Tim Henning
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
This paper discusses an autobiographical approach to Critical Theory, an approach which, as I argue, can be found in Walter Benjamin′s work. The core idea is that remembering one′s own life within a certain culture provides a productive method for a differentiated critique of this culture. In order to explain and defend this I idea, I draw on resources from both analytic philosophy and Benjamin′s work. Along the way, I describe Benjamin′s distinctive mode of ideology critique, a mode of critique that Habermas calls “rettende Kritik.” What is attractive about autobiographical recollection is that it provides precisely the kind of epistemic and evaluative perspective that is suitable for this subtle form of social criticism. Remembering one′s past can allow us to criticize past ideologies while simultaneously acknowledging that they may articulate valid ideals of the good life
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DOI 10.1524/dzph.2010.0030
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