Nikolas Kompridis (Greek: Νικόλαος Κομπρίδης; born 1953) is a Greek-Canadian philosopher and political theorist. His major published work addresses the direction and orientation of Frankfurt School critical theory; the legacy of philosophical romanticism; and the aesthetic dimension(s) of politics. His writing touches on a variety of issues in social and political thought, aesthetics, and the philosophy of culture, often in terms of re-worked concepts of receptivity and world disclosure—a paradigm he calls “reflective disclosure”.
After gaining his Ph.D. at Toronto’s York University, Kompridis worked with the influential philosopher and Frankfurt School social theorist Jürgen Habermas while a post-doctoral fellow at Goethe University. Following his time with Habermas he wrote a book responding to what he saw as serious shortcomings and inconsistencies in his mentor’s work. In Critique and Disclosure: Critical Theory between Past and Future, Kompridis argues that Habermasian critical theory, which has in recent decades become the main paradigm of that tradition, has largely severed its own roots in German Idealism, while neglecting modernity’s distinctive relationship to time and the utopian potential of critique.
While drawing on many of Habermas’ own insights (along with the philosophical traditions of German Idealism, American Pragmatism, and the work of many others), Kompridis proposes an alternative approach to social criticism and what he sees as its role in facilitating social change. This interpretation is guided by an engagement with Martin Heidegger’s concept of world disclosure, as well as alternative conceptions of key philosophical categories, like critique, agency, reason, and normativity. Arguing against Habermas’ procedural conception of reason and in favour of a new paradigm Kompridis calls reflective disclosure, the book suggests that critical theory should become a “possibility-disclosing” practice of social criticism “if it is to have a future worthy of its past.”