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Encyclopedia > Frankfurt school
Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and Jürgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg
Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and Jürgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg

The Frankfurt School is a school of neo-Marxist critical theory, social research, and philosophy. The grouping emerged at the Institute for Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung) of the University of Frankfurt am Main in Germany when Max Horkheimer became the Institute's director in 1930. The term "Frankfurt School" is an informal term used to designate the thinkers affiliated with the Institute for Social Research or influenced by them. It is not the title of any institution, and the main thinkers of the Frankfurt School did not use the term to describe themselves. Image File history File links Mergefrom. ... Critical theory, in sociology and philosophy, is shorthand for critical theory of society or critical social theory, a label used by the Frankfurt School, i. ... In the humanities and social sciences, critical theory has two quite different meanings with different origins and histories, one originating in social theory and the other in literary criticism. ... Critical theory, in sociology and philosophy, is shorthand for critical theory of society or critical social theory, a label used by the Frankfurt School, i. ... Image File history File links Adorno, Horkheimer, and Habermas in 1965, rendered to PNG from Image:Adornohorkhab. ... Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and Jürgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg Max Horkheimer (February 14, 1895 – July 7, 1973) was a Jewish-German philosopher and sociologist, known especially as the founder and guiding thinker of the Frankfurt School of critical theory. ... Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and Jürgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg. ... Jürgen Habermas (IPA: ; born June 18, 1929) is a German philosopher and sociologist in the tradition of critical theory and American pragmatism. ... Year 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1965 Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Heidelberg (disambiguation). ... Neo-Marxism was a 20th century school that harked back to the early writings of Marx before the influence of Engels which focused on dialectical idealism rather than dialectical materialism, and thus rejected the economic determinism of early Marx, focusing instead on a non-physical, psychological revolution. ... In the humanities and social sciences, critical theory has two quite different meanings with different origins and histories, one originating in social theory and the other in literary criticism. ... Social research refers to research conducted by social scientists (primarily within sociology, but also within other disciplines such as social policy, human geography, social anthropology and education). ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... The Institute for Social Research (German: Institut für Sozialforschung) is a research organization covering topics such as sociology and continental philosophy, best known as the institutional home of the Frankfurt School. ... The Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main (commonly called the University of Frankfurt) was founded in 1914 as a Citizens University, which means that while it was a State university of Prussia, it had been founded and financed by the wealthy and active liberal citizenry of Frankfurt am... Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and Jürgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg Max Horkheimer (February 14, 1895 – July 7, 1973) was a Jewish-German philosopher and sociologist, known especially as the founder and guiding thinker of the Frankfurt School of critical theory. ... Year 1930 (MCMXXX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display 1930 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The Frankfurt School gathered together dissident Marxists, severe critics of capitalism who believed that some of Marx's followers had come to parrot a narrow selection of Marx's ideas, usually in defense of orthodox Communist or Social-Democratic parties. Influenced especially by the failure of working-class revolutions in Western Europe after World War I and by the rise of Nazism in an economically, technologically advanced nation (Germany), they took up the task of choosing what parts of Marx's thought might serve to clarify social conditions which Marx himself had never seen. They drew on other schools of thought to fill in Marx's perceived omissions. Max Weber exerted a major influence, as did Sigmund Freud (as in Herbert Marcuse's Freudo-Marxist synthesis in the 1954 work Eros and Civilization). Their emphasis on the "critical" component of theory was derived significantly from their attempt to overcome the limits of positivism, crude materialism, and phenomenology by returning to Kant's critical philosophy and its successors in German idealism, principally Hegel's philosophy, with its emphasis on negation and contradiction as inherent properties of reality. A key influence also came from the publication in the 1930s of Marx's Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts and The German Ideology, which showed the continuity with Hegelianism that underlay Marx's thought. Marcuse was one of the first to articulate the theoretical significance of these texts. Erich Fromm, an under-represented member of the school, is credited with bringing it a psychoanalytic focus. However, members Adorno and Horkheimer attempted to belittle Fromm's contributions, even though a central theme, "The Authoritarian Character," developed directly from Fromm's research on the subject.[1] Marxism is both the theory and the political practice (that is, the praxis) derived from the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. ... For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ... Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a 19th century philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... In modern usage, the term communist party is generally used to identify any political party which has adopted communist ideology. ... Social democracy is a political ideology emerging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from supporters of Marxism who believed that the transition to a socialist society could be achieved through democratic evolutionary rather than revolutionary means. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Nazism in history Nazi ideology Nazism and race Outside Germany Related subjects Lists Politics Portal         Nazism or National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), refers primarily to the ideology and practices of the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party, German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) under Adolf Hitler. ... For the politician, see Max Weber (politician). ... Sigmund Freud (IPA: ), born Sigismund Schlomo Freud (May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939), was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. ... Herbert Marcuse (July 19, 1898 – July 29, 1979) was a German-born philosopher, sociologist and a member of the Frankfurt School. ... Freudo-Marxism is a loose designation of several twentieth-century critical theory schools of thought that sought to synthesize the philosophy and political economy of Karl Marx with the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud. ... Year 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Eros and Civilization is one of the Herbert Marcuses best known early works. ... Positivism is a philosophy that states that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only come from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific method. ... In philosophy, materialism is that form of physicalism which holds that the only thing that can truly be said to exist is matter; that fundamentally, all things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions; that matter is the only substance. ... This article is about the philosophical movement. ... Kant redirects here. ... Attributed to Immanuel Kant, the critical philosophy movement sees the primary task of philosophy as criticism rather than justification of knowledge; criticism, for Kant, meant judging as to the possibilities of knowledge before advancing to knowledge itself (from the Greek kritike (techne), or art of judgment). The initial, and perhaps... This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedias quality standards. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (IPA: ) (August 27, 1770 – November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher and, with Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, one of the representatives of German idealism. ... Negation (i. ... Broadly speaking, a contradiction is an incompatibility between two or more statements, ideas, or actions. ... For other uses, see Reality (disambiguation). ... The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known as the World Depression. ... Economic & Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 (also referred to as The Paris Manuscripts) are a series of notes written between April and August 1844 by Karl Marx. ... The German Ideology (1845) was a book written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels around April or early May 1845. ... Erich Fromm Erich Pinchas Fromm (March 23, 1900 – March 18, 1980) was an internationally renowned Jewish-German-American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, and humanistic philosopher. ...

Contents

The First Phase

The intellectual influences on and theoretical focus of the first generation of Frankfurt School critical theorists appear in the following diagram:

The Institute made major contributions in two areas relating to the possibility of rational human subjects, i.e. individuals who could act rationally to take charge of their own society and their own history. The first consisted of social phenomena previously considered in Marxism as part of the "superstructure" or as ideology: personality, family and authority structures (its first book publication bore the title Studies of Authority and the Family), and the realm of aesthetics and mass culture. Studies saw a common concern here in the ability of capitalism to destroy the preconditions of critical, revolutionary political consciousness. This meant arriving at a sophisticated awareness of the depth dimension in which social oppression sustains itself. It also meant the beginning of critical theory's recognition of ideology as part of the foundations of social structure. The Institute and various collaborators had a gigantic effect on (especially American) social science through their work The Authoritarian Personality, which conducted extensive empirical research, using sociological and psychoanalytic categories, in order to characterize the forces that led individuals to affiliate with or support fascist movements or parties. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Subject (philosophy) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... For other uses, see Society (disambiguation). ... This article is about the study of the past in human terms. ... // Sociological concept In social sciences, superstructure is the set of socio-psychological feedback loops that maintain a coherent and meaningful structure in a given society, or part thereof. ... Political Ideologies Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... Look up Family in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article is about authority as a concept. ... The Parthenons facade showing an interpretation of golden rectangles in its proportions. ... Popular culture, sometimes abbreviated to pop culture, consists of widespread cultural elements in any given society. ... For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ... // Consciousness typically refers to the idea of a being who is self-aware. ... In the humanities and social sciences, critical theory has two quite different meanings with different origins and histories, one originating in social theory and the other in literary criticism. ... The social sciences are groups of academic disciplines that study the human aspects of the world. ... Empirical research is any activity that uses direct or indirect observation as its test of reality. ... Today psychoanalysis comprises several interlocking theories concerning the functioning of the mind. ... Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers individual and other societal interests subordinate to the interests of the state. ...


The study found the uncritical and rigid assertion of reified universals to be an indicator of the authoritarian personality found supporting fascist parties in Europe, and racial discrimination in the USA.


The nature of Marxism itself formed the second focus of the Institute, and in this context the concept of critical theory originated. The term served several purposes - first, it contrasted from traditional notions of theory, which were largely either positivist or scientific. Second, the term allowed them to escape the politically charged label of "Marxism." Third, it explicitly linked them with the "critical philosophy" of Immanuel Kant, where the term "critique" meant philosophical reflection on the limits of claims made for certain kinds of knowledge and a direct connection between such critique and the emphasis on moral autonomy. In an intellectual context defined by dogmatic positivism and scientism on the one hand and dogmatic "scientific socialism" on the other, critical theory meant to rehabilitate through such a philosophically critical approach an orientation toward revolutionary agency, or at least its possibility, at a time when it seemed in decline. Kant redirects here. ...


Finally, in the context of both Marxist-Leninist and Social-Democratic orthodoxy, which emphasized Marxism as a new kind of positive science, they were linking up with the implicit epistemology of Karl Marx's work, which presented itself as critique, as in Marx's "Capital: a critique of political economy", wanting to emphasize that Marx was attempting to create a new kind of critical analysis oriented toward the unity of theory and revolutionary practice rather than a new kind of positive science. In the 1960s, Jürgen Habermas raised the epistemological discussion to a new level in his "Knowledge and Human Interests" (1968), by identifying critical knowledge as based on principles that differentiated it either from the natural sciences or the humanities, through its orientation to self-reflection and emancipation. Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a 19th century philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... Jürgen Habermas (IPA: ; born June 18, 1929) is a German philosopher and sociologist in the tradition of critical theory and American pragmatism. ...


Although Horkheimer's distinction between traditional and critical theory in one sense merely repeated Marx's dictum that philosophers have always interpreted the world and the point is to change it, the Institute, in its critique of ideology, took on such philosophical currents as positivism, phenomenology, existentialism, and pragmatism, with an implied critique of contemporary Marxism, which had turned dialectics into an alternate science or metaphysics. The Institute attempted to reformulate dialectics as a concrete method, continually aware of the specific social roots of thought and of the specific constellation of forces that affected the possibility of liberation. Accordingly, critical theory rejected the materialist metaphysics of orthodox Marxism. For Horkheimer and his associates, materialism meant the orientation of theory towards practice and towards the fulfillment of human needs, not a metaphysical statement about the nature of reality. Interpretation, or interpreting, is an activity that consists of establishing, either simultaneously or consecutively, oral or gestural communications between two or more speakers who are not speaking (or signing) the same language. ... Positivism is a philosophy that states that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only come from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific method. ... This article is about the philosophical movement. ... Existentialism is the philosophical movement positing that individual human beings create the meaning and essence of their lives as persons. ... Pragmatism is a philosophic school that originated in the late nineteenth century with Charles Sanders Peirce, who first stated the pragmatic maxim. ... A critic (derived from the ancient Greek word krites meaning a judge) is a person who offers a value judgement or an interpretation. ... Broadly speaking, a dialectic (Greek: διαλεκτική) is an exchange of propositions (theses) and counter-propositions (antitheses) resulting in a disagreement. ... A magnet levitating above a high-temperature superconductor demonstrates the Meissner effect. ... Plato (Left) and Aristotle (right), by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome) Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the ultimate nature of reality, being, and the world. ... Scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. ... Orthodox Marxism is the term used to describe the version of Marxism which emerged after the death of Karl Marx and acted as the official philosophy of the Second International up to the First World War and of the Third International thereafter. ...


The Second Phase

The second phase of Frankfurt School critical theory centres principally on two works that rank as classics of twentieth-century thought: Horkheimer's and Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944) and Adorno's Minima Moralia (1951). The authors wrote both works during the Institute's American exile in the Nazi period. While retaining much of the Marxian analysis, in these works critical theory has shifted its emphasis. The critique of capitalism has turned into a critique of Western civilization as a whole. Indeed, the Dialectic of Enlightenment uses the Odyssey as a paradigm for the analysis of bourgeois consciousness. Horkheimer and Adorno already present in these works many themes that have come to dominate the social thought of recent years: the domination of nature appears as central to Western civilization long before ecology had become a catchphrase of the day. Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and Jürgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg Max Horkheimer (February 14, 1895 – July 7, 1973) was a Jewish-German philosopher and sociologist, known especially as the founder and guiding thinker of the Frankfurt School of critical theory. ... Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and Jürgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg. ... Dialectic of Enlightenment, written by Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno made its first appearance in 1944 under the title Dialektik der Aufklärung by Social Studies Association, Inc. ... Minima moralia: Reflexionen aus dem beschädigten Leben (Minima Moralia: Reflections From Damaged Life) is a seminal text in Critical Theory. ... Exile (band) may refer to: Exile - The American country music band Exile - The Japanese pop music band Category: ... For alternative meanings for The West in the United States, see the U.S. West and American West. ... For other uses, see Odyssey (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Social thought provides general theories to explain actions and behavior of society as a whole, encompassing sociological, political, and philosophical ideas. ... This article is about the physical universe. ... For the journal, see Ecology (journal). ... A catch phrase is a phrase or expression that is popularized, usually through repeated use, by a real person or fictional character. ...


The analysis of reason now goes one stage further. The rationality of Western civilization appears as a fusion of domination and of technological rationality, bringing all of external and internal nature under the power of the human subject. In the process, however, the subject itself gets swallowed up, and no social force analogous to the proletariat can be identified that will enable the subject to emancipate itself. Hence the subtitle of Minima Moralia: "Reflections from Damaged Life". In Adorno's words, For other uses, see Reason (disambiguation). ... Rationality as a term is related to the idea of reason, a word which following Websters may be derived as much from older terms referring to thinking itself as from giving an account or an explanation. ... By the mid 20th century humans had achieved a mastery of technology sufficient to leave the surface of the Earth for the first time and explore space. ... The proletariat (from Latin proles, offspring) is a term used to identify a lower social class; a member of such a class is proletarian. ... For other uses, see Liberty (disambiguation). ...

"For since the overwhelming objectivity of historical movement in its present phase consists so far only in the dissolution of the subject, without yet giving rise to a new one, individual experience necessarily bases itself on the old subject, now historically condemned, which is still for-itself, but no longer in-itself. The subject still feels sure of its autonomy, but the nullity demonstrated to subjects by the concentration camp is already overtaking the form of subjectivity itself."

Consequently, at a time when it appears that reality itself has become ideology, the greatest contribution that critical theory can make is to explore the dialectical contradictions of individual subjective experience on the one hand, and to preserve the truth of theory on the other. Even the dialectic can become a means to domination: "Its truth or untruth, therefore, is not inherent in the method itself, but in its intention in the historical process." And this intention must be toward integral freedom and happiness: "the only philosophy which can be responsibly practised in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption". How far from orthodox Marxism is Adorno's conclusion: "But beside the demand thus placed on thought, the question of the reality or unreality of redemption itself hardly matters." For other uses of objectivity, see objectivity (disambiguation). ... Look up Experience in Wiktionary, the free dictionary This article discusses the general concept of experience. ... It has been suggested that Internment be merged into this article or section. ... This article is in need of attention. ... Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy, François Lemoyne, 1737 For other uses, see Truth (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Happiness (disambiguation). ...


Adorno, a trained musician, wrote The Philosophy of Modern Music, in which he, in essence, polemicizes against beauty itself -- because it has become part of the ideology of advanced capitalist society and the false consciousness that contributes to domination by prettifying it. Avant-garde art and music preserve the truth by capturing the reality of human suffering. Hence: For beauty as a characteristic of a persons appearance, see Physical attractiveness. ... For the existentialist treatment of the same concept, see bad faith False consciousness is the Marxist thesis that material and institutional processes in capitalist society mislead the proletariat — and other classes — about the real relations of forces between those classes and of the actual states of affairs with respect to...

"What radical music perceives is the untransfigured suffering of man... The seismographic registration of traumatic shock becomes, at the same time, the technical structural law of music. It forbids continuity and development. Musical language is polarized according to its extreme; towards gestures of shock resembling bodily convulsions on the one hand, and on the other towards a crystalline standstill of a human being whom anxiety causes to freeze in her tracks... Modern music sees absolute oblivion as its goal. It is the surviving message of despair from the shipwrecked."

This view of modern art as producing truth only through the negation of traditional aesthetic form and traditional norms of beauty because they have become ideological is characteristic of Adorno and of the Frankfurt School generally. It has been criticized by those who do not share its conception of modern society as a false totality that renders obsolete traditional conceptions and images of beauty and harmony.


The Third Phase

From these thoughts only a short step remained to the third phase of the Frankfurt School, which coincided with the postwar period, particularly from the early 1950s to the middle 1960s. With the growth of advanced industrial society under Cold War conditions, the critical theorists recognized that the structure of capitalism and history had changed decisively, that the modes of oppression operated differently, and that the industrial working class no longer remained the determinate negation of capitalism. This led to the attempt to root the dialectic in an absolute method of negativity, as in Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man and Adorno's Negative Dialectics. During this period the Institute of Social Research re-settled in Frankfurt (although many of its associates remained in the United States), with the task not merely of continuing its research but of becoming a leading force in the sociological education and democratization of West Germany. This led to a certain systematization of the Institute's entire accumulation of empirical research and theoretical analysis. The 1950s decade refers to the years 1950 to 1959 inclusive. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969. ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... The term working class is used to denote a social class. ... One-Dimensional Man is a work by Herbert Marcuse, first published in 1964. ... Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund Adorno (September 11, 1903 – August 6, 1969) was a German sociologist, philosopher, pianist, musicologist, and composer. ... For other uses, see Frankfurt (disambiguation). ... Democratization (British English: Democratisation) is the transition from an authoritarian or a semi-authoritarian political system to a democratic political system. ...


More importantly, however, the Frankfurt School attempted to define the fate of reason in the new historical period. While Marcuse did so through analysis of structural changes in the labor process under capitalism and inherent features of the methodology of science, Horkheimer and Adorno concentrated on a re-examination of the foundation of critical theory. This effort appears in systematized form in Adorno's Negative Dialectics, which tries to redefine dialectics for an era in which "philosophy, which once seemed obsolete, lives on because the moment to realize it was missed". Negative dialectics expresses the idea of critical thought so conceived that the apparatus of domination cannot co-opt it. Its central notion, long a focal one for Horkheimer and Adorno, suggests that the original sin of thought lies in its attempt to eliminate all that is other than thought, the attempt by the subject to devour the object, the striving for identity. This reduction makes thought the accomplice of domination. Negative Dialectics rescues the "preponderance of the object", not through a naive epistemological or metaphysical realism but through a thought based on differentiation, paradox, and ruse: a "logic of disintegration". Adorno thoroughly criticizes Heidegger's fundamental ontology, which reintroduces idealistic and identity-based concepts under the guise of having overcome the philosophical tradition. Meethodology is defined as the analysis of the principles of methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline, the systematic study of methods that are, can be, or have been applied within a discipline or a particular procedure or set of procedures [1]. It should be noted that methodology is... A magnet levitating above a high-temperature superconductor demonstrates the Meissner effect. ... “Original Sin” redirects here. ... In philosophy, identity is whatever makes an entity definable and recognizable, in terms of possessing a set of qualities or characteristics that distinguish it from entities of a different type. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Reductionism. ... Epistomological realism is a philosophical position, a subcategory of objectivism, holding that what you know about an object exists independently of your mind. ... Contemporary philosophical realism, also referred to as metaphysical realism, is the belief in a reality that is completely ontologically independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc. ... Differentiation can mean the following: In biology: cellular differentiation; evolutionary differentiation; In mathematics: see: derivative In cosmogony: planetary differentiation Differentiation (geology); Differentiation (logic); Differentiation (marketing). ... Look up paradox in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Martin Heidegger (September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976) (IPA ) was a highly influential German philosopher. ... This article is about ontology in philosophy. ... This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedias quality standards. ...


Negative Dialectics constitutes a monument to the end of the tradition of the individual subject as the locus of criticism. Without a revolutionary working class, the Frankfurt School had no one to rely on but the individual subject. But, as the liberal capitalist social basis of the autonomous individual receded into the past, the dialectic based on it became more and more abstract. This stance helped prepare the way for the fourth, current phase of the Frankfurt School, shaped by the communication theory of Habermas. Liberalism is an ideology, philosophical view, and political tradition which holds that liberty is the primary political value. ... There is much discussion in the academic world of communication as to what actually constitutes communication. ...


Habermas's work takes the Frankfurt School's abiding interests in rationality, the human subject, democratic socialism, and the dialectical method and overcomes a set of contradictions that always weakened critical theory: the contradictions between the materialist and transcendental methods, between Marxian social theory and the individualist assumptions of critical rationalism between technical and social rationalization, and between cultural and psychological phenomena on the one hand and the economic structure of society on the other. The Frankfurt School avoided taking a stand on the precise relationship between the materialist and transcendental methods, which led to ambiguity in their writings and confusion among their readers. Habermas' epistemology synthesizes these two traditions by showing that phenomenological and transcendental analysis can be subsumed under a materialist theory of social evolution, while the materialist theory makes sense only as part of a quasi-transcendental theory of emancipatory knowledge that is the self-reflection of cultural evolution. The simultaneously empirical and transcendental nature of emancipatory knowledge becomes the foundation stone of critical theory. Democratic socialism advocates socialism as a basis for the economy and democracy as a governing principle. ... In philosophy, transcendental/transcendence, has three different but related primary meanings, all of them derived from the words literal meaning (from Latin), of climbing or going beyond: one that originated in Ancient philosophy, one in Medieval philosophy and one in modern philosophy. ... Individualism is a term used to describe a moral, political, or social outlook that stresses human independence and the importance of individual self-reliance and liberty. ... In epistemology and in its broadest sense, rationalism is any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification (Lacey 286). ... Face-to-face trading interactions on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. ... Social evolution is a subdiscipline of evolutionary biology that is concerned with social behaviours, i. ...


By locating the conditions of rationality in the social structure of language use, Habermas moves the locus of rationality from the autonomous subject to subjects in interaction. Rationality is a property not of individuals per se, but rather of structures of undistorted communication. In this notion Habermas has overcome the ambiguous plight of the subject in critical theory. If capitalistic technological society weakens the autonomy and rationality of the subject, it is not through the domination of the individual by the apparatus but through technological rationality supplanting a describable rationality of communication. And, in his sketch of communicative ethics as the highest stage in the internal logic of the evolution of ethical systems, Habermas hints at the source of a new political practice that incorporates the imperatives of evolutionary rationality. For other uses, see Interaction (disambiguation). ... For the Bobby Womack album, see Communication (1972 album). ... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Politics (disambiguation). ...


Frankfurt School critical theory has influenced some segments of the Left wing and leftist thought (particularly the New Left). Herbert Marcuse has occasionally been described as the theorist or intellectual progenitor of the New Left. Their critique of technology, totality, teleology and (occasionally) civilization is an influence on anarcho-primitivism. Their work also heavily influenced intellectual discourse on popular culture and scholarly popular culture studies. In the humanities and social sciences, critical theory has two quite different meanings with different origins and histories, one originating in social theory and the other in literary criticism. ... Left wing redirects here. ... The New Left is a term used in different countries to describe left-wing movements that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. ... The New Left is a term used in different countries to describe left-wing movements that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. ... Theory Issues Culture By region Lists Anarchism Portal Politics Portal ·        Anarcho-primitivism is an anarchist critique of the origins and progress of civilization. ... Popular culture, sometimes abbreviated to pop culture, consists of widespread cultural elements in any given society. ... Popular culture studies is the academic discipline studying popular culture. ...


Major Frankfurt school thinkers and scholars

the Institut in Frankfurt
the Institut in Frankfurt

Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (2,848 × 2,136 pixels, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (2,848 × 2,136 pixels, file size: 1. ... Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund Adorno (September 11, 1903 – August 6, 1969) was a German sociologist, philosopher, pianist, musicologist, and composer. ... Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin (July 15, 1892 – September 27, 1940) was a German Marxist literary critic, essayist, translator, and philosopher. ... Erich Fromm Erich Pinchas Fromm (March 23, 1900 – March 18, 1980) was an internationally renowned Jewish-German-American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, and humanistic philosopher. ... Jürgen Habermas (IPA: ; born June 18, 1929) is a German philosopher and sociologist in the tradition of critical theory and American pragmatism. ... Axel Honneth (1949-) is a professor at the Institut für Sozialforschung in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany (the so-called Frankfurt School. ... Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and Jürgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg Max Horkheimer (February 14, 1895 – July 7, 1973) was a Jewish-German philosopher and sociologist, known especially as the founder and guiding thinker of the Frankfurt School of critical theory. ... Siegfried Kracauer (February 8, 1889, Frankfurt am Main, Germany – November 26, 1966, New York) was a German-American writer, journalist, sociologist, and cultural critic, particularly of media such as film, as well as the urban form. ... Leo Löwenthal (* November 3, 1900, Frankfurt am Main - † January 21, 1993, Berkeley, California) was the German Sociologist of Frankfurt School. ... Herbert Marcuse (July 19, 1898 – July 29, 1979) was a German-born philosopher, sociologist and a member of the Frankfurt School. ... Oskar Negt (born August 1, 1934 in Kapkeim) is a philosopher and social theorist in the tradition of critical theory. ... Franz Leopold Neumann (May 23, 1900 – September 2, 1954) was a German left-liberal political activist and labor lawyer, who became a political scientist in exile and is best-known for his theoretical analyses of National Socialism. ... Franz Oppenheimer Franz Oppenheimer (born 30 March 1864 in Berlin; died 30 September 1943 in Los Angeles) was a German sociologist and political economist, who also in the area of the fundamental sociology of the state. ... Friedrich Pollock (May 22, 1894 – 1970) was a German social scientist and philosopher. ... This article refers to the German philosopher and sociologist; for other meanings see Alfred Schmidt (disambiguation) Alfred Schmidt (born May 19, 1931 in Berlin) is a German philosopher and sociologist. ... Alfred Sohn-Rethel (born January 4, 1899 in Neuilly-sur-Seine near, today in Paris; died April 6, 1990 in Bremen, Germany) was an economist, a philosopher especially interested in epistemology. ... A hydraulic empire (also known as a hydraulic despotism or a water monopoly empire) arises through the need for flood control and irrigation, which requires central coordination and gives rise to a specialized bureaucracy. ...

Critics of the Frankfurt School

Several camps of criticism of the Frankfurt School have emerged. Some critics state that the intellectual perspective of the Frankfurt School is a romantic, elitist critique of mass culture with a contrived neo-Marxist guise. Another criticism, originating from the Left, is that critical theory is a form of bourgeois idealism that has no inherent relation to political practice and is totally isolated from any ongoing revolutionary movement. Academic institutions often face the charge of academic elitism, sometimes called the Ivory Tower. ... Neo-Marxism was a 20th century school that harked back to the early writings of Marx before the influence of Engels which focused on dialectical idealism rather than dialectical materialism, and thus rejected the economic determinism of early Marx, focusing instead on a non-physical, psychological revolution. ...


Both of these criticisms were captured in Georg Lukács's phrase "Grand Hotel Abyss" as a syndrome he imputed to the members of the Frankfurt School. Karl Popper believed that the school did not live up Marx's promise of a better future: Georg Lukács (April 13, 1885 – June 4, 1971) was a Hungarian Marxist philosopher and literary critic in the tradition of Western Marxism. ... Sir Karl Raimund Popper CH FRS FBA (July 28, 1902 â€“ September 17, 1994) was an Austrian and British[1] philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics. ...

"Marx's own condemnation of our society makes sense. For Marx's theory contains the promise of a better future. But the theory becomes vacuous and irresponsible if this promise is withdrawn, as it is by Adorno and Horkheimer."[2]

Other notable critics of the Frankfurt School include Henryk Grossman, Umberto Eco and Mike Godwin. Henryk Grossman/Grossmann (1881-1950) was born in Kraków and studied law and economics in Kraków and Vienna. ... Umberto Eco (born January 5, 1932) is an Italian medievalist, semiotician, philosopher and novelist, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose (Il nome della rosa) and his many essays. ... Mike Godwin Mike Godwin is an American attorney and author. ...


Frequent Objections

These are canards to Frankfurt School supporters: valid objections to opponents.


It is said that critical theory "called into question" the notion of "truth" and universal ideals; this may be based on a misunderstanding (cf. Adorno's Metaphysics, a series of lectures on the history of first philosophy delivered in Frankfurt in the 1950s, recently translated into English). Adorno regarded, as did the other Frankfurt school thinkers, "truth" as necessarily embedded in productive relations following in fact Aristotle's denial that Platonic universals could be other than the form of matter. To renarrate this as some sort of attack on "truth" may be jejune, since a defense of an impossible "truth" existent apart from either Aristotle's matter or Marx's productive relations is ultimately for Adorno a content-free following of a set of rules for forming acceptable noises (statements) which can be administratively reviewed and found "politically correct" according to prevailing social norms...whether those are those of a Stalinist society, or one dominated by corporations.


The possible canard was that Adorno and other Frankfurt School theorists dared to rely on some sort of notion of "truth" as university lecturer and administrators while burrowing from within at the edifice, skeptically or even Sophistically leaving no "ground" on which the edifice could stand. To this their reply would be that "truth" was less usefully seen as a ground that would remain standing if the superstructure were removed as it were by the end of humanity and more usefully seen as an embedded and n-way relational property of human affairs and the tentative sentences we form about those affairs.


As Adorno and Horkheimer noted in Dialectic of Enlightenment, it was possible post-Holocaust to still say with truth that "there should be no concentration camps" as opposed to pure tautology and statements that approach it, such as a Platonic assertion about the "justice of truth", "truth, justice, and the American way", or "socialism with Chinese characteristics", and that the latter sorts of statements could pass administrative muster only by being drained of possibly "offensive" references to actual reality. The speaker of "there should be no concentration camps" after all takes a nonzero risk that his statement will be interpreted to mean that any "camp" set up for detention without trial or habeus corpus, from British "concentration" camps (the first to be so labeled, and by their own creators and not their Boer victims) to the post-September 11 facility at Guantanamo Bay created by American authorities to detain suspected terrorists, are entities that should not be.


Another objection or canard has to do with the relationship of Frankfurt School theory to the "Sixties".


Conservative critics blame the Frankfurt School's work for the massive student revolutions that swept the globe, from China of the Cultural Revolution to Paris to the United States, claiming that the attack on "truth" and authority implicit in critique itself encouraged the youth rebellion.


This isn't true in the case of China whose Cultural Revolution was endogenous according to most responsible historians. The European explosion (cf. Tony Judt, Postwar: a History of Europe Since 1945) was caused by a demographic bulge and the sheer age and decrepitude of leaders after World War II, a World War I generation called back into service after the war's destruction of most promising middle-aged leaders, and far from following thinkers like Adorno, Frankfurt students attacked him for his apparent irrevelance in wanting to lecture on the Baroque (cf. Stephan Muller-Doohm, Adorno).


In the USA, by the 1960s, Adorno and Horkheimer had moved the Institute back to Frankfurt and most of its texts were either untranslated from German to English, or translated in stunningly unreadable versions.


The conservative view that Adorno and other Frankfurt School members, like Dr. Benjamin Spock, were Pied Pipers of Hamelin, or Frankfurt is unsupported by the record.


In Popular Culture

Hardcore band Orchid have several songs featuring references to the ideas of The Frankfurt School, including "Snow Delay at the Frankfurt School" (from the Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow! 10") and "Tigers" (from their final Gatefold LP). In "Tigers," the lyrics specifically name-drop Adorno and Marcuse. This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims. ...


See also

Cultural Marxism is a form of Marxism that adds an analysis of the role of the media, art, theatre, film and other cultural institutions in a society, often with an added emphasis on race and gender in addition to class. ... Critical theory, in sociology and philosophy, is shorthand for critical theory of society or critical social theory, a label used by the Frankfurt School, i. ... Praxis school was a Marxist humanist philosophical movement that originated in Zagreb and Belgrade in the SFRY, during the 1960s. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Origin Myths in the Social Sciences: Fromm, the Frankfurt School and the Emergence of Critical Theory: Horkheimer Builds a School.
  2. ^ Karl R. Popper: Addendum 1974: THE FRANKFURT SCHOOL. in: The Myth of the Framework. London New York 1994, p. 80

References

  • George Friedman. The Political Philosophy of the Frankfurt School, Ithaca & New York, Cornell University Press, 1981 ISBN 0-8014-1279-X.
  • Martin Jay. The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute for Social Research 1923-1950, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1996 ISBN 0-520-20423-9.
  • Marxists Internet Archive. The Frankfort School and "Critical Theory." www.marxists.org
  • Neil McLaughlin - Origin Myths in the Social Sciences: Fromm, the Frankfurt School and the Emergence of Critical Theory [1]
  • Jeremy J. Shapiro. "The Critical Theory of Frankfurt", in: Times Literary Supplement, No. 3, Oct. 4, 1974, 787. (Material from this publication has been used or adapted for the present article with permission).
  • Rolf Wiggershaus. The Frankfurt School: Its History, Theories and Political Significance, Cambridge, Mass., The MIT Press, 1995 ISBN 0-262-73113-4.

George Friedman is the founder, chief intelligence officer, and chairman of the private intelligence corporation Stratfor. ... Martin Jay (born 1944) is the Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. ... The Marxists Internet Archive (also known as MIA or Marxists. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Frankfurt School - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2303 words)
The term "Frankfurt School" is an informal term used to designate the thinkers affiliated with the Institute for Social Research or influenced by them: it is not the title of any institution, and the main thinkers of the Frankfurt School did not use the term to describe themselves.
The Frankfurt School gathered together dissident Marxists, severe critics of capitalism who believed that some of Marx's alleged followers had come to parrot a narrow selection of Marx's ideas, usually in defense of orthodox Communist or Social-Democratic parties.
Frankfurt School critical theory has influenced some segments of the Left wing and leftist thought (particularly the New Left).
Frankfurt School - definition of Frankfurt School in Encyclopedia (2179 words)
The Frankfurt School is a school of neo-Marxist social theory, social research, and philosophy.
The Frankfurt School gathered together dissident Marxists, severe critics of capitalism who believed that some of Marx's alleged followers had come to parrot a narrow selection of Marx's ideas, usually in defense of orthodox Communist Parties.
Several camps of criticism of the Frankfurt School have emerged, captured in Georg Lukács's assertion that the members of the Frankfurt School suffered from "Grand Hotel" syndrome.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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