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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 16, Issue 5/6, 2006

Authentic University

Halina Walentowicz
Pages 63-81

Max Horkheimer and His Philosophy

The author advances the thesis that Max Horkheimer’s philosophy is a social one, the constitutive element of which is historiosophy. Contrary to the interpretative stereotype, dominating the philosophical literature, the Author strives to prove that Max Horkheimer’s philosophical point of view—that he calls the critical theory—is distinguished by its uniformity, because albeit the critical theory evaluated under the influence of the 20th-century Europe turbulent history, left its identity intact. The Author thinks that the identity of the critical theory has two major indicators: 1. a visible criticism of the founding father of the Frankfurt philosophical school throughout his intellectual development towards the socio-historical circumstances that deprives the intellectual unity of autonomy and suppresses an independent thought and 2. the inconsolable thirst of changing things into better ones. Three stages of the development of Horkheimer’s philosophical conception have been depicted and briefly characterized in the article: prewar (the forming of the evidence of the critical theory), wartime (the historiosophical conception depicting the auto destruction of enlightenment) and postwar (the prediction of “an administered world”).

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