Political Theory

Download Critical Theory: Selected Essays by Max Horkheimer PDF

By Max Horkheimer

Matthew J. O'Connell (Translator), Stanley Aronowitz (Introduction)

These essays, written within the Nineteen Thirties and Forties, signify a primary choice in English from the foremost paintings of the founding father of the recognized Institute for Social learn in Frankfurt. Horkheimer's writings are necessary to an figuring out of the highbrow history of the recent Left and the to a lot present social-philosophical notion, together with the paintings of Herbert Marcuse. except their old importance or even from their scholarly eminence, those essays comprise a right away relevance in basic terms now changing into totally recognized.

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"Those in...the philosophical foundation of the recent Left, or a nonpositivist conception of information, should still seek advice this primary translation into English of Horkheimer's such a lot trenchant essays."—Library magazine

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36. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A 35, pp. 77-78. 37. Kant, op. , B 54 with note, p. 79. 30 MATERIALISM AND METAPHYSICS Concepts like theory and knowledge must, of course, at any given time have a clear meaning, since only when they are described or defined, however inadequately, can they be understood and applied. But dialectical materialism takes such meanings to be abstractions formed within the context of the contemporary situation out of materials supplied by the past, and not fixed, changeless elements on which the future is to be built.

P. 271. 11 CRITICAL THEORY tized concepts of man, life, personality, and creative development. But, in this partial liberation from the particular ideas of the past, the forms of world view and their transformations were themselves now clothed in the glorious garments of the metaphysical process. All the attitudes, representations, efforts, and thoughts that have arisen in the minds of men as they attempt to comprehend the world in its totality cannot be pure illusion. At one time they were powerful forces and, for the most part, they keep recurring in typical ways ...

First, science accepts as a principle that its every step has a critical basis, yet the most important step of all, the setting of tasks, lacks a theoretical grounding and seems to be taken arbitrarily. Second, science has to do with a knowledge of comprehensive relationships; yet, it has no realistic grasp of that comprehensive relationship upon which its own existence and the direction of its work depend, namely, society. The two contraditions are closely connected. The process of casting light on the social life-process in its totality brings with it the discovery of the law which holds sway in the apparent arbitrariness of the scientific and other endeavors.

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