In this important new study, Pieter Duvenage shows that Habermas's work on aesthetics, far from being marginal to his core concerns, is central to understanding and evaluating Habermasa s entire theoretical enterprise. * This important new study shows that Habermasa s work on aesthetics is central to understanding and evaluating his entire theoretical enterprise. * Duvenage demonstrates that, in the first phase of his intellectual career, Habermas emphasizes the communicative and societal relevance of art; in the second phase, the idea of a communicative aesthetics is worked out in terms of a theory of rationality. * Reveals that Habermas's later work offers a third, albeit undeveloped, alternative that suggests a convergence of the two. * Offers a critical perspective on the role of aesthetics in Habermasa s work and proposes possible alternatives.