Deconstruction and pragmatism constitute two of the major intellectual influences on the contemporary theoretical 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.