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Dawn and Decline (Horkheimer, 1934/74)

by Max Horkheimer (1934/74) [PDF] Dusk: The less stable necessary ideologies are, the more cruel the methods by which they are protected. The degree of zeal and terror with which tottering idols are defended shows how far dusk has already advanced. With the development of large-scale industry, the intelligence of the European masses has grown […]

Die Sehnsucht nach dem ganz Anderen: Max Horkheimer im Interview mit Helmut Gumnior (1970)

PDF »In einer wirklich freiheitlichen Gesinnung bleibt jener Begriff des Unendlichen als Bewußtsein der Endgültigkeit des irdischen Geschehens und der unabänderlichen Verlassenheit des Menschen erhalten und bewahrt die Gesellschaft vor einem blöden Optimismus, vor dem Aufspreizen ihres eigenen Wissens als einer neuen Religion.« Diesen Satz schrieb Max Horkheimer vor 35 Jahren im amerikanischen Exil. Er […]

The Social Function of Philosophy (Horkheimer, 1939)

WHEN the words physics, chemistry, medicine, or history are mentioned in a conversation, the participants usually have something very definite in mind. Should any difference of opinion arise, we could consult an encyclopedia or accepted textbook or turn to one or more outstanding specialists in the field in question. The definition of any one of […]

Authority and the Family (Horkheimer, 1936)

by Max Horkheimer (1936) PDF THE history of mankind has been divided into periods in very varying ways. The manner in which periodization has been carried out has not depended exclusively on the object, any more than other concept formations have; the current state of knowledge and the concerns of the knower have also played […]

The Authoritarian State (Horkheimer, 1942)

The historical predictions on the fate of bourgeois society have been confirmed. In the system of the free market economy, which pushed men to labor-saving discoveries and finally subsumed them in a global mathematical formula, its specific offspring, machines, have become means of destruction not merely in the literal sense: they have made not work […]

The Value Form, Reification, and the Consciousness of the Collective Worker (Milchman, 2010)

Alan Milchman (Mac Intosh) 1940-2021 Internationalist PerspectiveIssue 57: Fall/Winter 2010 [PDF] Marx’s critical theory exposed a mode of production, a civilization, based on value, which he described as a “deranged” or “perverted form” [verrückte Form], in which social relations between persons are inverted and appear as relations between things. It is the abstract labor of the […]

Correspondence on the German Student Movement: Adorno-Marcuse, 1969

[Image 1. Anti war protests at the University of California, San Diego, 1970. Credits: Fred Lonidier] FIELD republishes today this 1969 letter exchange between Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse on the German student protest movement. First appearing in the New Left Review in January-February 1999, these letters are too relevant to the present moment to be consigned […]

The Political Contradictions in Adorno’s Theory (Krahl, 1971)

Originally published in Hans-Jürgen Krahl, Konstitution und Klassenkampf (Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Neue Kritik, 1971), pp. 285-288. English translation by Pat Murray and Ruth Heydebrand: Telos Fall 1974 no. 21, pp. 164-167. See also: Hans-Jürgen Krahl (1943-1970) / Für Krahl (Reinicke, 1973) / Krahl oder Adorno. DOWNLOAD PDF Adorno’s intellectual biography, even in its most aesthetic abstractions, […]

Für Krahl (Reinicke, 1973)

by Helmut Reinicke (Merve Verlag, 1973) PDF [See also: Digger Journal; Krahlstudien; Krahl-briefe] »Ist das Wahre abstrakt, so ist es unwahr.« Hegel I. Eine Darstellung der intellektuellen Biographie der Revolt am Denken von Hans-Jürgen Krahl (1944-1970) bedarf nicht des je­weils akribischen Nachweises der gelungenen marxistischen Ab­leitung jeder Kategorie. Nicht auf das hausmannskostartige Räsonnement kann es […]

Mattick and Council Communism in Miserable Times: Critique Between Defeat and Crisis

A reading list by A New Institute for Social Research, 2021 See also: Theses on the Council Concept A few accounts of the emergence of the tendency Pozzoli, “Paul Mattick and Council Communism” Bonacchi, “The Council Communists Between the New Deal and Fascism” Baum, “The Frankfurt School and Council Communism” Canne-Meijer, “Origins of the Movement […]

A Guide to Value-Form Theory

via reification of persons and personification of things (2021) It’s winter in the middle of a global pandemic. You have time on your hands and you like to read. Maybe you’ve stumbled across Heinrich twitter and want to know what the hell is going on? Maybe you’ve read Michael Heinrich’s Introduction to all 3 volumes […]

In partial praise of a positivist (O’Neill, 1995)

The work of Otto Neurath by John O’Neill (Radical Philosophy, 1995) DOWNLOAD PDF From the Frankfurt School the story has emerged that positivism is a conservative doctrine necessarily committed to existing social institutions and to a technocratic conception of politics. Even the most scientistic orthodox Marxist is unlikely to announce that she is a positivist. […]

Critical theory and experience: Interview with Detlev Claussen (2019)

Detlev Claussen and Jordi Maiso – RP 2.06 (Winter 2019)Translated by Alex Alvarez Taylor [See Claussen’s biography of Adorno: One Last Genius (2008)] Detlev Claussen (b. 1948) is Professor Emeritus of Social Theory, Culture and Sociology at Leibniz Universität Hannover. In the mid-sixties he moved to Frankfurt to study with Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, where […]

Minima Moralia: Reflections on a damaged life (Adorno, 1951)

by Theodor Adorno [PDF] Dedication The melancholy science, from which I make this offering to my friend, relates to a realm which has counted, since time immemorial, as the authentic one of philosophy, but which has, since its transformation into method, fallen prey to intellectual disrespect, sententious caprice and in the end forgetfulness: the teaching […]

The Meaning of Working Through the Past (Adorno, 1959)

by Theodor Adorno (1959, Critical Models) The question “What does working through the past mean?” requires explication. It follows from a formulation, a modish slogan that has become highly suspect during the last years. In this usage “working through the past” does not mean seriously working upon the past, that is, through a lucid consciousness […]

We Need a New State Debate (Part Two) — Chris O’Kane

The second part of Chris O’Kane’s critical reevaluation of Marxist state theories and debates. via We Need a New State Debate (Part Two) — Chris O’Kane — Legal Form The State Derivation Debate [1] The so-called second generation of Frankfurt critical theorists, Jürgen Habermas and Claus Offe, had formulated social-democratic theories of the state. They had argued […]

We Need a New State Debate (Part One) — Chris O’Kane

The first part of Chris O’Kane’s critical reevaluation of Marxist state theories and debates. via We Need a New State Debate (Part One) — Chris O’Kane — Legal Form We live in tumultuous times. Depending on whom you ask or even what day you happen to ask them, socialism is back, but so is fascism; neoliberalism […]

Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture (Jameson, 1979)

by FREDRIC JAMESON The theory of mass culture-or mass audience culture, commercial culture, “popular” culture, the culture industry, as it is variously known-has always tended to define its object against so-called high culture without reflecting on the objective status of this opposition. As so often, positions in this field reduce themselves to two mirror-images, and […]

Critical Theory and the Critique of Anti-Imperialism

by Marcel Stoetzler (2018) PDF [in Best, Beverley; Werner Bonefeld; Chris O’Kane (eds.), The Sage Handbook of Frankfurt School Critical Theory, vol. 3, 1467-1486.] The rejection of ‘anti-imperialism’ marks one of the most visible and significant differences between ‘Frankfurt School’ Critical Theory and most other tendencies of the Marxist left. The dispute on the meaning […]


by Gerhard Scheit, translated by Lars Fischer (Sage Handbook for Frankfurt School Critical Theory, 2018) The term racket first turned up in the context of Critical Theory toward the end of the 1930s and instantly attained considerable conceptual significance. In his notes and drafts for Dialectic of Enlightenment, Horkheimer identified the racket as the ‘elementary […]