Habermas, Derrida, and the Genre Distinction between Fiction and Argument

International Studies in Philosophy 39 (4):103-119 (2007)
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In his book, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, and especially in the “Excursus on Leveling the Genre Distinction between Philosophy and Literature” (pp. 185-210), Jürgen Habermas criticizes the work of Jacques Derrida. My aim in this paper is to show that this critique turns upon itself. Habermas accuses Derrida of effacing the distinctions between literature and philosophy. Derrida indeed works to subvert the distinction between fictional and argumentative writing, but in doing so he works with the genres he is mixing. It is Habermas’ own insistence on subordinating all genres to argumentative rationality that truly effaces these genre distinctions.
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