Skip navigation

Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, where he is also Managing Editor of the journal Philosophical Forum.

Titles by This Author

Founded in the early nineteenth century by F. D. E. Schleiermacher, modern hermeneutics was designed as a means for interpreting texts in a way that emphasized the historical context of the interpretation. Since the 1960s, however, hermeneutics has been increasingly generalized as a method for inquiring into the world of human affairs. These twelve essays, written by philosophers, examine the usefulness, objectivity, and range of applicability of interpretive methods in ethics and politics, with the goal of isolating the role of methodology to allow debate to focus on substantive conflicts.

Contents: Part 1, Ethics. In the Shadow of Aristotle and Hegel: Communicative Ethics and Current Controversies in Practical Philosophy, Seyla Benhabib. Justice and Solidarity: On the Discussion Concerning "Stage 6", Jürgen Habermas. The Contingent Person and the Existential Choice, Agnes Heller. MacIntyre, Habermas, and Philosophical Ethics, Michael Kelly. Beyond Good-Evil: A Plea for a Hermeneutic Ethics, Adi Ophir. Part 2, Politics. Rational Reconstruction and Social Criticism: Habermas's Model of Interpretive Social Science, Kenneth Baynes. On the Conception of the Common Interest: Between Procedure and Substance, Carol Gould. The Politics of the Ineffable: Derrida's Deconstructionism, Thomas McCarthy. Kant and the Interpretation of Nature and History, Rudolf Makkreel. A Critique of Philosophical Conversation, Michael Walzer. Rawls, Habermas, and Real Talk: A Reply to Walzer, Georgia Warnke. Social Interpretation and Political Theory: Walzer and His Critics, Georgia Warnke. Models of Freedom in the Modem World, Albrecht Wellmer.

The essays in Hermeneutics and Critical Theory in Ethics and Politics originally appeared in Philosophical Forum.

Titles by This Editor

Recasting the Foucault/Habermas Debate
Edited by Michael Kelly

Which paradigm of critique—Foucault's or Habermas's—is philosophically and practically superior, especially with regard to the nature and role of power in contemporary society? In shaping this collection, Michael Kelly has sought to address this question in relation to the ethical, political, and social theory of the past two decades.

Michel Foucault and Jurgen Habermas had only just begun to come to terms with one another's work when Foucault died in 1984; they had even discussed the possibility of a formal debate on "Enlightenment" in the neutral arena of the United States. In the decade since, Habermas and his supporters have continued to respond to Foucault in various ways, but Foucault's followers have not shown as strong an inclination to keep up his side of the dialogue. For this reason an invaluable exchange on the nature and limits of philosophy in the present age has never achieved its full potential.

In this anthology Michael Kelly recasts the debate in a way that will open it up for further development. The book starts by juxtaposing key texts from the two philosophers; it then adds a set of reactions and commentaries by theorists who have taken up the two alternative approaches to power and critique. (Two of these essays were written especially for this volume.) The result is a guide for those seeking to understand and build on this important but unfinished debate.

Essays by:
Michel Foucault, Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth, Nancy Fraser, Richard Bernstein, Thomas McCarthy, James Schmidt and Thomas E. Wartenberg, Gilles Deleuze, Jana Sawicki, Michael Kelly.