A review of Critique and Disclosure: Critical Theory between Past and Future by Fred Dallmayr:
The fate of reason today hangs in the balance. This is no small matter. Ever since its historical beginnings, reason or rationality has been the central focus and point of honor of Western modernity — a focus enshrined in Descartes’ cogito, Enlightenment rationalism, and Kantian (and neo-Kantian) critical philosophy. The result of this focus was an asymmetrical dichotomy: separated from the external world of “matter” (or nature), the cogito assumed the role of superior task master and overseer — a role fueling the enterprise of modern science and technology. During the past century, the edifice of Western modernity has registered a trembling, due to both internal and external contestations. Subverting the modern asymmetry, a host of thinkers – with views ranging from American pragmatism to European life philosophy and phenomenology — have endeavored to restore pre-cognitive “experience” (including sense perception and affect) to its rightful place. In the context of French “postmodernism,” a prominent battle cry has been to dislodge “logocentrism” (the latter term often equated with anthropocentrism). In the ambiance of recent German philosophy, the battle lines have been clearly marked: pitting champions of modern rationalism, represented by Jürgen Habermas, against defenders of experiential “world disclosure,” represented by Martin Heidegger. In his book, Nikolas Kompridis endeavors to shed new light on this controversy, with the aim not so much of bringing about a cease fire but of providing resources for arriving at better mutual understanding.