The rationalized irrationality in Max Horkheimer's critical theory

Revista Teología y Cultura 21:97-114 (2019)
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Abstract

The critical theory of society as a political program takes an important turn in the socalled second stage of Max Horkheimer’s thought. This stage was marked by exile to North America, between 1933 and 1950, where important changes were generated in the critical theory of the Frankfurt author mainly embodied in his works Dialectic of Enlightenment, written together with Theodor Adorno, and Eclipse of reason. In this passage, or evolution of the horkheimerian thought, a theoretical reformulation can be seen in which the utopia of the first stage of his thought is questioned by the lines of history described in the pages of the philosopher. This has not been problematic: the dialectical character of the theory is a central feature of it, and its reformulation, crossed by the phenomenon of the Second World War, focuses mainly on criticism of Western logos. The appreciations of the works have a certain normative character, and although they describe a certain eclipse of the Western reason denied by the same mythified Enlightenment, they imply a final call to human emancipation. The essay intends to cover the main criticisms of the works and show that they do not state the death of critical theory, but rather reinforce its dialectical character as a critical description of the history of society.

Author's Profile

Alan Matías Florito Mutton
Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA)

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