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Philosophy in a Time of Terror - Dialogues with Jurgen Habermas & Jacques Derrida [Anglais] [Relié]

Giovanna Borradori

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13 juin 2003
The idea for Philosophy in a Time of Terror was born hours after the attacks on 9/11 and was realized just weeks later when Giovanna Borradori sat down with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida in New York City, in separate interviews, to evaluate the significance of the most destructive terrorist act ever perpetrated. This book marks an unprecedented encounter between two of the most influential thinkers of our age as here, for the first time, Habermas and Derrida overcome their mutual antagonism and agree to appear side by side. As the two philosophers disassemble and reassemble what we think we know about terrorism, they break from the familiar social and political rhetoric increasingly polarized between good and evil. In this process, we watch two of the greatest intellects of the century at work.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Giovanna Borradori is an associate professor of philosophy at Vassar College. She is the author of The American Philosopher: Conversations with Quine, Davidson, Putnam, Nozick, Danto, Rorty, Cavell, MacIntyre, Kuhn, published by the University of Chicago Press, and the editor of Recoding Metaphysics: The New Italian Philosophy.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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B O R R A D O R I : Do you consider what we now tend to call "September 11" an unprecedented event, one that radically alters the way we see ourselves? Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Amazon.com: 3.5 étoiles sur 5  16 commentaires
50 internautes sur 57 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Borradori's Bridging of Philosophical Traditions 5 juin 2003
Par Michael Weintraub - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Giovanna Borradori's most recent project is a groundbreaking endeavor to forge a new understanding of terrorism in the post-9/11 age. Her searching questions draw both Habermas and Derrida from their traditionally diametrically opposed philosophical quarters, highlighting their surprisingly similar stances on what they perceive to be the necessary move toward a quasi-Kantian cosmopolitan international law. Moreover, we find in both of these dialogues and Borradori's supplements a reliance upon a few key figures (Kant, Schmitt, and Arendt for example), suggesting that the philosophical traditions with which each figure identifies-Critical Theory for Habermas and Deconstruction for Derrida-are perhaps not as mutually exclusive or sharply demarcated as we might have previously thought.
The structure of the book, dialogue followed by interpretive essay, helps ground the extemporaneous reflections on terrorism in Habermas' and Derrida's broader philosophical work. Habermas here seems much less conservative than in his other works, though his focus in a sense remains on the possibility of communication and understanding in light of the growing threat of terrorist attacks and current US policy. Derrida acts as our guide on a deconstructive journey, marking important moments and movements such as autoimmunity, always hyper-aware of the context (the end of the Cold War) in which 9/11 and the "war on terrorism" have been played out. To be sure, these dialogues also underscore these philosophers' different understandings, particularly in their responses to Borradori's question of 9/11 as an "event," as well as the proper approach to the United States' "war on terror".
Borradori's ability to fuse topics of terror, the United States' "crusade" against an unknown, unseen, and ever-present enemy, with issues of hospitality and tolerance makes possible a broader discussion than one might imagine. Further, her probing intellect and ability to guide conversation without imposing upon her subjects a pre-determined philosophical agenda make these dialogues remarkably readable and successful; undoubtedly this work has opened up a space for evaluating the possible and necessary contributions that philosophy can make in both critically evaluating and politically altering the course of human events.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Postmodern situations, postmodern ideas 24 mai 2006
Par FrKurt Messick - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat authentifié par Amazon
As Borradori states in his introduction, 'Both [Habermas and Derrida] hold that terrorism is an elusive concept that exposes the global political arena to imminent dangers as well as future challenges.' I think that this sums up what many people feel about the war on terrorism - unlike conflicts such as World War I and World War II, or even the more vaguely defined Cold War or Vietnam war, this is a war where there the front-line can be anywhere and nowhere, where the enemies can be anyone and no one, and where the tactics, strategies, motives and hoped-for achievables are so far removed from what traditional political and military methodology deals with that it requires a paradigm shift in our thinking. 'While the Cold War was characterized by the possibility of balance between two superpowers, it is impossible to build a balance with terrorism because the threat does not come from a state but from incalculable forces and incalculable responsibilities.'

As is typical of Derrida, he sees the relationship between terrorism and communication to be paramount. (I was first exposed to Derrida in theology classes, dealing with the postmodern predicament of looking for meaning in language and behind language in ways that make sense). It is perhaps ironic that the term that springs to mind most when contemplating Derrida is 'deconstruction', which is, in often a dramatically literal sense, what terrorism also hopes to achieve. 'The intellectual grounding of Derrida's deconstruction owes much to the nineteenth- and twentieth-century lineage constituted by Nietzsche, Heidegger and Freud. For Derrida, many of the principles to which the Western tradition has attributed universal validity do not capture what we all share or even hope for.' This becomes all the more problematic when dealing with those outside the Western tradition, such as occurred in Vietnam, Korea, and now in the war on terror.

For Derrida, communication is not simply political. 'Derrida engaged the themes of terror as a psychological and metaphysical state as well as terrorism as a political category.' This draws upon philosophical ideas that can reinterpret the events in various ways, as plays out in various media outlets even to this day. But the events of 9/11 for Derrida are not surprising. 'Was 9/11 truly unpredictable? Not for Derrida. ... The kind of attack that the terrorists launched in 2001 had already been prefigured in detail by the technocinematic culture of our days.'

Habermas also sees communication as a critical element. One issue for Habermas is the speed of modern mass communication - it 'works in the interest of those who select and distribute the information rather than those who receive it. Habermas suggests that the pressure of thinking and evaluating data quickly has a political import, because it facilitates an experience of politics based on the persona of the actors rather than the ideas that each of them defends.' Habermas' theory of communicative action, including its idea of violence as distorted communication, shows the importance of perception, understanding, critical analysis and response.

'Habermas understands modernity to be a change in belief attitude rather than a coherent body of beliefs. A belief attitude indicates the way in which we believe rather than what we believe in. Thus, fundamentalism has less to do with any specific text or religious dogma and more to do with the modality of belief.' This fits in many ways when one commentator I read recently who discussed the overall state of Muslim theology, expressing the understanding that the Muslims have never gone through a period of Reformation as Christendom did, nor have Muslims come to embrace the idea of a society and nation-state separate from religious. Indeed, we can hear echoes of this latter idea in political speech in America, often from groups that can be described as (and often embrace the term) fundamentalist. This will continue to be an issue in the war on terror.

Another issue for Habermas will be the issue of nation-state vs. international organisation power. 'Habermas is convinced that what separates the present moment from a full transition to cosmopolitanism is not only a theoretical matter but a practical one, too, for the decisions of the international community need to be respected. ... Unfortunately, the power differential between national and international authorities threatens to weaken the legitimacy of any military intervention and to retool police action as war.' This has been true not just in the twentieth century, but previously as well. The Congress of Vienna, the League of Nations, and the United Nations have all failed to have power to counter the superpowers of their times; alliances such as NATO and the Warsaw Pact relied heavily on one particular partner.

For both Derrida and Habermas, the war on terror is not as simple as Arab vs. West, Muslim against Christian/post-Christian society, or particular nations against one another. Perhaps had this been written after the recent situation with the Dubai acquisition of American ports being stopped, they would have pointed out that once again, our definitions and communicative premises fail - how does one balance the idea that foreign ownership of ports is unwise with the fact that few are concerned when British, Canadian, Australian or Norwegian firms do the same? There is a lack of definition about it all, even when all the words we use, to bring about clarity. The war on terror might be the quintessential post-modern situation.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A good overview of two great minds at work... 17 janvier 2004
Par Giovanni Mantilla - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This book succeeds in two respects. First, both interviews are significant in that they address the subject matter in an analytically rigorous manner, enticing the reader to think-which is by no means a disposable end, in an era of CNN-inspired "analysis"-. The interview with Derrida is particularly enlightening, actually *forcing* you to think "otherwise", to quote another brilliant mind, Foucault. Second, Borradori accomplishes the difficult task of putting in place the reflexions of both philosophers in the context of their own philosophical work, tackling the most important issues relevant to their "way of problematizing", their views on reason, modernity, history, the international context, war & conflict, violence, etc.
This book, of course, does not suffice as a Habermas/Derrida "reader", but it certainly works as a practical exercise in trying to think about the present in ways and words that are not commonplace. Whether you actually agree with Habermas or Derrida is unimportant, what's important is that you have at least given the issue some thought.
I think this book is a small, yet thoroughly enjoyable and worthwile addition to anyone's collection, be it an intellectual or a regular person.
29 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A Philosophy left on the table.... 22 mars 2004
Par o dubhthaigh - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
The main issues I have with this book are:
1. the dialogue with Habermas is way too short. I don't know if he was on a time line, but, it is just as he is gathering a full head of steam that everything ends, and what he has to say and to subject to thoughtful consideration is profoundly worth mulling over deeply. I kept wishing Borradori would continue to probe further with Habermas. He is the foremost thinker in Germany since Heidegger and is as creatively determined to tackle this issue of terrorism as anyone could aspire to. He goes after the issues with a passion and a commitment. Perhaps there will be more from him in his own write in the future.
2. Derrida likes to hear himself talk and see himself write. The foremost exponent of Thesaurus Philosophy, Derrida does not so much hermeneutically deconstruct as blather on, much like a Michael Palin riff in Monty Python. Read the opening pages of the dialogue with Derrida, and then go watch Palin in THE CONCERT FOR GEORGE HARRISON, and I dare you to deconstruct the difference. I keep expecting Derrida to launch into the Lumberjack Song. He gets to the meat of the issue but then becomes obsessed with his own vocabulary, like the boring uncle at family gatherings. You would think there would be more drive from somone who experienced the sort of childhood and coming of age that he did, but, like so many other French thinkers, he seems to fall in love with the way words roll off.
3. Borradori comes up short with Habrmas and doesn't cut off or focus Derrida enough. Too much of her post dialogue analyses is reiiterative.
That's a pity on many fronts, because there is a significant trail to be traced from Kant through Hegel and into the Twentieth Century about the nature of peace, government and the fact that as Kant observed this is a bloody small planet and we need to figure out how we are all going to live on it without resorting to the criminality of these past centuries. Habermas is clearly focused on such questions. Derrida can clearly see the need to come to terms with them. A more disciplined interviewer might have made this the tome it could have been. God knows we need it.
8 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A most noble endeavour 25 mars 2004
Par Drexler - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Although the section dedicated to Habermas is brief and Derrida is allowed to make a more dynamic impact, Borradori knows very well what she is doing, and ensures that the end relult is that they both complement each other. These two thinkers might occupy opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to a whole host of issues, but "Philosophy in a Time of Terror" is not about who is right and who is wrong or about the reader choosing his/her favourite.
Habermas lays much of the groundwork, reminding us of the relevance of the Enlightenment, championing notions of the public sphere and communicative action. Reason, rationality and discourse have been, and always will be, essential components of any society wishing to realise the Enlightenment ideal. Just as philosophy was vital at the time of the Enlightenment, so too is it needed today in helping us come to terms with terrorism and in conceptualising a future which re-addresses the notion of citizenship, bestowing upon it a global and cosmopolitan character.
Derrida gets to work on much of what Habermas proposes, questioning received wisdom and conceptual systems through his own deconstructive methods. Focusing on 9/11 as an "event" and putting his own spin on globalization, we are invited to temporarily suspend belief and look at things from a more unfamiliar angle. Yes, some of Derrida's points are questionable, overblown and occasionally ridiculous, but his concerns have much in common with those of Habermas: how to realise a world society where primacy is given to international law and the religious undercurrents of political rhetoric are abandoned once and for all,dangerous as they all too often are.
This book is a reminder to us all of the role played by philosophy in shaping our present and a call for a return to philosophical reflection in order to forge a sustainable future for everybody. It's a start, and credit is due to Habermas, Derrida and of course Borradori for their collaboration. The world may well be awash with pragmatism (much of it needed admittedly) but there has to be a degree of reflexivity if we are going to avoid a groundhog day scenario. I mean, we're all idealists at heart, aren't we?
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