Horkeiner Essay

5863 WordsSep 23, 201524 Pages
We must begin by asking ourselves why do Horkheimer and Adorno decide to write this book? What motivates them? Who are they and where are they when they collaborate on the book? 1. Horkheimer and Adorno collaborate on the book when they are both in exile in southern California. 2. Both were assimilated Jewish intellectuals from Germany who, along with many other Jewish and left wing intellectuals from the 1930s who are part of the German philosophical tradition that we were speaking of Tuesday, part of a rich vein of Western thought and particularly modern philosophical thought that we trace back to the Enlightenment, to Kant and to Hegel. 3. Horkheimer and Adorno then were expelled from the German University at Frankfort where they worked. Their positions were revoked by the Nazi government and with a clear view of what was coming, they left the country "voluntarily". 4. Horkheimer was a founder of what is known as the "Frankfort School" of critical theory. At Frankfort University, Horkheimer had taken took over the directorship of "Institute of Social Research" and the chair of social philosophy, and there at Frankfort University a group of philosophers and social theorists began writing theory and philosophy that was inspired by Marx and which understood the purpose of their scholarship as seeking "human emancipation" from domination and oppression. 5. Adorno, like Walter Benjamin whom we will read later in the course, were collaborators in this project, and thus, were correctly perceived by the fascists to be in opposition to their own purposes. 6. In other words, they were persecuted not only for being Jewish but also for being philosophers and intellectuals of the political left. Of course, this tradition of philosophical intellectuals of the political left originates itself in Germany, as part of its philosophical history. Dilthey is

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