The Past as Future


The Past as Future

Jürgen Habermas
Translated by Max Pensky
Introduction by Peter Uwe Hohendahl

187 pages


July 1994


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About the Book

Jürgen Habermas is one of the best-known and most influential philosophers in Europe today. Heir to the Frankfurt school, his reputation rests on more than thirty years of groundbreaking works on society knowledge, history, technology; ethics, and many other subjects. He is also a familiar figure in his native Germany where he has often played a prominent role in public de-bates. In recent years, he has spoken out ever more directly on the extraordinary changes taking place in Germany, Europe, and the world.

This volume of interviews reveals Habermas's passionate engagement with contemporary issues. Wide-ranging and informal, the interviews focus on matters of decisive importance to Germany and the rest of the world in the 1990s: German unification; recent explosive debates about interpretations of German history, Germany's asylum policies, and the Nazi era; efforts to create a cooperative, peaceful Europe; and the significance of the Persian Gulf War. A final interview focuses on the relation between theory and practice—between philosophy and the so-called real world. In an afterword to the volume, Habermas addresses a broad spectrum of issues facing Germany and other nations in this final decade of the century.

Ably translated and annotated by Max Pensky, professor of philosophy at the State University of New York-Binghamton, The Past as Future provides a striking portrait of an intellectual who is equally at home in the world of academic philosophy and in mainstream debate—and who can make valuable connections between the two.

Author Bio

The interviewer, Michael Haller, studied philosophy, politics, and social sciences in Freiburg and Basel. He has worked as an editor at Der Spiegel and has been a correspondent for Die Zeit in Hamburg and in Zurich since 1990. Peter Hohendahl is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Cornell University.

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