürgen Habermas’s communication theory, and Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction all fit together within one philosophical paradigm: metamodernism. Metamodernism, as defined, is opposed to both modernism and radical forms of postmodernism. Within metamodernism, a political conundrum provides the key clue for understanding the relations among Gadamer, Habermas, and Derrida as well as for elaborating the contours of the paradigm. Specifically, the political implications of the three philosophies are intransitive: they seem to shift around rather than being in fixed relations to each other. So, for instance, Gadamer sometimes seems to the political right of both Habermas and Derrida, but then, at different times, he stands between them, and then again, at other times, he seems to be to the left of both. This political paradox suggests that the traditional (modernist) political categories of liberalism and conservatism do not suitably reflect the critical positions within metamodernism. Gadamer, Habermas, and Derrida are far more concerned with explaining the possibility and techniques of interpretive and social critique, while remaining true to the metamodernist paradigm, rather than fitting themselves into the traditional liberal or conservative political camps.
Keywords: postmodernism, hermeneutics, philosophical hermeneutics, deconstruction, communication theory, Gadamer, Habermas, Derrida
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