Since its publication in France in 1985, this critique of the main currents in contemporary French thought has prompted debate over the character of postmodern philosophy. Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut offer sociopolitical analysis of the May 1968 student uprising in France, explore the connection between the revolt and the rise of postmodern thought, and question whether student dissent was a genuine humanist reaction to conditions in France at that time. The book begins with a description of the style and intellectual structure of French philosophy in the 1960s, noting its hyperbolic use of themes borrowed from German thinkers, particularly Nietzsche, Heidegger, Marx and Freud. The authors then trace these themes in individual chapters on the writings of Foucault, Derrida, Bourdieu and Lacan, focusing on the philosophers' antagonism to the idea of self and their assertions that philosophy has come to its end. The book raises serious questions about the meaning of the 1960s, arguing that the philosophical movements that emerged from this turbulent decade in France are politically irresponsible. Ferry and Renaut offer a basis for understanding the defence of humanism and the democratic and liberal ideals it supports.