The Future of Critical Philosophy and World Politics

Richard Beardsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)


This paper considers the legacy of Derrida’s thought in the context of
the future challenge of contemporary politics: the construction of
world polity. It rehearses, first, the steps of the recent ‘reconciliation’
between Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida, and suggests, from
out of the terms of this reconciliation, that the deconstruction of
reason has been caught out by the contemporary movements of
irrationalism. It then deepens this historical viewpoint by giving a
neo-Marxist account of modern history in economic and political
terms and by setting up from out of this history the continuing
problematic of modernity above and beyond recent distinctions
between the modern and the postmodern. The third section of the
paper returns to Derrida’s late work on world democracy, underlines
its critical rigour with regard to modernity, the dilemma of law and
world sovereignty, and shows how this rigor can be considered to
address critically our future political challenge. The fourth section
then contends that the way in which Derridean thought disposes
itself to the real but nevertheless occludes concerted development of
our historical actuality and, in this sense, falls short of the critical. I
conclude, accordingly, by arguing for a renewed engagement
between critical philosophy and social science, with a focus on the
promotion of international institutions and strong interdisciplinary
work between international relations, international economics, and
political philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-235
Number of pages35
JournalMillennium: Journal of International Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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