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Deconstruction and Pragmatism

Deconstruction and pragmatism constitute two of the major intellectual influences on the contemporary philosophy/literary theory scene, influences personified in the work of Jacques Derrida and Richard Rorty. Both Rortian pragmatism, which draws the consequences of post-war developments in Anglo-American philosophy, and Derridian deconstruction, which extends and troubles the phonomenological and Heideggerian influence on the continental tradition, have hitherto generally been viewed as mutually exclusive philosophical language games. The purpose of this volume is to bring deconstruction and pragmatism into critical confrontation with one another through staging a debate between Derrida and Rorty, itself based on discussions that took place at the "College International de Philosophie" in Paris in 1993. The ground for this debate is layed out in introductory papers by Simon Critchley and Ernesto Laclau, and the remainder of the volume records Derrida's and Rorty's responses to each other's work. Chantal Mouffe gives an overview of the stakes of this debate in a helpful preface.
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"Chantal Mouffe should be commended for her work in putting this excellent collection of essays together. It offers a serious challenge to rationalist conceptions of democracy and also gives readers a good idea of the conflicts and convergences between the deconstructionist and pragmatist approaches to politics." -"American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly "In recent years there have been some striking convergences between Pragmatism and Deconstruction. But there are also significant ways in which these philosophical orientations swerve away from each other and seem incommensurable. Chantal Mouffe's lucid introduction sets the stage for a lively exchange between Richard Rorty and Jacques Derrida. Their crossfire is enriched by the contributions of Simon Critchley and Ernest Laclau. Altogether a splendid and illuminating feast of agnostic debate." -Richard J. Bernstein, Vera List Professor of Philosophy, Graduate Faculty, New School for Social Research

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