Critical Theory and Philosophy

Critical Theory and Philosophy

Critical Theory and Philosophy

Critical Theory and Philosophy

Synopsis

David Ingram is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University Chicago, USA. He is the author (with Jennifer Parks) of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Ethics.

Excerpt

Critical Theory and Philosophy is intended to provide an accessible introduction to some of the major figures and themes of the Frankfurt School. It is primarily directed toward undergraduate and graduate students who have little or no familiarity with the German philosophical tradition informing its heritage. At the same time, it presents a coherent argument that will no doubt be of interest to those already conversant with this tradition. Since it is virtually impossible to pick up any text by a critical theorist which does not refer to this tradition in either its use of technical terminology or its citation of specific sources, I have found it advisable to discuss it at great length. In general, more background on Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Weber has been provided here than would otherwise be necessary for a less elementary text.

Critical Theory and Philosophy satisfies two important needs. First, it provides the historical background necessary for understanding the specific social and political issues of concern to critical theorists. Accordingly, the book is structured in such a way as to give the reader some sense of the history of critical theory from its earliest inception in the writings of Kant, Hegel, and Marx to its most recent encounter with poststructuralism, postmodernism, and feminism. Second, it provides a logical sequence for relating specific social and political concerns to progressively deeper layers of philosophical reflection. A brief introduction provides a general framework for understanding critical theory as a unique form of social philosophy grounded in history and social science. The problems raised here concerning the relationship between theory and practice, the critique of ideology, the concept of reason, and the ideas of freedom, justice, and democracy are developed in later chapters. Chapters two through four discuss ideology and other symptoms of social malaise addressed by critical theorists. Concrete analyses of . . .

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