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)
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)
The CriticalTheory of the early Frankfurt School promised, in Adorno’s words, a ‘rational critique of reason’. Science and Technology Studies can play a role in the renewal of this approach. STS is based on a critique of the very same technocratic and scientistic assumptions against which CriticalTheory argues. Its critique of positivism and determinism has political implications. But at its origins STS took what Wiebe Bijker called the ‘detour into the academy’ in order to (...) institutionalize itself as a social science. It adopted empirical methods, developed case histories, and limited its scope, avoiding politically controversial issues. Its latent political critique has become explicit in recent years as STS has responded to the rise of technical politics by broadening its concerns. Its wide scope converges with the equally encompassing CriticalTheory. Together, STS and CriticalTheory offer a new concept of politics. (shrink)
There is a “Pragmatist turn” visible in the field of organization science today, resulting from a renewed interest in the work of Pragmatist philosophers like Dewey, Mead, Peirce, James and others, and in its implications for the study of organizations. Following Wicks and Freeman, in the past decade Pragmatism has also entered the field of business ethics, which, however, has not been uniformly applauded in that field. Some scholars fear that Pragmatism may enhance already existing positivist and managerialist tendencies in (...) current business ethics, while others see more emancipatory potential in Pragmatism, arguing that it complements and supports stakeholder theory. In this paper, a comparison of the philosophical underpinnings of Pragmatist and Critical conceptions of business ethics is offered, concentrating on the Pragmatism of John Dewey and the Criticaltheory of the Frankfurt School, in particular of Axel Honneth. It is argued that these two developed along two converging lines. Along the first line, Dewey was far more skeptical and critical of capitalism than is often thought. Along the second line, the reactions to Pragmatism of Frankfurt School Critical theorists developed over time from generally hostile, to partially inclusive, to more fully integrative. At the crossroads of these converging lines a Pragmatist Critical perspective is developed and exemplified, and its implications for business ethics are outlined. (shrink)
The CriticalTheory of Axel Honneth provides a comprehensive study of the work of Axel Honneth, offering a critical reconstruction of his project in relation the themes of power, critique, and the intersubjective paradigm.
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.
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)
2. Class,. class. conflict. and. the. development. of. capitalism: critical. theory. and. political. economy. In the last ten years the work of the best- known representatives of the Frankfurt school has come to be associated with two basic concerns: ...
This paper begins by defending the twofold relevance, political and theoretical, of the notion of social suffering. Social suffering is a notion politics cannot do without today, as it seems indispensable to describe all the aspects of contemporary injustice. As such, it has been taken up in a number of significant research programmes in different social sciences (sociology, anthropology, social psychology). The notion however poses significant conceptual problems as it challenges disciplinary boundaries traditionally set up to demarcate individual and social (...) phenomena. I argue that philosophy has a role to play in the attempt to integrate the diverging perspectives stemming from the social sciences. I attempt to show that, as it engages with the social sciences to account for the conceptual and normative issues thrown open by the question of social suffering, philosophy in fact retrieves the very idea of criticaltheory, as a conjugated critique of social reality and of its knowledge. I conclude by showing how the question of social suffering then becomes a useful criterion to distinguish between the different existing approaches in criticaltheory. (shrink)
Jurgen Habermas's critical communications theory of society has excited widespread interest in recent years. The essays in this book explore the research implications of Habermas's theory for the analysis of modern problems of public life.
This paper explores the sense in which modern societies can be said to be rational. Social rationality cannot be understood on the model of an idealized image of scientific method. Neither science nor society conforms to this image. Nevertheless, critique is routinely silenced by neo-liberal and technocratic arguments that appeal to social simulacra of science. This paper develops a critical strategy for addressing the resistance of rationality to rational critique. Romantic rejection of reason has proven less effective than strategies (...) that conceptualize modern artefacts, systems, and organizations as rationally underdetermined. This approach first appears in Marx's analysis of capitalist economics. Although he lacks the concept of underdetermination, Marx gets around the silencing effect of social rationality with something very much like it in his discussion of the length of the working day. Frankfurt School CriticalTheory later blended romantic elements with Marxian ones in a suggestive but ambiguous mixture. The concept of underdetermination reappears in contemporary science and technology studies, now clearly articulated and philosophically and sociologically elaborated. But somewhere along the way the critical thrust was diluted. Criticaltheory of technology attempts to recover that thrust. Here its approach is generalized to cover the three main forms of social rationality. (shrink)
Philosophical controversies within contemporary criticaltheory arise largely from questions about the nature, scope and limits of human reason. As the linguistic turn in twentieth-century philosophy has increasingly given way to a sociocritical turn, traditional ideas of 'pure' reason have been left further and further behind. There is however considerable disagreement about what that shift entails for enlightenment ideals of self-consciousness, self-determination, and self-realization. In this book two prominent philosophers bring these disagreements into focus around a set of (...) familiar philosophical issues concerning reason and the rational subject, truth and representation, knowledge and objectivity, identity and difference, relativism and universalism, the right and the good. But these "perennial problems" are resituated within the context of criticaltheory as it has developed from the work of the Frankfurt School in the 1930's and 1940's to the multiplicity of contemporary approaches: genealogical, hermeneutic, neopragmatist, deconstructive, and reconstructive. (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)
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.
Axel Honneth makes initial and promising steps towards what could be called a two-level account of recognition, according to which the normatively substantial forms of recognition represent various manners in which the primordial acquaintedness with others is expressed. It will be argued that Honneth's promising approach must be revised in regard to the issue of intentionality, which may be achieved by reference to earlier critical theorists such as Adorno and Arendt. With such a foundation, criticaltheory can (...) enter into new fruitful interdisciplinary dialogue. (shrink)
This article offers a perspective on the criticaltheory of justice by presenting a structural and processual reconstruction of Rainer Forst’s intriguing yet somewhatopaque concept of a basic structure of justification which is central to his proposed critique of justificatory relations. It shows from a cognitive-sociological perspective what a cooperative relation between a philosophical theory of justice and a social scientific approach could mean for criticaltheory. A basic structure of justification is revealed to be (...) a cognitively available reflexive order above the order of substantive social and political relations that allows the identifi cation, explanation and transformative critique of reflexivity deficits induced by hegemonic, ideological, repressive or obfuscating means. Far from being exclusively a theoretical and methodological tool, however, it is in principle accessible to those involved and affected on whose experience, suffering and critique criticaltheory vitally depends. (shrink)
Historically, blatantly untrue and defamatory conspiracy theories had disastrous consequences for those who were portrayed in them as evil-doers. At the same time, conspiratorial agreements at the expense of the common good between powerful groups in society do exist and have occasionally been uncovered. Against this background, the article describes different ways in which criticaltheory has looked at conspiracies. First, an attempt is made to show that Max Horkheimer's notes on `rackets' are an ambitious but flawed attempt (...) to theorize conspiracy. It is argued that Horkheimer's theory is imbued by the very conspiracy thinking that he proposed to criticize. Second, the author suggests recovering Franz Neumann's concept of `political alienation' as a more appropriate starting point to think critically about the ethical and epistemological questions raised by conspiracy theories. (shrink)
In this article, I address the various objections raised by Simone Chambers, Stephen White and Lea Ypi concerning my version of a criticaltheory of politics. I explain the basic assumptions that inform my account of a critique of relations of justification, its particular method and aims.
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)
In Critique and Disclosure, Nikolas Kompridis argues provocatively for a richer and more time-responsive criticaltheory. He calls for a shift in the normative and critical emphasis of criticaltheory from the narrow concern with rules and procedures of Jürgen Habermas's model to a change-enabling disclosure of possibility and the enlargement of meaning. Kompridis contrasts two visions of criticaltheory's role and purpose in the world: one that restricts itself to the normative clarification (...) of the procedures by which moral and political questions should be settled and an alternative rendering that conceives of itself as a possibility-disclosing practice. At the center of this resituation of criticaltheory is a normatively reformulated interpretation of Martin Heidegger's idea of "disclosure" or "world disclosure." In this regard Kompridis reconnects criticaltheory to its normative and conceptual sources in the German philosophical tradition and sets it within a romantic tradition of philosophical critique.Drawing not only on his sustained critical engagement with the thought of Habermas and Heidegger but also on the work of other philosophers including Wittgenstein, Cavell, Gadamer, and Benjamin, Kompridis argues that criticaltheory must, in light of modernity's time-consciousness, understand itself as fully situated in its time--in an ever-shifting and open-ended horizon of possibilities, to which it must respond by disclosing alternative ways of thinking and acting. His innovative and original argument will serve to move the debate over the future of critical studies forward--beyond simple antinomies to a consideration of, as he puts it, "what criticaltheory should be if it is to have a future worthy of its past.". (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)
A critique of contemporary criticaltheory that traces transformative shifts in the discipline during the twentieth century and argues for a reformulation of criticaltheory in order to ensure the legacy of its political project.
_The Handbook of Critical Theory_ brings together for the first time a detailed examination of the state of criticaltheory today. The fifteen essays provide analyses of the various orientations which criticaltheory has taken both historically and systematically in recent years, expositions of the new perspectives which have begun to shape the field, and reflections upon the direction of criticaltheory.
This article elaborates a normative Stakeholder Management Theory (SHMT) from a criticaltheory perspective. The paper argues that the normative theory elaborated by critical theorists such as Habermas exhibits important advantages over its rivals and that these advantages provide the basis for a theoretically more adequate version of SHMT. In the first section of the paper an account is given of normative theory from a criticaltheory perspective and its advantages over rival (...) traditions. A key characteristic of the criticaltheory approach is expressed as a distinction between three different normative realms, viz., legitimacy, morality, and ethics. In the secondsection, the outlines of a theory of stakeholder management are provided. First, three basic tasks of a theoretically adequate treatment of the normative analysis of stakeholder management are identified. This is followed by a discussion of how a criticaltheory approach to SHMT is able to fulfill these three tasks. (shrink)
In this paper I take issue with Rainer Forst's claim that his account of the demand for justification that is at the core of the idea of justice provides our political thinking with a final “fundamentum inconcussum”.
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)
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)
In this paper the author is attempting to establish the relationship - or the lack of it - of the CriticalTheory to the "Jewish question" and justification of perceiving signs of Jewish religious heritage in the thought of the representatives of this movement. The holocaust marked out by the name of "Auschwitz", is here tested as a point where the nature of this relationship has been decided. In this encounter with the cardinal challenge for the contemporary social (...)theory, the particularity of the Frankfurt School reaction is here revealed through Adorno installing Auschwitz as unexpected but lawful emblem of the ending of the course that modern history has assumed. The critique of this "fascination" with Auschwitz, as well as certain theoretical pacification and measured positioning of the holocaust into discontinued plane of "unfinished" and continuation and closure of the valued project, are given through communicative-theoretical pre-orientation of J?rgen Habermas?s CriticalTheory and of his followers. Finally, through the work of Detlev Claussen, it is suggested that in the youngest generation of Adorno?s students there are signs of revision to once already revised CriticalTheory and a kind of defractured and differentiated return to the initial understanding of the decisiveness of the holocaust experience. This shift in the attitude of the CriticalTheory thinkers to the provocation of holocaust is not, however, particularly reflected towards the status of Jews and their tradition, but more to the age old questioning and explanatory patterns for which they served as a "model". The question of validity of the enlightenment project, the nature of occidental rationalism, existence of historical theology and understanding of the identity and emancipation - describe the circle of problems around which the disagreement is concentrated in the social criticaltheory. U ovoj studiji autor nastoji da ustanovi odnos - ili manjak odnosa - Kriticke teorije drustva prema "jevrejskom pitanju", te opravdanost uvidjanja eventualnih tragova jevrejskog religijskog nasledja u misljenju njenih predstavnika. Pritom se holokaust, amblematicki naznacen u imenu "Ausvic" iskusava kao tacka na kojoj se odlucivalo o karakteru tog odnosa. U tom susretu sa kardinalnim izazovom za savremenu drustvenu teoriju, posebnost reakcije Frankfurtske skole izlaze se preko Adornovog instaliranja Ausvica u neoCekivano ali zakonito znamenje kraja onog toka koji je moderna istorija poprimila. Kritike ove "opcinjenosti" Ausvicom, kao i izvesna teorijska pacifikacija i odmereno smestanje holokausta u diskontinuiranu ravan jednog "nedovrsenog" i nastavljanja i dovrsenja vrednog projekta, date su kroz komunikativno teorijsku preorijentaciju Kriticke teorije Jirgena Habermasa i nastavljaca. Najzad se preko dela Detlefa Klausena sugerise da u najmladjoj generaciji Adornovih ucenika postoje signali revizije jednom vec revidirane Kriticke teorije i jednog prelomljenog i diferenciranog povratka izvornim uvidima u odlucnost iskustva holokausta. Ova mena u stavovima Kritickih teoreticara drustva prema provokaciji holokausta se, medjutim, ne ogledu u nekakvoj partikularnoj usmerenosti na status Jevreja i njihove tradicije, vec radije u onim vec dugovekim nedoumenjima i eksplanatornim matricama za koja su posluzili kao "model". Pitanja validnosti projekta prosvetiteljstva prirode okcidentalne racionalnosti, postojanja istorijske teleologije i razumevanja koncepcija identiteta i emancipacije - opisuju onaj problemski krug oko kojega se, i kada je o holokaustu rec, koncentrisu nesaglasja Kriticke teorije drustva. (shrink)