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)
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)
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)
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)
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 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)
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.
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”.
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)
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)
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 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)
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)
Since its emergence in Marx by way of German idealism, what has come to be known as criticaltheory has remained powerfully appealing while being plagued with fundamental problems which its more sophisticated proponents have to some extent recognized and wrestled with. I shall connect these problems to a serious equivocation within criticaltheory concerning the kind of theory it aims to be, an equivocation which can be traced to Marx and which has manifested itself (...) in different ways throughout the tradition of criticaltheory. My central objective is to indicate that what criticaltheory sees as its defining theoretical move in fact gives rise to the equivocation and is the ultimate source of its persistent and most vexing problems. (shrink)
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)
ABSTRACTWhile Hegel’s concept of second nature has now received substantial attention from commentators, relatively little has been said about the place of this concept in the Phenomenology of Spirit. This neglect is understandable, since Hegel does not explicitly use the phrase ‘second nature’ in this text. Nonetheless, several closely related phrases reveal the centrality of this concept to the Phenomenology’s structure. In this paper, I develop new interpretations of the figures ‘natural consciousness’, ‘natural notion’, and ‘inorganic nature’, in order to (...) elucidate the distinctive concept of second nature at work in the Phenomenology. I will argue that this concept of second nature supplements the ‘official’ version, developed in the Encyclopedia, with an ‘unofficial’ version that prefigures its use in criticaltheory. At the same time, this reconstruction will allow us to see how the Phenomenology essentially documents spirit’s acquisition of a ‘second nature’. (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.
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: ...
Classical philosophical Daoism as it is expressed in the Dao-De-Jing and the Zhuang-Zi is often interpreted as lacking a capacity for critique and resistance. Since these capacities are taken to be central components of Enlightenment reason and action, it would follow that Daoism is incompatible with Enlightenment. This interpretation is being refuted by way of developing a constructive dialogue between the enlightenment traditions of criticaltheory and recent philosophy of action from a Daoist perspective. Daoism's normative naturalism does (...) neither rest on a primitivist call for a return to the past, nor does it suggest future-directed activism. By way of reconstructing its descriptive, explanatory and emancipatory dimensions, it is shown that Daoism constitutes an alternative form of criticaltheory. In contrast to future-directed purposive action or blind rule-following, Daoism's key normative concept of "wu-wei" emphasizes effortless non-calculative responsiveness in the present. Drawing on recent insights in the philosophy of action, a reconstruction of wu-wei allows to conceive of a promising form of emancipatory agency. (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 article investigates the importance of the evolution of Adornos interpretation of Husserl for the formation of his own philosophy. The weakness of Husserl notion of immediate data is revealed within the light of Hans Corneliuss Transcendentale Systematik . When Adorno discovers in his Habilitationsschrift the importance of the social setting and ideological function of theory, he departs from Cornelius transcendentalism as norm for his reflection - and this insight is deployed against Husserl. Henceforth, Husserls philosophy is interpreted as (...) idealist, as a prima philosophia , as a philosophy of identity and totality and ultimately in service of the totalitarian political tendencies Key Words: Theodor Adorno Hans Cornelius criticaltheory first philosophy Edmund Husserl phenomenology transcendental idealism. (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)
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)
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.
In this paper I will argue that criticaltheory needs to make its socio-ontological commitments explicit, whilst on the other hand I will posit that contemporary social ontology needs to amend its formalistic approach by embodying a criticaltheory perspective. In the first part of my paper I will discuss how the question was posed in Horkheimer’s essays of the 1930s, which leave open two options: (1) a constructive inclusion of social ontology within social philosophy, or (...) else (2) a program of social philosophy that excludes social ontology. Option (2) corresponds to Adorno’s position, which I argue is forced to recur to a hidden social ontology. Following option (1), I first develop a metacritical analysis of Searle, arguing that his social ontology presupposes a notion of 'recognition' which it cannot account for. Furthermore, by means of a critical reading of Honneth, I argue that criticaltheory could incorporate a socioontological approach, giving value to the constitutive socio-ontological role of recognition and to the socio-ontological role of objectification. I will finish with a proposal for a socio-ontological characterization of reification which involves that the basic occurrence of recognition is to be grasped at the level of background practices. (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.
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 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)