The most important intellectual in the Federal Republic of Germany for the past three decades, Habermas has been a seminal contributor to fields ranging from sociology and political science to philosophy and cultural studies. Although he has stood at the centre of concern in his native land, he has been less readily accepted outside Germany, particularly in the humanities. His theoretical work postulates the centrality of communication and understanding, and as such his strategy of debate is marked by a politically informed unity of theory and practice. Holub's book is the first detailed account of the major debates in which Habermas has engaged since the early sixties. It stems from the conviction that his critics have not understood the political strategy behind his various interventions, or the consistency that informs his intellectual activities. Habermas is viewed in dialogue with important philosophical, sociological and political currents in West Germany. Holub demonstrates how Habermas pursues a course that incorporates various aspects of his opponents' positions, while simultaneously defending perceived threats to democracy and open discussion.

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