- Subject index
The SAGE Handbook of Frankfurt School Critical Theory expounds the development of critical theory from its founding thinkers to its contemporary formulations in an interdisciplinary setting. It maps the terrain of a critical social theory, expounding its distinctive character vis-a-vis alternative theoretical perspectives, exploring its theoretical foundations and developments, conceptualising its subject matters both past and present, and signalling its possible future in a time of great uncertainty. Taking a distinctively theoretical, interdisciplinary, international and contemporary perspective on the topic, this wide-ranging collection of chapters is arranged thematically over three volumes: Volume I: Key Texts and Contributions to a Critical Theory of Society Volume II: Themes Volume III: Contexts This Handbook is essential reading for scholars and students in the field, showcasing the scholarly rigor, intellectual acuteness and negative force of critical social theory, past and present.
Chapter 71: Positivism
Positivism and the critique of positivism becomes an issue in the history of critical theory on two occasions: first, in the 1930s, when Horkheimer and Adorno enter into a discussion with the Vienna Circle of logical positivism, and later in the 1960s when Adorno debates the critical rationalism of Karl Popper. To critical theory the critique of positivism becomes important not only because it is an issue in the philosophy of science. Positivism is also viewed as an obstacle to a critical approach to society, limiting the analysis to what is quantitative, measurable and empirically observable. In this chapter, I will first sketch the tradition of positivism in social science and the relation of Marxism to positivism. I ...