Introduction to Critical Theory: Horkheimer to Habermas

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University of California Press, 1980 - Philosophy - 511 pages
4 Reviews
The writings of the critical theorists caught the imagination of students and intellectuals in the 1960s and 1970s. They became a key element in the formation and self-understanding of the New Left, and have been the subject of continuing controversy. Partly because of their rise to prominence during the political turmoil of the sixties, and partly because they draw on traditions rarely studied in the Anglo-American world, the works of these authors are often misunderstood.

In this book David Held provides a much-needed introduction to, and evaluation of, critical theory. He is concerned mainly with the thought of the Frankfurt school—Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, in particular—and with Habermas, one of Europe's leading contemporary thinkers. Several of the major themes considered are critical theory's relation to Marx's critique of the political economy, Freudian psychoanalysis, aesthetics, and the philosophy of history. There is also a discussion of critical theory's substantive contribution to the analysis of capitalism, culture, the family, and the individual, as well as its contribution to epistemology and methodology.

Held's book will be necessary reading for all concerned with understanding and evaluating one of the most influential intellectual movements of our time.
  

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User Review  - karl.steel - LibraryThing

I believe there's a 1990 edition where, presumably, Held takes account of the relations between poststructuralism (and its iterations) and critical theory. But I'd say that this edition (1980) may be ... Read full review

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This book reads like a very blurred LSD fuelled debate between Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Lowenthal, Pollock, Benjamin and any others that may have stumbled into the room. Difficult to grasp the direction that the author is taking and very near impossible to grasp what exactly Critical Theory is since all of its contributors seem to take a different stance on every point made in the book. Confused, worried and concerned.  

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Contents

Ackno wledgements
11
The Frankfurt School
29
critical theory and aesthetics
77
The changing structure of the family and
110
critical theory
148
epistemology
223
concept of critical theory Stages of development
232
dialectic The integration of Freud Nature
244
Discourse science and society
260
Interests knowledge and action
296
The reformulation of the foundations of critical theory
330
Part Three The Importance and Limitations of Critical
351
The concept of critical theory
379
Appendix The Odyssey
401
Select bibliography
483
Index
501

Habermas
247

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About the author (1980)

David Held is Lecturer in Politics, University of York.

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