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Max Horkheimer


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Max Horkheimer

  1. 1. MAX HORKHEIMER BIOGRAPHY Max Horkheimer ,was a German philosopher-sociologist, famous for his work in critical theory as a member of the 'Frankfurt School' of social research. His most important works include The Eclipse of Reason (1947) and, in collaboration with Theodor Adorno, The Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947). Through the Frankfurt School, Horkheimer planned, supported and made other significant works possible. Horkheimer's work is marked by a concern to show the relation between affect (especially suffering) and concepts (understood as action-guiding expressions of
  2. 2. reason). In this, he responded critically to what he saw as the one-sidedness of both neo-Kantianism (with its focus on concepts) and Lebensphilosophie (with its focus on expression and world-disclosure). Horkheimer did not think either was wrong, but insisted that the insights of each school could not on their own adequately contribute to the repair of social problems. It is also important to note that Horkheimer collaborated with Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin . Philosophy and Writings Horkheimer's book, Eclipse of Reason, published in 1947 is broken into five sections: Means and Ends, Conflicting Panaceas, The Revolt of Nature, The Rise and Decline of the Individual and On the Concept of Philosophy and deals with the concept of reason within the history of western philosophy. Horkheimer defines true reason as rationality[8], which can only be fostered in an environment of free, critical thinking. Through critical theory, Horkheimer "attempted to revitalize radical social, and cultural criticism" and discussed authoritarianism, militarism, economic disruption, environmental crisis and the poverty of mass culture. Horkheimer helped to create Critical Theory through a mix of radical and conservative lenses that stem from radical Marxism and end up in "pessimistic Jewish transcendentalism"
  3. 3. Horkheimer developed his critical theory by examining his own wealth while witnessing the juxtaposition of the bourgeois and the impoverished. He was convinced of the need to "examine the entire material and spiritual culture of mankind" in order to transform society as a whole. Horkheimer sought to enable the working class to reclaim their power in order to resist the lure of fascism. Horkheimer stated himself that "the rationally organized society that regulates its own existence" was necessary along with a society that could "satisfy common needs" HIS MAIN WORK “ECLIPSE OF REASON” Horkheimer's book, Eclipse of Reason deals with the concept of "reason" within the history of Western philosophy. Horkheimer defines true reason as rationality. He details the difference between objective and subjective reason and states that we have moved from objective to subjective. Objective reason deals with universal truths that dictate that an action is either right or wrong. Subjective reason takes into account the situation and social norms. Actions that produce the best situation for the individual are "reasonable" according to subjective reason. The movement from one type of reason to the other occurred when thought could no longer accommodate these objective truths or when it judged them to be delusions. Under subjective reason, concepts lose their meaning. All concepts must be strictly functional to be reasonable. Because subjective reason rules, the ideals of a society, for example
  4. 4. democratic ideals, become dependent on the "interests" of the people instead of being dependent on objective truths. Dialectic of Enlightenment In Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), which Horkheimer co- authored with Adorno, he extended his social cultural criticism to western civilization. He wrote this work in California while he was in exile. His question was why and how the terror of Nazi and Stalinist mass murder arose from modernity. Against the popular view that barbarianism was opposite to the idea of Enlightenment, he argued that barbarianism, terror, and irrational elements were inherent to Enlightenment. In the work, Horkheimer explained the process and the reason of how and why the Enlightenment rationality, supposed to be the key factor of liberation and freedom, became instrumental rationality and brought about suppression of individuals, cultural poverty, and barbarism. In Dialectic of Enlightenment, Horkmeimer lost hope for the project he initiated in 1930s. After this work, he turned his attention to Pessimism of Schopenhauer which he studied at the early stage of his carrier Others works of Horkheimer :  Dialectical of the illustration  Critical theory  Traditional theory and critical theory  Authority and family and other writings  Critic of the instrumental reason
  5. 5.  Society, reason and freedom  Authoritarian state ARCHE: “All notion should be contemplated as a fragment of a truth that involves everything and in which the notion reaches its true meaning. To go building the truth starting from such fragments constitutes in fact the most urgent task in the philosophy." CONCLUSION The Frankfurt school threw side conversation of historical materialism into the center . It forced Marxist ideology to broaden its scope and take ongoing issues, such as how people and institutions interact, into consideration. The impact of the Frankfurt School on Marxism is that it validated it by analyzing it and providing empirical "evidence" of its existence. The Frankfurt School supplied Marxism with methodology. Horkheimer used the notion of rationality as a way of explaining and describing historical materialism; Adorno used language; Benjamin used metaphors of cities; and Habermas rebuilt the whole idea. Where Marx said, "This is historical materialism, and this is what it does," The Frankfurt School said, "This is historical materialism; this is what’s right with it, this is what’s wrong with it, and this is how it works." The Frankfurt school also and maybe most importantly helped Marxism get rid of the dogmatism that became associated with it during the
  6. 6. rise of socialism. Besides it's direct impact on Marxism, The Frankfurt school had it’s own effects on philosophy as a whole. It affected philosophy by preserving the notion of meta-analysis of society through its economic, political, and social systems. It introduced the notion of social philosophy and made theory part of everyday practice by "mixing" philosophical problems, and empirical problems. Recommendations That the critical tendency of Horkheimer didn't leave after yes “a cadaver” philosophical, but just the opposite, a corpus of ideas that, like it happens to the legacy of the philosophy in general, it must be remembered, conserved and overcome, in order to realize their hopes. And with the necessity of the diversity reaches it: “the limit of the thing” that “he appears there where the thing finishes” and that it is the necessity of the practice, although it is the practice of the philosophy.
  7. 7. VOCABULARY 1. Dogmatism : faith, belief, foundation, axiom, base 2. Empirical : materialism, positivism, experience, reality, observation, pragmatism 3. Fascism: authoritarian, dictatorship, totalitarianism 4. Pessimistic: hopeless, bitter, moody, negative, unilusionist. 5. Progress: advance, process, development, increase, prosperity 6. Rationality: logical, reasonable, exactly 7. Transcendentalism: important, excellent ,substantial, capital, essential GLOSSARY
  8. 8. 1. Materialism : In philosophy the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance. ... 2. Metaphysical: Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that investigates principles of reality transcending those of any particular science. Cosmology and ontology are traditional branches of metaphysics. 3. Moral : It is denominated moral or morality to the group of beliefs and a person's norms or certain social group that it officiates of guide for working (that is to say that guides about the good or of the bad — correct or incorrect—of an action or actions). 4. Rationality: The rationality is a human capacity that allows to think, to evaluate and to act according to certain optimism principles and consistency, to satisfy some objective or purpose. ... 5. Reason : The reason is the ability by virtue of which the human being is able to identify concepts, to question them, to find coherence or contradiction among them and this way to induce or to deduce other different from those that he already knows. ... 6. Theory Criticize: It is denominated critical Theory to the theories of the group of thinkers of different disciplines associated to the School of Frankfurt: T.Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, Marcuse, Jürgen Habermas, Oskar Negt or Hermann Schweppenhäuser, among others. QUOTES
  9. 9.  "The progress threatens to annihilate the end that should complete the man's idea." Progress  «To understand the crisis of the science depends on a correct theory of the situation social present, because the science, as soon as social, reflective function the contradictions of the society.» Theory Criticizes  «The metaphysics is not only ideological; it is also it the science criticized by her, as long as a form is conserved that prevents to discover the real causes of the crisis. [...] They are ideological all the forms of the human behavior that hide the true nature of the society, erected about antagonisms.» Theory Criticizes  «The word materialism not only qualifies that questionable proposition about the entirety of the reality, but an entire series of thoughts and practical forms of behavior.» Materialist, metaphysical and moral  «The life of most of the men is so miserable, the privations and humiliations are so numerous that the efforts and successes are, in most of the cases, in a so gross disproportion that is comprehensible the hope that this terrestrial order is not the only one true.»
  10. 10. Materialist, metaphysical and moral  «The materialistic theory constitutes a part of the efforts to improve the human relationships, and for it is it in contradiction with all the intents that make appear the social problems as subordinate.» Materialist, metaphysical and moral
  11. 11. BIBLIOGRAPHY  Adorno et Horkheimer. La dialectique de la raison. Gallimard. Paris. 1974  Jean-Marie Vincent. La théorie critique de l’Ecole de Francfort. Editions Galilée. 1976  Martin Jay. The dialectical Imagination. University of California Press Ltd. California. 1996 LINKOGRAPHY  merm/esc_frank_horkhe0001.pdf  urt/autores/horkheimer/ 