Review by Choice Review
Author of The Recent Work of J"urgen Habermas (CH, Oct'88) and Political Theory and Postmodernism (CH, Apr'92), White has compiled here an excellent set of essays, especially on Habermas's most recent reflections on discourse theory. Following White's very helpful introductory essay sketching the scope of this volume are three contextualizing essays on, respectively, Habermas's relation to Adorno (R. Coles), to Marx (N. Love), and to German political culture, especially since reunification (M. Pensky). Three essays in part 3, by J. Dryzek, G. Warne, and J.D. Moon, explore the relation between Habermas's attempts to clarify "communicative rationality" and the social sciences and ethical theory. The three essays in part 4, by M. Warren, K. Baynes, and S. Chambers, are on "discursive democracy," or how Habermas's discursive ethics based on communicative rationality does and does not help political theorists make sense of specific democratic practices. Two essays on Habermas's attempts to defend and rehabilitate "modernity" and the Enlightenment against postmodernist critics conclude the volume. For philosophers, the unique strength of this collection is that eight of these 13 writers are political scientists with excellent training in political theory. This viewpoint is especially helpful with such later works by Habermas as Factizitaet und Geltung. Highly recommended for collections in philosophy and political theory. Upper-division undergraduate; graduate; faculty. R. M. Stewart; Austin College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.