Zambrano, Habermas e i generi discorsivi della modernità filosofica

Robert Lane Kauffmann


This article compares the ideas of Spanish philosopher María Zambrano (1904-1991) to those of German thinker Jürgen Habermas (1929-) on the discursive genres of philosophical modernity. These thinkers have their roots in two schools of thought that developed contemporaneously during the first half of the twentieth century: on the one hand, the Madrid School, whose central figure was José Ortega y Gasset, Zambrano’s teacher; and on the other hand, Frankfurt School Critical Theory, whose main theorist was Theodor W. Adorno, a major influence on Habermas’s work. Comparing Zambrano’s ideas on such proto-essayistic genres as «guide» and «confession» (in her writings from the period 1934-1943) to Habermas’s theory in a well-known excursus on the genre distinction between literature and philosophy (in his The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, 1985), this article argues that Zambrano was in some respects more sensitive than was Habermas to the historical development, and in particular to the performative dimension, of modern philosophical genres.


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