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The Trace of GodDerrida and Religion$
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Edward Baring and Peter E. Gordon

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262090

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262090.001.0001

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Habermas, Derrida, and the Question of Religion

Habermas, Derrida, and the Question of Religion

(p.110) Habermas, Derrida, and the Question of Religion
The Trace of God

Peter E. Gordon

Fordham University Press

This essay reconstructs the philosophical debate between Jacques Derrida and Jürgen Habermas from their earliest exchanges to their final years. The essay concludes with the international conference,“Judéités: Questions pour Jacques Derrida,” which convened in Paris in December, 2000. The conference gave Derrida the opportunity to elaborate upon his conceptions of Judaism (or, “Judeity”) while it also served as an occasion for Habermas to modify his earlier and more negative verdicts concerning Derrida’s philosophy.  In retrospect one is tempted to think that the essay might have inaugurated a phase of intellectual collaboration, had this promise not been cut short by Derrida’s death in 2004. Habermas’s lecture merits attention, not only as a political and biographical document, but also as an interrogation of certain religious themes that came to the fore in Derrida’s later years. It also thematizes persistent philosophical questions that might be raised concerning the merits of these themes. As a partisan of “post-metaphysical thinking,” Habermas was especially concerned that Derrida’s appeals to Levinas and a quasi-revelatory “event” still obeyed the logic of metaphysics and had not escaped the aporias of his earlier, more “Heideggerian” phase.

Keywords:   Derrida, Habermas, Heidegger, Levinas, Judaism, metaphysics, post-metaphysical thinking

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