Estimated reading time: 7 minutes, 43 seconds

Hi Maha. We should probably talk about this. In a previous life I was (am?) a Habermas scholar and a student of Continental Philosophy more widely construed. I am doing some similar work around some of the philosophical implications of openness for a couple of writing projects at the moment (including an OER17 paper on ‘open society’).

Here are some (not particularly well organised) thoughts on your blog post:

1) Habermas does indeed write about postmodernism at considerable length. See as a starting point. I would also note that there is no theory called ‘postmodernism’ – it is a label applied to several (often disparate) thinkers. One common way into the discussion here is to focus on what has become known as the Foucault-Habermas debate (

2) Most of what you have set out is from Habermas’s work in the 1960s and 1970s. I think you will need to engage with the Theory of Communicative Action ( for the ‘mature’ position on a lot of this stuff.

3) I’ve only scanned it, but in your PhD you seem to rely on Grundy (1991) for your interpretation of Habermas. I would note two things about this. Firstly, there are lots of different interpretations available (including Habermas’s own interpretations of earlier works). Secondly, it’s important to engage with the primary texts because there are lots of dubious interpretations out there. The other thing that occurs to me about relying on Grundy is that lots of important Habermasian texts were published or translated too late to be included in literature that is this old.

4) Most people find reading Habermas quite challenging (including myself). I at least have the benefit of a background in philosophy so most of the proper nouns and concepts are familiar. I am happy to try and help you out if you get stuck, but be warned – it is potentially quite a big undertaking. So I suppose one thing to think about is whether you need to go deeply into this stuff for it to do the work that you need done.

5) If you are interested in collaborating on something, or would like to discuss any of this stuff, feel free to drop me a line. Twitter is perhaps easiest – my handle is @philosopher1978.

I hope this is in some way useful to you and doesn’t seem unnecessarily critical. Good luck! And hope to communicate with you again about this.