Back from the future

Keti Chukhrov, Practicing the Good: Desire and Boredom in Soviet Socialism (Minneapolis: eflux/University of Minnesota Press, 2020). 336pp., £22.99 pb., 978 1 51790 955 0 Spinoza’s dictum that we ought to understand first – not ridicule, not cry, nor detest – is ignored surprisingly often, even in philosophical scholarship, when it comes to revising and […]

Between context and transcendence

Martin Jay, Genesis and Validity: The Theory and Practice of Intellectual History (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022). 280pp., £26.99 hb., 978 0 81225 340 5 Can ideas transcend the context of their appearance? Can concepts depose the particularity of their origin to achieve validity? In the opening pages to a new collection of essays […]

Wounds of Democracy

Scholars of European history and critical theory observing American politics in recent years have often found themselves experiencing déjà vu. History, the truism goes, does not repeat itself, but last summer, with calls for ‘law and order’ and armed right-wing militias clashing with anti-racist protestors across America, many asked, what more are you waiting for? […]

The Logic of Critical Theory

Robert B. Pippin, Hegel’s Realm of Shadows: Logic as Metaphysics in The Science of Logic (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019). 322pp., £34.00 hb., £24.00 pb., 978 0 22658 870 4 hb., 978 0 22670 341 1 pb. In one of Lenin’s most famous lines, he notes that ‘it is impossible to understand Marx’s Capital […]

The theatre of economic categories

Marx prefaces the first edition of the first volume of Capital with a laconic proviso. ‘To avoid any possible misunderstandings’, he writes, ‘a word. I do not by any means depict the capitalist and the landowner in rosy colours. But individuals are dealt with here only insofar as they are the personifications of economic categories, […]

Critical theory and lived experience

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 he was actively involved in the protest movements associated with the political upheavals of 1968. In the seventies, Claussen worked as […]

‘The world spirit on the fins of a rocket’

‘The world spirit on the fins of a rocket’ Adorno’s critique of progress Michael Lowy and Eleni Varikas The ideology of progress, born (in its modern guise) during the Enlightenment, finds its culminating philosophical expression in Hegel’s conception of history. Here, everything that happens marks a further step in mankind’s march towards freedom: watching Napoleon […]

Incomplete Modernity

Incomplete Modernity: Ulrich Beck’s Risk Society Michae/ Rustin There has been good reason to fear that ‘post-modem’ and ‘post-industrial’ currents of thought have been sweeping away the foundations of radical critiques without offering to put anything very substantial in their place. It is all very well criticising the limitations of social democracy, the welfare state, […]

Axel Honneth

Critical Theory in Germany Today 1 r An Interview with Axel Honneth if’ Axel Honneth is Professor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Political Science at the Free University, Berlin. He is the author of The Critique of Power: Reflective Stages in a Critical Social Theory (1985; English translation, MIT Press, 1991) and Struggle for […]

The Call of Nature

The Call of Nature A Reply to Ted Benton and Tim Hayward Michael Reid Does the critical practice of the ecology movement require a theoretical ground? Ted Benton,l for one, seems to think that it does. In the Autumn 1992 issue of Radical Philosophy Tim Hayward argued that one could accept Benton’ s theory without […]

The Spirit of Postmodernism (Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 27 February); Rethinking Critical Theory (University of Essex, 27 February 1993); Maurice Blanchot (London, 6-8 January 1993)

For Godd’s Sake The Spirit of Postmodernism Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 27 February 1993 It seemed that Marx had forgotten to add that not only worldhistorical events but also academic conferences occur twice, the second time as farce. This conference was timed to coincide with the publication of the papers collected from an earlier […]

56 Reviews

Geoffrey Scarre, ed., Children, Parents and Politics Carolyn Steedman, Childhood, Culture and Class in Britain: Margaret McMillan, 1860-1931 David Archard Alison Assiter, Pornography, Feminism and the lndividual Jean Grimshaw Otto Pöggeler, Martin Heidegger’s Path of Thinking Jonathan Rée David Gooding, Trevor Pinch, Simon Schaffer, eds., The Uses of Experiment Jonathan Powers Morwenna Griffiths and Margaret […]

The Politics of Fulfilment and Transfiguration

The Politics of Fulfilment and Transfiguration J. M. Bernstein- SeylaBenhabib’ s Critique, Norm, and Utopia* is, without doubt, the most philosophically acute and learned history of the critical theory of society yet to be written. Because the intentions of Benhabib’s work are systematic rather than historical, her history is equally a major contribution to critical […]

The Frankfurt School and the Problem of Critique

The Frankfurt School and the Problem of Critique: A Reply to McCarney Peter Dews and Peter Osborne The question of the possibility, form, and validity of a ‘critical’ social science, of its relation to Marxism and to the ideas of dialectic and contradiction, received considerable attention on the pages of Radical Philosophy in the late […]

What Makes Critical Theory Critical?

What Makes Critical Theory IC riticaI’? Joseph McCarney The toplc of this paper is the project of a critlcal theory of society. It considers that project in the form it takes in the work of its best known exponents, the theorists of the socalled ‘Frankfurt School’. The main question to be answered is the question […]

Why Habermas?

WBY BA.BERMAS ? LINDA J. NICHOLSON’ There exist two ways to deny an idea. One is to label it false. The other is to call it non-important, more effectively achieved by not discussing it all. Mainstream philosophy in both England and the United states has skilfully employed the art of nondiscussion to deny ideas antithetical […]

Philosophy in Germany

Philosophy in Germany Simon critchley and axel honneth SC: Simply as a way of initially organizing our discussion, we both agreed to read a short article by Dieter Henrich that appeared in Merkur in his philosophy column, ʻEine Generation im Abgangʼ (ʻA Passing Generationʼ). [1] Henrich rightly claims that a change of generations is coming […]