Discourse, Desire, and Fantasy in Jurgen Habermas' Critical Theory  book cover
1st Edition

Discourse, Desire, and Fantasy in Jurgen Habermas' Critical Theory

ISBN 9780415956178
Published July 30, 2007 by Routledge
258 Pages

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Book Description

This book argues that Jürgen Habermas’ critical theory can be productively developed by incorporating a wider understanding of fantasy and imagination as part of its conception of communicative rationality and communicative pathologies. Given that meaning is generated both linguistically and performatively, MacKendrick argues that desire and fantasy must be taken into consideration as constitutive aspects of intersubjective relations. His aim is to show that Habermasian social theory might plausibly renew its increasingly severed ties with the early critical theory of the Frankfurt School by taking account of these features of practice life, thus simultaneously rekindling the relevance of the nearly forgotten emancipatory intent in his earlier work and rejuvenating an emphasis on the contemporary critique of reason. This innovative new study will be of interest to those focusing on the early writings of Habermas, the writings of the Frankfurt School, and the relation between critical theory, hermeneutics, and psychoanalysis.

Table of Contents



Chapter One: The Project of Critical Theory: An Introduction to the Thought of Horkheimer, Adorno, and Marcuse

Chapter Two: Knowledge, Interests, Nature: Jürgen Habermas’s Early Writings

Chapter Three: Critical Theory and Hermeneutics

Chapter Four: Of Reason and Revelation: Toward a Post-Hermeneutic Critical Theory

Chapter Five: The Struggle for Recognition: Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth, and Jessica Benjamin

Chapter Six: Critique of Communicative Reason




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Kenneth G. MacKendrick is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Manitoba. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 2005. His teaching interests include religious conceptions of evil, death and mourning rituals, and contemporary Christianity. His current research focuses on masculinity, religion, and apocalyptic thought in the late 20th century.