Philosophical controversies within contemporary critical theory arise largely from questions about the nature, scope and limits of human reason. As the linguistic turn in twentieth-century philosophy has increasingly given way to a sociocritical turn, traditional ideas of 'pure' reason have been left further and further behind. There is however considerable disagreement about what that shift entails for enlightenment ideals of self-consciousness, self-determination, and self-realization.In this book two prominent philosophers bring these disagreements into focus around a set of familiar philosophical issues concerning reason and the rational subject, truth and representation, knowledge and objectivity, identity and difference, relativism and universalism, the right and the good. But these "perennial problems" are resituated within the context of critical theory as it has developed from the work of the Frankfurt School in the 1930's and 1940's to the multiplicity of contemporary approaches: genealogical, hermeneutic, neopragmatist, deconstructive, and reconstructive.
David Couzens Hoy taught at Princeton Columbia, and Yale before going to the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he is Professor of Philosophy and of the History of Consiousness graduate program. He edited
Foucault: A Critical Reader (Blackwell) and has authored, in addition to many essays on modern and postmodern European philosophers, a book on hermeneutics entitled
The Critical Circle.
Thomas McCarthy is Professor of Philosophy and John Shaffer Professor in the Humanities at Northwestern University. He is the author of The Critical Theory of Jurgen Habermas and Ideals and Illusions, and is the general editor of the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought.