Solidarity and Difference

The Politics of Enlightenment in the Aftermath of Modernity

By George Trey

Subjects: Critical Theory
Series: SUNY series in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Paperback : 9780791440186, 190 pages, October 1998
Hardcover : 9780791440179, 190 pages, October 1998

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Table of contents




Chapter 1 Dialectic of Difference: Enlightenment and Its Other

Chapter 2 Modernity, Late Modernity, Postmodernity: The Theory and Practice of Enlightenment

Chapter 3 Modern Normativity and the Utopian Ideals of Discourse

Chapter 4 The Politics of Enlightenment and the Aftermath of Modernity

Chapter 5 Ethical Discourse and Radical Egalitarianism: Toward a Textualization of the Lifeworld


Works Cited


Transcends the dichotomy between modernism and postmodernism by arguing for an ethically based notion of solidarity tolerant of radical difference.


This book provides a critical analysis of the debate between modernists and postmodernists through an analysis of the work of Jurgen Habermas, focusing on the role that he has played in this debate. The author offers an alternative to the dichotomy between modernism and postmodernism by developing the conception of "the aftermath of modernity" which takes seriously postmodern critiques of modernism while keeping intact certain key enlightenment ideals.

George Trey is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at St. Mary's College.


"The issues with which the author is concerned are subtle, complex, and intricate, the texts with which he deals are themselves notoriously difficult and often intentionally obscure, and many of the recent books in this area of philosophy/social theory do little to clarify the original texts. But this book goes well beyond exegesis of historically important texts. Trey does important exegetical work, but doesn't rest there—he moves on to develop an important position of his own. He brings together strains from many of the most important movements within contemporary philosophy and social theory and places them within a productive dialogue.

"Rarely have I read a book which so engaged my intellectual curiosity that I had the same desire to continue as soon as possible that I have when reading an engaging novel. " — James Craig Hanks, The University of Alabama in Huntsville

"Trey addresses a debate—between enlightenment, critical theory, and postmodernism—whose assessment has been long overdue. He handles the interfaces between Habermas's philosophical and his sociological and political-economic analysis nicely. " — Jane Braaten, Smith College