Review by Choice Review
Anyone harboring ambitions of illuminating in a single volume the philosophical underpinnings and empirical potential of the intellectual movement known as critical theory faces a daunting task. Twentieth-century heirs to the historicizing philosophical traditions of Hegel and Marx, representatives such as Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, and Jurgen Habermas not only disagree on their conceptions of reason and enlightenment, diagnoses of modern life's ills, and the emancipatory potentials of contemporary social institutions, but also exhibit formidable theoretical complexity in their own right. In general Rush (Univ. of Notre Dame) has pulled off his task well, providing a volume that outlines the history of the Frankfurt School yet is oriented to specific problems and topics, many of which remain pressing. Contributions from major scholars include useful comparative treatments, tracings of the legacies of Marx and Freud, discussions of neglected figures such as Franz Neumann, and interrogations of critical theory's political efficacy and future. Some are introductory or programmatic, and others are dense textual studies; the collection exhibits unevenness in difficulty, detail, and clarity. The volume includes a chronology through Axel Honneth (also a contributor). ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers. A. B. Curry St. Joseph College
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