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)
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)
In the system of the philosophical and sociological ideas of the Frankfurt School the "criticaltheory" of society occupies the central place. In the "criticaltheory" are interwoven all the most significant aspects of the philosophical, economic, political, sociological, psychological, aesthetic, and ethical ideas dealt with by the representatives of this school. And therefore it is not accidental that the concept of the "criticaltheory" of society is employed frequently as a synonym of the (...) social philosophy of the Frankfurt School. The multi-leveled problematique of the "criticaltheory" of society, and the contradictoriness of the theoretical positions of its adherents, complicate critical analysis. Therefore, the explanation of its methodological orientation, which can help us to understand better the existence and actual philosophical nature of this theory, has important significance for our discussion. (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 Jürgen 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. (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)
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.
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)
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.
Displaying an impressive command of complex materials, Seyla Benhabib reconstructs the history of theories from a systematic point of view and examines the origins and transformations of the concept of critique from the works of Hegel to Habermas. Through investigating the model of the philosophy of the subject, she pursues the question of how Hegel´s critiques might be useful for reforumulating the foundations of critical social theory.
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 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)
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)
From Romanticism to CriticalTheory explores the philosophical origins of literary theory via the tradition of German philosophy that began with the Romantic reaction to Kant. It traces the continuation of the Romantic tradition of Novalis, Friedrich Schlegel and Schleiermacher, in Heidegger's approaches to art and thruth, and in the CriticalTheory of Benjamin and Adorno. Andrew Bowie argues, against many current assumptions, that the key aspect of literary theory is not the demonstration of (...) how meaning can be deconstructed, but rather the relevation of how questions of language and literature change modern philosophical conceptions of thruth. He shows how the dialogue between literary theory, hermeneutics and analytical philosophy can profit from a re-examination of the understanding of language, thruth and literature in modern German philosophy. From Romanticism to CriticalTheory will provide a vital new introduction to central theoretical questions for students of philosophy, literature, German studies, cultural and social theory. (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)
Creativity: Theory, History, Practice offers important new perspectives on creativity in the light of contemporary criticaltheory and cultural history. Innovative in approach as well as argument, the book crosses disciplinary boundaries and builds new bridges between the critical and the creative. It is organized in four parts: · Why creativity now? offers much-needed alternatives to both the Romantic stereotype of the creator as individual genius and the tendency of the modern creative industries to (...) treat everything as a commodity. · Defining creativity, creating definitions traces the changing meaning of "create" from religious ideas of divine creation from nothing to advertising notions of concept creation. It also examines the complex history and extraordinary versatility of terms such as imagination, invention, inspiration and originality. · Creation as myth, story, metaphor begins with modern re-telling of early African, American and Australian creation myths and -picking up Biblical and evolutionary accounts along the way - works round to scientific visions of the Big Bang, bubble universes and cosmic soup. · Creative practices, cultural processes is a critical anthology of materials, chosen to promote fresh thinking about everything from changing constructions of "literature" and "design" to artificial intelligence and genetic engineering. Rob Pope takes significant steps forward in the process of rethinking a vexed yet vital concept, all the while encouraging and equipping readers to continue the process in their own creative or "re-creative" ways. Creativity: Theory, History, Practice is invaluable for anyone with a live interest in exploring what creativity has been, is currently, and yet may be. (shrink)
In this article I want to outline an argument for a New CriticalTheory with a cosmopolitan intent. Its main purpose is to undermine one of the most powerful beliefs of our time concerning society and politics. This belief is the notion that “modern society” and “modern politics” are to be understood as society and politics organized around the nation‐state, equating society with the national imagination of society. There are two aspects to this body of beliefs: what I (...) call the “national perspective” of social actors, and the “methodological nationalism” of scientific observers. The distinction between these two perspectives is important because there is no logical co‐implication between them, only an interconnected genesis and history. (shrink)
In the humanities, the term criticaltheory has had many meanings in different historical contexts. From the end of World War II through the 1960s, the term signified the use of critical and theoretical approaches within major disciplines of the humanities such as art history, literary studies, and more broadly, cultural studies. From the 1970s, the term entered into the rapidly evolving area of film and media studies. Criticaltheory took on at the same (...) time a more specialized sense describing the work of the Frankfurt School that itself rapidly spread through many disciplines of the humanities and social sciences in the English-speaking world from the 1970s on. (shrink)
It is not easy to give up on a tradition that promises to rationalize, explain, and thereby ultimately help improve, society. This article narrates the history of CriticalTheory in three stages, following the dynamics of its own self-criticism during distinct historical periods and within different societies. Horkheimer/Adorno, Habermas and Honneth are read as participating in a philosophical project of societal rationalism which can be criticized by appeal to a pragmatist view of social theories, and specifically the (...) ‘pragmatic maxim’. In spite of its post-metaphysical announcements, CriticalTheory overextends itself when it seeks to reconcile fully the normative and the empirical. An alternative, and more explicitly ethical and empirically controllable, scheme for critical theories is suggested. (shrink)
En el contexto de la pregunta por el destino de la Teoría Crítica, la discusión entre Axel Honneth y Jürgen Habermas sobre el cambio en el paradigma de la Filosofía Política y Social con la tesis "de la comunicación al reconocimiento" gira aquí en torno a una reconstrucción crítica de la filosofía de Immanuel Kant, un Kant ´moderado´ en un modelo ´explicativo´ o ´hermenéutico´, y así ´irrebasable´ del progreso moral, rompiendo su sistema, y un Kant ´destrascendentalizado´, apto para fundamentar la (...) necesidad de un diálogo entre la razón y la fe. ¿Por qué Kant y no Georg Hegel, central este último para los dos filósofos alemanes en su superación de las aporías de la primera generación de la Teoría Crítica? Pero ¿dónde queda Karl Marx, tan importante para los fundadores de la Escuela de Frankfurt? Y ¿no había exigido Habermas en 2009 con motivo del aniversario de su discípulo, que Honneth, después de su viaje de Marx a Hegel, hiciera el necesario regreso? De tal manera que en esta vuelta, Honneth trajera en su equipaje lo rescatado del Idealismo Alemán. Así la historia de la Teoría Crítica queda inconclusa. In the context of the question for the fate of the CriticalTheory, the debate between Axel Honneth and Jürgen Habermas on the change in the paradigm of Social and Political Philosophy with the thesis "from communication to recognition" here revolves around a critical reconstruction of Immanuel Kant’s philosophy, a ‘moderated’ Kant in an ‘explanatory’ or ‘hermeneutic’ model, and so ‘unsurpassable’ moral progress, breaking his system, and a ‘distranscended’ Kant, suitable to substantiate the need for a dialogue between reason and faith. Why Kant and not Georg Hegel, the latter being central for the two German philosophers in their overcoming of the aporias of the first generation of the CriticalTheory? But where it remains Karl Marx, so important to the founders of the Frankfurt School? And in 2009, on the occasion of the anniversary of his disciple, had not Habermas demanded that Honneth, after his journey from Marx to Hegel, made the necessary back? In such a way that in this return, Honneth brought the salvage of German Idealism in his luggage. This way the history of the CriticalTheory remains incomplete. (shrink)
I propose a conception of criticaltheory that is an alternative to that of the Frankfurt School and Habermas. It is based on the assumptions that criticaltheory is not unique but started off with the 5th century BC movement of the sophists that aimed at an understanding of society free from superstition and prejudice, can be better understood by considering the history of social thinking, does not look for knowledge for knowledge’s sake but for (...) solving practical problems, distinguishes basic social problems from dependent problems, looks for and defends a value to guide it both in its research and its solutions, prefers the value of capability development to that of happiness. (shrink)
Finland is internationally known as one of the leading centers of twentieth century analytic philosophy. This volume offers for the first time an overall survey of the Finnish analytic school. The rise of this trend is illustrated by original articles of Edward Westermarck, Eino Kaila, Georg Henrik von Wright, and Jaakko Hintikka. Contributions of Finnish philosophers are then systematically discussed in the fields of logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, history of philosophy, ethics and social philosophy. Metaphilosophical reflections (...) on the nature of philosophy are highlighted by the Finnish dialogue between analytic philosophy, phenomenology, pragmatism, and criticaltheory. (shrink)
The article is a review of Hauke Brunkhorst’s book on a _Critical Theory of Legal Revolutions_. The author addresses three points: Hauke Brunkhorst’s notion of history, and of what remains unseen; the dialectics of evolution and revolution, and whether the approach is sufficiently dialectic, according to its own promise; and the implicit notion of critique.