Critique of Instrumental Reason (Radical Thinkers)

Critique of Instrumental Reason (Radical Thinkers)

Max Horkheimer

Language: English

Pages: 180

ISBN: 178168023X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


These essays, written between 1949 and 1967, focus on a single theme: the triumph in the twentieth century of the state-bureaucratic apparatus and ‘instrumental reason’ and the concomitant liquidation of the individual and the basic social institutions and relationships associated with the individual.

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consideration. The image of marriage that was generally regarded as correct around the turn of the century, as well as various ideas connected with marriage (from its holiness to the hierarchy of husband, wife, and children), have long since been relativized by serious thinkers, and marriage is today considered to be a social phenomenon that constantly changes as society develops. At various historical periods the type of society—primitive tribes, food-gatherers or hunters, settled peoples,

movements that have arisen since Expressionism, especially Surrealism and, even more, atonal music, have not focused their attention on existent reality; insofar as they retain any reference to transitory things, they do so by negation and by shaping an esthetic unity out of the disjointed elements of the animate and inanimate world. The representation of individual realities has come to be regarded as artistic insincerity and fit only for leisure-time trifling, broadcasting, and photography. I

impossibility of giving a name to the Divine. According to Hegel the answer to the question of the Unconditioned is to be found in the development of concepts, in which the thinker cannot stop at any single concept as being the truth. Everyone knows the story of the disillusionment of Hegel’s audiences at Berlin. They came expecting to be given the key to the mystery and the experience of the “Absolute.” The professor began with logic and advanced to natural philosophy; in succeeding semesters he

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comradeship. Marriage no longer means such a radical change in her existence. The equation of woman and sex is disappearing; woman is becoming an economic subject in one or another sector of the division of labor, including the household sector. Thus not only the old social classes but even the pre- and post-marital states are becoming less differentiated. In marriage the relations between the partners must, above all, be rich in results, like those of teams in industry and sport. If a marriage

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