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Already by the mid-1980s, Habermas supposed that our utopian energies had been used up. Today, when a neo-liberal ‘realism’ seems to be a virtually dominant ideology, the climate appears, if anything, yet more hostile to radical hopes. Even while he recognises the obstacles and is clear that we might never succeed in breaking through the ‘Gordian knot’, Habermas is not prepared to surrender to a proclaimed ‘end of politics’. This paper traces some of the ways in which his recent works theorise and attempt to balance twin legacies of a critical theory tradition. Habermas wants to mediate the radicalness of vision required by a critical theory with the perceived reasonableness of its standpoint that is also necessary if theory is to engage concrete actors. Many of his critics suppose that Habermas has not achieved the right balance and that his interest in the self-reforming potentials of liberal democracies weights reasonableness too highly. The following paper sets out to defend Habermas from some of these charges. However, ultimately it finds that his theory has identified the needs for autonomy that it seeks to critically connect up with too narrowly. This means that, to some extent, Habermas’ critical theory continues to ‘miss its mark’.

In: Critique Today
In: Critical Theory After Habermas
Completed shortly before her death in 2019, Tragedy and Philosophy is the sum of Agnes Heller’s reflections on European history and culture, seen through the prism of Europe’s two unique literary creations: tragedy and philosophy. Part 1 traces their parallel history from ancient Athens to rebirth in early modern London and Paris. Part 2 explores the interactions between post-metaphysical philosophy and post-tragic drama from the eighteenth through to the twentieth centuries. Heller’s perspective is post-Hegelian: the story of European culture can only be told from its end, the generalization of modernity across the globe. In this sense Part 3 is Heller’s farewell to the grand narrative of European history and culture as well as her own personal farewell to philosophy.
In: Tragedy and Philosophy. A Parallel History
In: Tragedy and Philosophy. A Parallel History
In: Tragedy and Philosophy. A Parallel History
In: Tragedy and Philosophy. A Parallel History