<history of philosophy, philosophy> the theoretical approach of the Frankfurt School of social philosophers. Relying on the work of Hegel and Marx, they tried to exhibit dialectically the contradictions imposed upon modern human beings by varieties of social organization that abuse formal rationality in order to deny power to classes of citizens. Rejecting the detached insularity of traditional efforts at objectivity, critical theorists of any sort generally hope that their explanation of the causes of oppression will result in practical efforts to eliminate it. Recommended Reading: Max Horkheimer, Critical Theory, tr. by Mathew J. O'Connell (Continuum, 1975); David Held, Introduction to Critical Theory: Horkheimer to Habermas (California, 1981); Hauke Brunkhorst, Adorno and Critical Theory (U of Wales, 1999); and Ben Agger, Critical Social Theory: An Introduction (Westview, 1998).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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