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Frank Engster

In: The SAGE Handbook of Frankfurt School Critical Theory

Chapter 45: Critical Theory and Epistemological and Social-Economical Critique

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Critical Theory and Epistemological and Social-Economical Critique
Critical Theory and Epistemological and Social-Economical Critique
Frank Engster

Spiegel:‘Professor, two weeks ago the world seemed still to be ok…’

Adorno: ‘Not for me!’

The understanding of the socio-historical conditions of consciousness was at the core of early Critical Theory’s1 attempt to combine social-economic and epistemological critique. Since Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno primarily developed this approach, the chapter focuses on their accounts.

First, I look at their understanding of the socio-economic and epistemological critique of society. I then discuss how their notion of mediation – which materially socializes the German idealist notions of subject and object by drawing on the critique of political economy – is formulated in regard to this notion of critique. Finally, I ...

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