Largely overshadowed by the renown of his colleagues Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and Herbert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer’s contributions to the Frankfurt School are often downplayed as those of the mere director of the Institute for Social Research and the lesser coauthor of Dialectic of Enlightenment. Despite occupying this position of marginality within the corpus of Critical Theory, Horkheimer’s work stands as a significant and sustained attempt to develop an interdisciplinary and materialist research program as a methodological alternative to metaphysical philosophy. As J. C. Berendzen notes, one of Horkheimer’s most significant contributions to philosophy is his development of materialism as a viable postmetaphysical critical social theory.1 Likewise, Hauke Brunkhorst lauds Horkheimer’s “materialist destruction of philosophy” for opening the way to a “social-scientific transformation of philosophy” that takes leave of the problems of metaphysical philosophy.2 Even with such high praise for the strides his early work makes...
Postmetaphysical Conundrums: The Problematic Return to Metaphysics in Horkheimer’s Critique of Instrumental Reason
George W. Shea; Postmetaphysical Conundrums: The Problematic Return to Metaphysics in Horkheimer’s Critique of Instrumental Reason. New German Critique 1 November 2021; 48 (3 (144)): 1–30. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-9305498
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