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Philip Hogh & Adrian Wilding

In: The SAGE Handbook of Frankfurt School Critical Theory

Chapter 74: Critical Theory and the Philosophy of Language1

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Critical Theory and the Philosophy of Language1
Critical Theory and the Philosophy of Language
Philip Hogh Adrian Wilding
Introduction

From its beginnings up to the present day, language has played a central role in critical theory. Walter Benjamin’s early essay ‘On Language as Such and on the Language of Man’ and Jürgen Habermas’s Theory of Communicative Action differ widely in both methodological and thematic terms, yet both explore the resources through which language can offer an emancipatory critique of capitalist society. The differences in philosophical approach of the respective critical theorists can be traced to the philosophy of language which each confronted in their day. If Benjamin’s reflections engage with motifs from the Kabbalah, with Karl Kraus’s language criticism2 and, ...

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