This collection of Habermas's recent essays on philosophical topics continues the analysis begun in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. In a short introductory essay, he outlines the sources of twentieth-century philosophizing, its major themes, and the range of current debates. The remainder of the essays can be seen as his contribution to these debates.
Habermas's essay on George Herbert Mead is a focal point of the book. In it he sketches a postmetaphysical, intersubjective approach to questions of individuation and subjectivity. In other essays, he develops his distinctive, communications-theoretic approach to questions of meaning and validity. The book as a whole expands on his earlier efforts to define a middle ground between nostalgic revivals of metaphysical conceptions of reason and radical deconstructions of reason.