Hermeneutics is the art or practice of interpretation. Heidegger is hermeneutical in that he holds the following. All understanding is interpretative in that it always has preconceptions. One has genuine understanding insofar as one has worked through the relevant preconceptions.
For according to Heidegger our initial understanding of our relations to the world involves some particularly misleading and stubborn preconceptions, some of which derive from philosophical tradition. Gabriel Marcel invented that latter term for ideas held by Sartre and by Simone de Beauvoir.
A term used so broadly is hard to define precisely. These theses indicate that for the existentialist philosophy must be practical. It is not, though, that existentialism puts ethics at the heart of philosophy. That is because a further central existentialist idea is that no-one, even in principle, can legislate values for another.
But in no further way does that ethic make much claim to objectivity. What of politics? Little in Husserl fits a conventional understanding of political philosophy. Sartre came to hold that his existential ethics made sense only for a society that had been emancipated by Marxism Sartre xxv-xxvi. Sartre and Merleau-Ponty give one to think, also, about the idea of artistic presentations of philosophy Diprose and Reynolds: ch.
What of Heidegger? Should philosophers get involved in politics?
And was Gilbert Ryle right to say - as allegedly, apropos Heidegger, he did say Cohen n. The foregoing material indicates a sense in which phenomenology is its own best critic. Indeed, some reactions against phenomenology and existentialism as such — against the whole or broad conception of philosophy embodied they represent — owe to apostates or to heterodox philosophers within those camps.
We saw that, in effect, Sartre came to think that existentialism was insufficient for politics. Levinas accused phenomenologists prior to himself of ignoring an absolutely fundamental ethical dimension to experience see Davis Derrida resembles Sartre and Levinas, in that, like them, he developed his own metaphilosophy treated below largely via internal criticism of phenomenology.
Another objection to phenomenology is that it collapses philosophy into psychology or anthropology. Husserl himself criticized Heidegger in that way. Rather differently, some philosophers hold that, despite its attitude to naturalism, phenomenology needs to be naturalized Petitot et al As to existentialism, it has been criticized for ruining ethics and for propounding an outlook that is not only an intellectual mistake but also — and Heidegger is taken as the prime exhibit — politically dangerous see Adorno and ch.
See Literary Theory section 1 for a wider or less historical notion of Critical Theory. According to Critical Theory, the point of philosophy is that it can contribute to a critical and emancipatory social theory. The specification of that idea depends upon which Critical Theory is at issue; Critical Theory is an extended and somewhat diverse tradition.
Most of the members of this generation had Jewish backgrounds. For that reason, and because the Institute was Marxist, the first generation fled the Nazis.
The Institute re-opened in Frankfurt in Within the third, Axel Honneth is the best known. There is a fourth generation too. Moreover, there were stages or phases within the first generation. The treatment of first generation Critical Theory that follows confines itself to iii and iv. He was director of the Institute at the time. He introduced the phrase partly from prudence. But prudence was not the only motive for the new name. Horkheimer meant to clarify and shape the enterprise he was leading.
That enerprise, he proposed see Horkheimer , was the construction of a social theory that was, for one thing, broad. It treats society as a whole or in all its aspects. That breadth, together with the idea that society is more independent of the economy than traditional Marxism recognizes, means that Critical Theory ought to be interdisciplinary. The expertise of the first-generation encompassed economics, sociology, law, politics, psychology, aesthetics and philosophy. Next, Critical Theory is emancipatory. It aims at a society that is rational and free and which meets the needs of all.
It is to that end that Critical Theory is critical. It means to reveal how contemporary capitalist society, in its economy and its culture and in their interplay, deceives and dominates.
Critical Theory so defined involves philosophy in several ways. To begin to explain that third point: Horkheimer and company little specified the rational society they sought and little defended the norms by which they indicted contemporary society.
With Marx, they held that one should not legislate for what should be the free creation of the future. With Hegel, they held that, anyway, knowledge is conditioned by its time and place. They held also, and again in Hegelian fashion, that there are norms that exist largely unactualized within capitalism — norms of justice and freedom and so forth — which suffice to indict capitalism. Philosophy, especially post-Kantian German Idealism, had tried to overcome various types of alienation. But only the achievement of a truly free society could actually do that, according to Critical Theory.
Note lastly here that, at least after , Critical Theory denied both that ostensibly Marxist regimes were such and that emancipation was anywhere nearly at hand. There is a sense in which philosophy looms larger or even larger in the next phase of the first generation of Critical Theory. For, this phase of the movement the 'critique of instrumental reason' phase propounded that which we might call with a nod to Lyotard a very!
Adorno and Horkheimer are the principle figures of this phase, and their co-authored Dialectic of Enlightenment its main text. To disenchant the world is to render it calculable. The Dialectic traces disenchantment from the historical Enlightenment back to the proto-rationality of myth and forward to modern industrial capitalism to its economy, psychology, society, politics, and even to its philosophies.
Here is the parallel idea in the Dialectic. Enlightenment has reverted to myth, in that the calculated world of contemporary capitalism is ruled, as the mythic world was ruled, by impersonal and brutish forces. Adorno and Horkheimer elaborate via the idea of instrumental reason although, actually, the preferred term in Dialectic of Enlightenment — and in Horkheimer's Eclipse of Reason , something of a popularization of the Dialectic — is 'subjective reason'. Disenchantment produces a merely instrumental reason in that it pushes choice among ends outside of the purview of rationality.
That said, the result — Horkheimer and Adorno argue — is a kind of instrumentalization of ends. Ends get replaced, as a kind of default, by things previously regarded merely instrumentally. Thus, at least or especially by the time of contemporary capitalism, life comes to be governed by such means-become-ends as profit, technical expertise, systematization, distraction, and self-preservation. Do these ideas really amount to Critical Theory?
Perhaps they are too abstract to count as interdisciplinary. Worse: they might seem to exclude any orientation towards emancipation. True, commentators show that Adorno offered more practical guidance than was previously thought; also, first-generation Critical Theory, including the critique of instrumental reason, did inspire the s student movement. However: while Marcuse responded to that movement with some enthusiasm, Adorno and Horkheimer did not.
Perhaps they could not.
They write xvi :. We have no doubt—and herein lies our petitio principii —that freedom in society is inseparable from enlightenment thinking. We believe we have perceived with equal clarity, however, that the very concept of that thinking, no less than the concrete historical forms, the institutions of society with which it is intertwined, already contains the germ of the regression. Habermas is a principal source of the criticisms of Adorno and Horkheimer just presented.
Nonetheless, or exactly because he thinks that his predecessors have failed to make good upon the conception, Habermas pursues Critical Theory as Horkheimer defined it, which is to say, as broad, interdisciplinary, critical, and emancipatory social theory. The central thesis of the critique of functionalist reason is that the system has colonized the lifeworld.
In order to understand the thesis, one needs to understand not only the notions of system, lifeworld, and colonization but also the notion of communicative action and — this being the most philosophical notion of the ensemble — the notion of communicative rationality. Communicative action is action that issues from communicative rationality. The lifeworld comprises those areas of life that exhibit communicative action or, we shall see, which could and perhaps should exhibit it.
The areas at issue include the family, education, and the public sphere. A system is a social domain wherein action is determined by more or less autonomous or instrumental procedures rather than by communicative rationality. Habermas counts markets and bureaucracies as among the most significant systems. So the thesis that the lifeworld has been colonized by the system is the following claim.
Metaphilosophy is "the investigation of the nature of philosophy". Its subject matter includes the aims of philosophy, the boundaries of philosophy, and its. Call for Papers: Philosophy as a Way of Life The journal Metaphilosophy invites papers from scholars to produce a special issue of the journal on "Philosophy as .
The extension of bureaucracy and markets into areas such as the family, education, and the public sphere prevent those spheres from being governed by free and open discussion. Habermas uses his colonization thesis to explain alienation, social instability, and the impoverishment of democracy. He maintains, further, that even systems cannot function if colonization proceeds beyond a certain point.
The thinking runs thus. Part of the way in which systems undermine communicative action is by depleting resources social, cultural and psychological necessary for such action. But systems themselves depend upon those resources. Still: Habermas makes it relatively clear that the colonization thesis is meant not only as descriptive but also as normative. For consider the following. How far does Habermas warrant the normativity, which is to say, show that colonization is bad? It is hard to be in favour of self-undermining societies.
But some degree of? But Habermas does have the following argument for the badness of colonization. Habermas a: and Habermas respectively. For it is central both to his philosophy of language or to his so-called universal pragmatics and to his ethics. To put the second of those points more accurately: the idea of a communicative telos is central to his respective conceptions of both ethics and morality.