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Dialectic of Enlightenment (Cultural Memory…

Dialectic of Enlightenment (Cultural Memory in the Present) (original 1947; edition 2007)

by Max Horkheimer (Author)

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1,548147,546 (4.09)10
Dialectic of Enlightenment is undoubtedly the most influential publication of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Written during the Second World War and circulated privately, it appeared in a printed edition in Amsterdam in 1947. "What we had set out to do," the authors write in the Preface, "was nothing less than to explain why humanity, instead of entering a truly human state, is sinking into a new kind of barbarism."Yet the work goes far beyond a mere critique of contemporary events. Historically remote developments, indeed, the birth of Western history and of subjectivity itself out of the struggle against natural forces, as represented in myths, are connected in a wide arch to the most threatening experiences of the present. The book consists in five chapters, at first glance unconnected, together with a number of shorter notes. The various analyses concern such phenomena as the detachment of science from practical life, formalized morality, the manipulative nature of entertainment culture, and a paranoid behavioral structure, expressed in aggressive anti-Semitism, that marks the limits of enlightenment. The authors perceive a common element in these phenomena, the tendency toward self-destruction of the guiding criteria inherent in enlightenment thought from the beginning. Using historical analyses to elucidate the present, they show, against the background of a prehistory of subjectivity, why the National Socialist terror was not an aberration of modern history but was rooted deeply in the fundamental characteristics of Western civilization.Adorno and Horkheimer see the self-destruction of Western reason as grounded in a historical and fateful dialectic between the domination of external nature and society. They trace enlightenment, which split these spheres apart, back to its mythical roots. Enlightenment and myth, therefore, are not irreconcilable opposites, but dialectically mediated qualities of both real and intellectual life. "Myth is already enlightenment, and enlightenment reverts to mythology." This paradox is the fundamental thesis of the book.This new translation, based on the text in the complete edition of the works of Max Horkheimer, contains textual variants, commentary upon them, and an editorial discussion of the position of this work in the development of Critical Theory.… (more)
Title:Dialectic of Enlightenment (Cultural Memory in the Present)
Authors:Max Horkheimer (Author)
Info:Stanford University Press (2007), Edition: 1, 304 pages
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Dialectic of Enlightenment by Max Horkheimer (1947)


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The book "Dialectic of Enlightenment" one of the first books that topped the Frankfurt School library. It dates back to the era of the forties of the last century. It was written by Marx Horkheimer and Theodor V.adurno. However, the idea of the book and his concerns do not make us stand at a theoretical concern that its title might suggest. As it produced Kant in his well-known essay on the subject to him. Does not address the political sense of the word exchange where the book comes in a difficult political phase of the history of the Frankfurt School, and the history of persecution suffered by the owners of this school in that period. What most members carry it to leave Frankfurt and try again incorporation abroad, from Vienna to the United States. Which found its reflection in this book, especially in the chapter which relates to anti-Semitism. Mention, of course, the Jewish origin, which dates back to him, these two authors along with other colleagues at the Frankfurt School. ( )
  Awasha_Albadri | Dec 26, 2014 |
Größtenteils sehr unterhaltsam. Hab mich beim Lesen des Kapitels über "Kulturindustrie" kichernd im Bett gekugelt. Den Rest habe ich nicht verstanden. Glaube ich. ( )
  Wolfseule | Oct 15, 2013 |
Größtenteils sehr unterhaltsam. Hab mich beim Lesen des Kapitels über "Kulturindustrie" kichernd im Bett gekugelt. Den Rest habe ich nicht verstanden. Glaube ich. ( )
  Wolfseule | Oct 15, 2013 |
Größtenteils sehr unterhaltsam. Hab mich beim Lesen des Kapitels über "Kulturindustrie" kichernd im Bett gekugelt. Den Rest habe ich nicht verstanden. Glaube ich. ( )
  Wolfseule | Oct 15, 2013 |
You should probably avoid this book if you want to retain any sort of hope for humanity.
2 vote chaosmogony | Apr 27, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Max Horkheimerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Adorno, Theodor W.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Ījabs, IvarsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buchholz, JanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cumming, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hinsch, ReniCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jephcott, EdmundTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Noeri, GunzelinEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wijkmark, Carl-HenningTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Voor Friedrich Pollock
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Enlightenment, understood in the widest sense as the advance of thought, has always aimed at liberating human beings from fear and installing them as masters.
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