This work undertakes a systematic reconstruction of the debates that took place over the course of several decades up to the beginning of the 21st century between Derrida on the one hand and Searle and Habermas on the other. It shows that the linguistic theories and the theories of communicative understanding developed by Searle and Habermas are based on inferences from the contingent individual case to the general. Searle draws ontological, Habermas anthropo-political conclusions, both with essentially naturalistic signatures. Derrida, on the other hand, raises epistemological objections and consequently develops a metaphysics of free subjects for whom conversation cannot necessarlily be presumed. The explicit dedication to ethics in Derrida's late work is due to his insight that the possibility of language and understanding is due to silence. Derrida's lasting merit lies in enriching the philosophy of language with a secretology. This study has been awarded the Kant Prize of the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Bonn.