The back and forth between Habermas and postmodernism

Francesco Rizzi Brignoli 1
  • 1 University of Bologna,


This paper aims to investigate the dialogue between some postmodern thinkers (mostly Lyotard, Rorty and Vattimo) and Habermas’ criticism in light of a different conception of dialogue itself. Therefore, we shall first give an account of how Habermas establishes his neomodern discourse (1985) in a very close dialogue with the key concepts of postmodernism: the subject and its social role, language and the concept of philosophical truth and the postmodernist view of history (, , , ; ; ). Secondly, dialogue will be addressed as a structural difference between Habermas’ universal normative ethic of discourse (together with Karl-Otto Apel, 1983) and the postmodern local and linguistic pluralism, emancipated from any metaphysical ratio. In the end, it will be argued that philosophy ought to be dialogical in line with Habermas’ view, within the foundation and normativity of dialogue. Postmodernist dialogue in philosophy and in society displays instead many shortcomings if understood as a pluralist linguistic game of interpretation.

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