Authors have contrasted social change and history many times, especially in terms of the significance of the event in accounting for the broadest contours of human societies' evolution. After recasting Gerhard Lenski's ecological-evolutionary theory in a critical fashion, by emphasizing its engagement with alternativity and by introducing a different approach to structure, I reconsider the salience of the event in the developmentalist project and suggest that ecological-evolutionary theory can be quite helpful in posing new questions about (...) an eventful sociology. By rethinking communism's collapse in 1989 and terrorism's explosion in 2001 within Lenski's theoretical frame, one can suggest critical transformations of theory and research on the evolution of human societies. (shrink)
Continental Philosophy of Social Science demonstrates the unique and autonomous nature of the continental approach to social science and contrasts it with the Anglo-American tradition. Yvonne Sherratt argues for the importance of an historical understanding of the Continental tradition in order to appreciate its individual, humanist character. Examining the key traditions of hermeneutic, genealogy, and criticaltheory, and the texts of major thinkers such as Gadamer, Ricoeur, Derrida, Nietzsche, Foucault, the Early Frankfurt School and Habermas, she also contextualizes (...) contemporary developments within strands of thought stemming back to Ancient Greece and Rome. Sherratt shows how these modes of thinking developed through medieval Christian thought into the Enlightenment and Romantic eras, before becoming mainstays of twentieth-century disciplines. Continental Philosophy of Social Science will serve as the essential textbook for courses in philosophy or social sciences. (shrink)
Introduction -- The dialectic's narrow margin: film noir between Adorno and Hegel -- On criticaltheory's dialectical dilemma -- a configuration pregnant with tension: Fritz Lang for criticaltheory -- Coda: the enjoyment of film in theory.
This acclaimed book is the first comparative evaluation of two primary sources of the Western Marxist tradition: Marx's Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts and History and Class Consciousness by Georg Luk'acs. Andrew Feenberg offers a new interpretation of the theories of alienation and reification as the basis of a Marxist approach to the cultural contradictions of contemporary society.
In this paper I argue that Theodor W. Adorno's philosophy of freedom needs an ontological picture of the world. Adorno does not make his view of natural order explicit, but I suggest it could be neither the chaotic nor the strictly determined ontological images common to idealism and positivism, and that it would have to make intelligible the possibility both of human freedom and of critical social science. I consider two possible candidates, Nancy Cartwright's ‘patchwork of laws’, and Roy (...) Bhaskar's critical realism. Arguing that Cartwright's position conflicts with the spirit of Adorno's philosophy, I suggest that Bhaskar's realism is compatible with and to a significant extent implicit in Adorno's position. Whilst Adorno is clearly not a critical realist, Bhaskar's position does provide the best overall account of the ontological commitments of Adorno's criticaltheory. It becomes possible in turn to locate Bhaskar's arguments in a broader critical tradition and give fuller expression to the concerns that structure his work, in particular by locating the epistemic fallacy in the narrative account of the natural history of subjective reason and its tendency towards ‘identity thinking’. The discussion goes on to consider the interdependence of reason, nature and freedom in the idea of emancipatory critique, confirming the deeper affinities between critical realism and criticaltheory. (shrink)
In this paper I utilize Martin Beck Matuštík’s intellectual biography of Habermas as a means for reflecting on the meaning that criticaltheory has for us in the wake of September 11. I argue that the significant contribution of Matuštík’s book is that it fruitfully continues theconversation about the meaning of criticaltheory by underscoring the sociohistorical contexts that frame Habermas’s intellectual engagements. Matuštík’s figure of the critical theorist as witness refocuses attention on the critical theorist in (...) context, nevertheless as critical theorists we also need to be mindful of the plurality of disastrous events that continue to shape our world. (shrink)
Now in its second edition, this collection is an intelligent, accessible overview of the entire CriticalTheory Tradition, written by one of the leading experts on the subject. Filled with original insights and valuable historical narratives, this work is a contribution that furthers the idea and spirit of criticaltheory as it weaves together a narrative from a series of examinations of the thoughts of many of the most important left Western intellectuals of the twentieth century. (...) Covering the work of major philosophical thinkers such as Benjamin, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse and Habermas and revisiting the contributions of lesser-known figures such as Karl Korsch and Ernst Bloch, Bronner measures the writing of these theorists against each other, postmodernist philosophers and the critical tradition reaching back to Hegel, and then connects the history of criticaltheory with important historical events and develops in the twentieth century. Of CriticalTheory and Its Theorists presents new insights useful to experienced scholars and offers clear summaries for students making this book an ideal introduction to the debates surrounding one of the most important intellectual traditions of the 20th Century. (shrink)
CriticalTheory constitutes one of the major intellectual traditions of the twentieth century, and is centrally important for philosophy, political theory, aesthetics and theory of art, the study of modern European literatures and music, the history of ideas, sociology, psychology, and cultural studies. In this volume an international team of distinguished contributors examines the major figures in CriticalTheory, including Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Benjamin, and Habermas, as well as lesser known but important thinkers (...) such as Pollock and Neumann. The volume surveys the shared philosophical concerns that have given impetus to CriticalTheory throughout its history, while at the same time showing the diversity among its proponents that contributes so much to its richness as a philosophical school. The result is an illuminating overview of the entire history of CriticalTheory in the twentieth century, an examination of its central conceptual concerns, and an in-depth discussion of its future prospects. (shrink)
This article argues that an application of Marxism to itself can help us transcend Gouldner's (1980) dichotomy between scientific and critical Marxism. After demonstrating that the paradigmatic document of scientific marxism, Marx's Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, turns the structural logic of capitalist economy into the basis for a transhistorical theory of social-economic development, this article explores the limitations of critical Marxism's response to scientific Marxism and concludes that a viable, not class-centered, (...) reformulation of the emancipatory project is possible through an analysis of capitalism's "dialectic of scarcity." The task of the emancipatory project, it is argued, is to turn humanity, and not the working class, from a political subject in itself to a political subject in and for itself. (shrink)
The point of departure of this study is Walter Benjamin’s last text, “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” Benjamin appeals to the significance of theology for historical materialism in order to overcome one of the decisive reasons why Marx’s unique theoretical project, in its positivistic interpretations, was not understood with the necessary radicality and had been in danger of losing its explanatory power and revolutionary impulse. The necessity of looking back to the past constitutes the basic theme of the (...) study, and it is analyzed at the epistemological, ontological and political levels. The view backwards is also necessary because the past shows how all its atrocities, which we think have been overcome, may at any time return in a way which we are unable to imagine. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction; 1. Coming of age in Wilhelmine Germany; 2. Student years in Frankfurt; 3. A materialist interpretation of the history of modern philosophy; 4. The beginnings of a criticaltheory of contemporary society; 5. Horkheimer's integration of psychoanalysis into his theory of contemporary society; 6. Horkheimer's concept of materialism in the early 1930s; 7. The anthropology of the bourgeois epoch; 8. Reflections on dialectical logic in the mid-1930s; Excursus I. The theoretical foundations (...) of Horkheimer's split with Erich Fromm in the late 1930s: Fromm's critique of Freud's drive theory; Excursus II. Divergence, estrangement, and gradual rapprochement: the evolution of Horkheimer and Adorno's theoretical relationship in the 1930s; 9. State capitalism - the end of Horkheimer's early criticaltheory; Epilogue: toward a historicization of Dialectic of Enlightenment and a reconsideration of Horkheimer's early criticaltheory. (shrink)
This paper explains the genealogical method as it is understood and employed in contemporary Continental philosophy. Using a pair of terms from Bernard Williams, genealogy is contrasted with phenomenology as an `unmasking' as opposed to a `vindicatory' method. The genealogical method is also compared with the method of Ideologiekritik and recent criticaltheory. Although genealogy is usually thought to be allergic to universals, in fact Foucault, Derrida, and Bourdieu do not shun universals, even if they approach them with (...) caution. The conclusion is that genealogy is a viable and productive approach to social criticism and self-transformation. (shrink)
The aim of the present paper is to show that Hegel’s concept of personal respect is of great interest to contemporary CriticalTheory. The author first analyzes this notion as it appears in the Philosophy of Right and then offers a new interpretation of the conceptual relation between personal respect and the institutions of (private) property and (capitalist) markets. In doing so, he shows why Hegel’s concept of personal respect allows us to understand markets as possible institutionalizations of (...) this kind of recognition, and why it is compatible with a critique of neoliberal capitalism. He argues that due to these features Hegel’s notion of personal respect is of great interest to theoreticians within the tradition of criticaltheory. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider succinctly the main Marxist objections to Honneth’s model of critical social theory, and Honneth’s key objections to Marx-inspired models. I then seek to outline a rapprochement between the two positions, by showing how Honneth’s normative concept of recognition is not antithetical to functionalist arguments, but in fact contains a social-theoretical dimension, the idea that social reproduction and social evolution revolve around struggles around the interpretation of core societal norms. By highlighting the social theoretical (...) side of recognition, one can outline a model of critical social theory that in fact corresponds to the descriptive and normative features outlined by Marx himself. However, the price of this rapprochement for Honnethian criticaltheory is a greater emphasis on the division of labour as the central mechanism of social reproduction. (shrink)
The evolution of Alfred Lindesmith's classic theory of addiction is analyzed as a product of the particular intellectual currents and controversies in and for which it was developed. These include the conflicts that pitted qualitative against quantitative sociology: the fledgling discipline of sociology against medicine, psychiatry, and psychology; and advocates of therapy for addicts against those who would simply punish them. By casting the meaningful experience of drug effects exclusively in terms of symbolically mediated mental representations of brute physiological (...) sensations, Lindesmith's theory posits an epistemologically untenable dualism between mental and bodily perception that unnecessarily limits the explanatory scope of sociological research. As an alternative to this dualism, a praxiological approach to the meaning of drug-induced behavior and experience is proposed. (shrink)
Over the last decade, Axel Honneth has established himself as one of the leading social and political philosophers in the world today. Rooted in the tradition of criticaltheory, his writings have been central to the revitalization of criticaltheory and have become increasingly influential. His theory of recognition has gained worldwide attention and is seen by some as the principal counterpart to Habermass theory of discourse ethics. In this important new volume, Honneth pursues (...) his path-breaking work on recognition by exploring the moral experiences of disrespect that underpin the conduct of social and political critique. What we might conceive of as a striving for social recognition initially appears in a negative form as the experience of humiliation or disrespect. Honneth argues that disrespect constitutes the systematic key to a comprehensive theory of recognition that seeks to clarify the sense in which institutionalized patterns of social recognition generate justified demands on the way subjects treat each other. This new book by one of the leading social and political philosophers of our time will be of particular interest to students and scholars in social and political theory and philosophy. (shrink)
Thoroughly revised, this new edition of CriticalTheory of Technology rethinks the relationships between technology, rationality, and democracy, arguing that the degradation of labor--as well as of many environmental, educational, and political systems--is rooted in the social values that preside over technological development. It contains materials on political theory, but the emphasis has shifted to reflect a growing interest in the fields of technology and cultural studies.
The struggle against liberalism in the totalitarian view of the state.--The concept of essence.--The affirmative character of culture.--Philosophy and criticaltheory.--On hedonism.--Industrialization and capitalism in the work of Max Weber.--Love mystified; a critique of Norman O. Brown and a reply to Herbert Marcuse by Norman O. Brown.--Aggressiveness in advanced industrial society.
Introduction : the politics of our selves -- Foucault, subjectivity, and the enlightenment : a critical reappraisal -- The impurity of practical reason : power and autonomy in Foucault -- Dependency, subordination, and recognition : Butler on subjection -- Empowering the lifeworld? autonomy and power in Habermas -- Contextualizing criticaltheory -- Engendering criticaltheory.
This book is the first comprehensive guide and introduction to the central theorists in the post-marxist intellectual tradition. In jargon free language it seeks to unpack, explain, and review many of the key figures behind the rethinking of the legacy of Marx and Marxism in theory and practice. Key thinkers covered include Cornelius Castoriadis, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Deleuze and Guattari, Laclau and Mouffe, Agnes Heller, Jacques Derrida, Jurgen Habermas and post-Marxist feminism. Underlying the whole text is the central question: What (...) is Post-Marxism? Each chapter covers a key thinker or contribution and thus can be read as a stand alone introduction to the principal aspects of their approach. Each chapter is also followed by a summary of key points with a guide to further reading. Key Thinkers from CriticalTheory to Post-Marxism provides an ideal introduction to a hitherto complex subject and will be essential reading for all students of contemporary social and political inquiry today. (shrink)
Foucault contra Habermas is an incisive examination of, and a comprehensive introduction to, the debate between Foucault and Habermas over the meaning of enlightenment and modernity. It reprises the key issues in the argument between criticaltheory and genealogy and is organised around three complementary themes: defining the context of the debate; examining the theoretical and conceptual tools used; and discussing the implications for politics and criticism. In a detailed reply to Habermas' Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, this volume (...) explains the difference between Habermas' philosophical practice (the transcendental critique) and Foucault's (the historical 'exercise'), between the analytics of truth and the politics of truth. Many of the most difficult arguments in the exchange are subject to a detailed critical analysis. This examination also includes discussion of the ethics of dialogue; the practice of criticism; the politics of recognition, and the function of civil society and democracy. Lucid and accessible - comprising the work of a diverse international and interdisciplinary group of scholars - Foucault contra Habermas will be essential reading for students of Social Theory; Politics; and Philosophy. (shrink)
Critical thinking, considered as a version of informallogic, must consider emotions and personal attitudesin assessing assertions and conclusions in anyanalysis of discourse. It must therefore presupposesome notion of the self. Criticaltheory may be seenas providing a substantive and non-neutral positionfor the exercise of critical thinking. It thereforemust presuppose some notion of the self. This paperargues for a Foucauldean position on the self toextend criticaltheory and provide a particularposition on the self for (...) class='Hi'>critical thinking. Thisposition on the self is developed from moretraditional accounts of the self from Descartes toSchopenhauer, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein. (shrink)
The present paper contributes to a growing body of philosophical, sociological, and historical analyses of recent nanoscale science and technology. Through a close examination of the origins of contemporary nanotech efforts, their ambitions, and strategic uses, it also aims to provide the basis for a criticaltheory of emerging technologies more generally, in particular in relation to their alleged convergence in terms of goals and outcomes. The emergence, allure, and implications of nanotechnology, it is argued, can only be (...) fully appreciated if one looks beyond its immediate technical and scientific payoffs to its infrastructural and ideological aspects. While nanotechnology aims to reshape the world 'atom by atom', its most tangible result so far has been the profound effect it has had on the organization of science-at-large, not least as the result of a thorough reshaping of the 'soft' funding infrastructure that places signifi cant constraints on the pursuit of long-term scientific research programmes. The paper concludes by noting a persistent, and perhaps deepening, gap between the utopian visions of some of nanotechnology's most vocal proponents and the realities of contemporary nanotechnological practice, which continue to be marked by global inequities. (shrink)
Introduction: the question of reason -- The Frankfurt School critique of reason -- Habermas's communicative rationality -- Macintyre's tradition-constituted reason -- A substantive reason -- Beyond relativism: reasonable progress and learning from -- Conclusion: toward a Thomistic-Aristotelian criticaltheory of society.
The aim of this paper is to present Sartre’s early philosophical anthropology and later existential Marxism as part of the development of a pure CriticalTheory that, with respect to its content and with respect to the context of its production, informs a trajectory that runs through the events of May ’68. Both Sartre’s pure CriticalTheory and the events of May ’68 share deep commitments to possibility, agency, and ethics. A different trajectory that runs through (...) May ’68 is the post-humanism of Foucault, which both contrasts directly with Sartrean CriticalTheory, and traces useful boundaries around it and its application. In the twenty-first century, significant elements of a CriticalTheory that remains committed to possibility, agency, and ethics, but that pays heed to Foucauldian boundaries, may be seen in the contestation of mainstream politics that at the same time stands on its own as an activism best exemplified by the alternative press. The contestation of propaganda is possible, and its completion requires that agents pit subjects against subjection as the way to a better future. (shrink)
This accessible and wide-ranging introduction to criticaltheory provides a comprehensive overview of the practice, role, and importance of theory across the humanities and social sciences. It not only maps a notoriously complex area, but it also enables the reader to take the arguments and apply them in practice. Starting with an explanation of how theory relies on implicit assumptions that inform interpretations, the book moves on to depict the long-term philosophical problems that have fed into (...) much 20th century thinking and also more recent debates. The philosophical grounds of contemporary thought are traced from Plato through Descartes to the work of Heidegger and Freud and on to recent developments in structuralism and deconstruction that critically revise many of the previous terms of debate. (shrink)
The paper examines two philosophical origins of multicultural education -- postmodern philosophy and criticaltheory. Criticaltheory is closely connected to grand narrative of liberation, while postmodern tradition rejects such narrative. The ambivalence of fundamental assumptions makes multicultural theory vulnerable to criticism. However, author maintains, this ambivalence can be a strength rather than a weakness of the multicultural theory. Using Mikhail Bakhtin's notion of polyphony, author attempts to show that incompatible theoretical perspectives may productively (...) coexist within framework of dialogical engagement. The result of such dialogical relations is reciprocal change and not an eventual merge. (shrink)
This paper explores what insights can be drawn from criticaltheory to enrich and strengthen Sen’s capability approach in relation to technology and human development. The two theories share some important commonalities: both are concerned with the pursuit of “a good life”; both are normative theories rooted in ethics and meant to make a difference, and both are interested in democracy. The paper provides a brief overview of both schools of thought and their applications to technology and human (...) development. Three areas are identified where criticaltheory can make a contribution to the capability approach: conceptually, by providing a critical account of individual agency and enriching the concept of technology beyond the simplistic notion of commodities; methodologically, by sensitising towards reification and hegemony of scientific tools, and, finally, by emphasising reflexivity of researchers. (shrink)
Jurgen Habermas' construction of a critical social theory of society grounded in communicative reason is one of the very few real philosophical inventions of recent times that demands and repays extended engagement. In this elaborate and sympathetic study which places Habermas' project in the context of criticaltheory as a whole past and future, J. M. Bernstein argues that despite its undoubted achievements, it contributes to the very problems of ethical dislocation and meaninglessness it aims to (...) diagnose and remedy. Bernstein further argues that the precise character of the failures of Habermas' program demonstrate the necessity for a return to the first generation criticaltheory of Adorno. Reading across nearly the whole range of Habermas' corpus, Recovering Ethical Life traces the development of the theory of communicative reason from its inception in Knowledge and Human Interests through its elaboration in The Theory of Communicative Action and into its defense against postmodernism in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity . In separate chapters Habermas' readings of Freud, Durkheim amd Mead, Adorno and Foucault, Castoriadis and Taylor are critically examined. The focus of Bernstein's analyses, however, is always problem centered and thematic rather than textual psychoanalytic theory as an account of self knowledge, the competing claims of ethical identity and moral reason, the place of judgment in practical reason, and the debate between philosophies of language based communities versus those oriented towards world-disclosure. Criticaltheory is unique among current philosophies in engaging with the problems of social injustice and nihilism by siding with an abstract moral reason that forfeits the processes of intersubjective recognition it intended to salvage. Even in the fine grain of Habermas' account of performative contradictions and the theory of discourses of application, Bernstein perceives a squandering of the resources of an ethical life in need of transfiguration. (shrink)
Containing over 750 in-depth entries, this is the most wide-ranging and up-to-date dictionary of criticaltheory available. It covers the whole range of criticaltheory, including the Frankfurt school, cultural materialism, cultural studies, gender studies, film studies, literary theory, hermeneutics, historical materialism, internet studies, and sociopolitical criticaltheory. Entries clearly explain even the most complex of theoretical discourses, such as Marxism, psychoanalysis, structuralism, deconstruction, and postmodernism. There are biographies of important figures in the (...) field, with feature entries for those who have heavily influenced areas of the discipline, e.g. Deleuze. -/- Entries are fully cross-referenced and contain further reading where appropriate. To provide extra information this edition features an appendix of recommended web links, which are accessible via the Dictionary of CriticalTheory companion website, where they are also checked regularly and kept up to date. -/- Covering all aspects of the subject from globalization and race studies, to queer theory and feminism, this multidisciplinary A-Z is essential for students of literary and cultural studies and is useful for anyone studying a humanity subject requiring a knowledge of theory. (shrink)
Modern technology is more than a neutral tool: it is the framework of our civilization and shapes our way of life. Social critics claim that we must choose between this way of life and human values. CriticalTheory of Technology challenges that pessimistic cliche. This pathbreaking book argues that the roots of the degradation of labor, education, and the environment lie not in technology per se but in the cultural values embodied in its design. Rejecting such popular solutions (...) as economic simplicity or spiritual renewal, Feenberg presents a compelling argument for broader democratic participation in technological choices. This book will be of special interest to scholars and students of philosophy, sociology, contemporary Marxism, and CriticalTheory. (shrink)
This paper aims at renovating the prospects for social philosophy through a confrontation between pragmatism and criticaltheory. In particular, it contends that the resources of pragmatism for advancing a project of emancipatory social philosophy have so far been neglected. After contrasting the two major traditions in social philosophy—the analytical and the critical—I proceed to outline the main traits of a pragmatist social philosophy. By inscribing pragmatism within the tradition of social philosophy, my aim is to promote (...) a new understanding of pragmatism as one of the central Euro-American traditions in social and political philosophy, deserving to be on an equal footing with criticaltheory and political liberalism. And, furthermore, one whose critical and radical force may be of great help in the wake of the dismissal of the metaphysical certainties upon which the critical program of social philosophy had once set its hopes of social emancipation. (shrink)
Information security can be of high moral value. It can equally be used for immoral purposes and have undesirable consequences. In this paper we suggest that criticaltheory can facilitate a better understanding of possible ethical issues and can provide support when finding ways of addressing them. The paper argues that criticaltheory has intrinsic links to ethics and that it is possible to identify concepts frequently used in criticaltheory to pinpoint ethical concerns. (...) Using the example of UK electronic medical records the paper demonstrates that a critical lens can highlight issues that traditional ethical theories tend to overlook. These are often linked to collective issues such as social and organisational structures, which philosophical ethics with its typical focus on the individual does not tend to emphasise. The paper suggests that this insight can help in developing ways of researching and innovating responsibly in the area of information security. (shrink)
The United States has some claim to have risen to a position of intellectual dominance in the social sciences in the post-war years. American social scientists are key players in international conferences and their premier publications have some claim to set international trends. Yet the relationship between American thought and global traditions has been peculiarly under-theorized. This unparalleled four-volume collection is divided into eight parts that focus on American post-war criticaltheory with special reference to social theory, (...) sociology and politics. It provides a comprehensive survey of the outstanding contributions in the field. Peter Beilharz, through a considered selection of articles, argues that American criticaltheory can be read not only as European, but also as profoundly American and North American. That is, it is hybrid, at the same time global and local in significance and inflection. In this way, the American experience can be read as a case study for doing criticaltheory today. This comprehensive collection amounts to a definitive guide to the currents and cross currents of American criticaltheory in the Postwar years. Peter Beilharz is Professor of Sociology at La Trobe University, Director of the Thesis Eleven Centre for CriticalTheory and Associate Fellow, Yale University in 2004 -. (shrink)
From Romanticism to CriticalTheory explores the philosophical roots of literary theory through the traditions of German philosophy that started with the Romantic reactions to Kant. Andrew Bowie traces the continuation of the Romantic tradition, culminating in Heidegger's approaches to art and truth, the work of Adorno and Benjamin and the Frankfurt School's CriticalTheory.
The topic of recognition has come to occupy a central place in contemporary debates in social and political theory. Rooted in Hegel's work, developed by George Herbert Mead and Charles Taylor, it has been given renewed expression in the recent program for CriticalTheory developed by Axel Honneth in his book The Struggle for Recognition. Honneth's research program offers an empirically insightful way of reflecting on emancipatory struggles for greater justice and a powerful theoretical tool for generating (...) a conception of justice and the good that enables the normative evaluation of such struggles. (shrink)
Criticaltheory has left an indelible mark on postwar social thought. But what are the relations between criticaltheory and 'the cultural turn' ? How did criticaltheory inform later French critical theorists, such as Lefebvre, Barthes and Baudrillard? This accomplished and accessible book: - Demonstrates the origins of criticaltheory in the Marxian analysis of the capitalist mode of production and Freudian psychoanalysis - Clearly explains the main achievements of (...) class='Hi'>criticaltheory - Elucidates how criticaltheory defines culture as a system that constrains and alienates the individual - Explores the potential for social change and personal emancipation in the critical heritage. The author locates the importance of myth and reason, the significance of sexuality, the place of work, the difference between art and entertainment, the nature of everyday life and the relationship between knowledge and action. The result is a lucid and informative text which will appeal to all students interested in the critical traditions of social thought. (shrink)
The pace of change in the world is accelerating, yet educational institutions have not kept pace. Indeed, schools have historically been the most static of social institutions, uncritically passing down from generation to generation outmoded didactic, lecture-and-drill-based, models of instruction. Predictable results follow. Students, on the whole, do not learn how to work by, or think for, themselves. They do not learn how to gather, analyze, synthesize and assess information. They do not learn how to analyze the diverse logic of (...) the questions and problems they face and hence how to adjust their thinking to those problems. They do not learn how to enter sympathetically into the thinking of others, nor how to deal rationally with conflicting points of view. They do not learn to become critical readers, writers, speakers and listeners. They do not learn how to use their native languages clearly, precisely, or persuasively. They do not, therefore, become ‘literate’, in the proper sense of the word. Neither do they gain much in the way of genuine knowledge since, for the most part, they could not explain the basis for what they believe. They would be hard pressed to explain, for example, which of their beliefs were based on rational assent and which on simple conformity to what they have been told. They have little sense as to how they might critically analyze their own experience, or identify national or group bias in their own thinking. They are much more apt to learn on the basis of irrational than rational modes of thought. They lack the traits of mind of a genuinely educated person: intellectual humility, courage, integrity, perseverance, and faith in reason.Happily, there is a movement in education today striving to address these problems in a global way, with strategies and materials for the modification of instruction at all levels of education. At its foundation is an emerging new theory of knowledge, learning, and literacy, one which recognizes the centrality of independent critical thinking to all substantial learning, one which recognizes that higher-order, multilogical thinking is as important to childhood as to adult learning, and as important to foundational learning in monological as in multilogical disciplines. This educational reform movement is not proposing an educational miracle cure, for its leading proponents recognize that many social and historical forces must come together before the ideals of the critical thinking movement will become a full academic reality. Schools do not exist in a social vacuum. To the extent that the broader society is uncritical so, on the whole, will be society's schools. Nevertheless, the social conditions necessary for fundamental changes in schooling are increasingly apparent. The pressure for fundamental change is growing. Whether and to what extent these needed basic changes will be delayed or side-tracked, thus requiring new periodic resurgences of this movement, with new, more elaborate articulations of its ideals, goals, and methods — only time will tell. (shrink)
This book examines the issue of philosophical skepticism in the light of its relevance for the critique of modernity associated with the Frankfurt School. It situates the problem of skepticism in the context of the history of philosophy and explores its significance for the modern crisis of reason, as manifested in post-Kantian philosophy, which presaged the critical turn toward social theory.
This paper explores the paradox of the Frankfurt School's CriticalTheory where the notion of "criticaltheory" became identified with aesthetics and asks whether the disappearance of the political dimension of criticaltheory was necessary.This disappearance of the political also presents some uncomfortable affinities between it and postmodernism. But in the more sober world after 1989, post-communism poses more relevant questions than post-modernism for an assessment of the history of the Frankfurt School.The political (...) project of the old Frankfurt School has to be revivified - or at least given a decent burial. (shrink)
The intention of this article is to reconstruct the debate between Hans-Georg Gadamer and Jürgen Habermas which occurred between the end of the 1960s and the start of the 1970s. In order to observe this period the later developments of these thinkers won’t be taken into account. The article plans to examine the central problematic of the debate related to the difficult relationship between historic tradition and critical reflection. The tension between these two terms will be used as a (...) reference for discussing the relationships between hermeneutics and criticaltheory. (shrink)