Yet there is a universal feeling of fear and disillusionment. Advance in technical facilities for enlightenment is accompanied by a process of dehumanization. Thus progress threatens to nullify the very goal it is supposed to realize the idea of man. He starts with an explanation of the Objective theory of reason then he explains its decline and the rise of subjective reason, which he gives a few ideological examples for it until we reach pragmatism. He then explains the effects of the subjective reasoning on the individual and the society, then he ends with his solution to this problem. Objective Reason An objective theory of reason aims at evolving a comprehensive system, or hierarchy, of all beings, including man and his aims.
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He writes with the perfect combination of exceptional erudition and a burning passion that would make Nietzsche proud. The Eclipse of Reason is an unrelenting assault on the various disciplines that fall prey to what Horkheimer describes as subjective reason. Horkheimer believes that virtually every element of society is suffering from the glorification of subjective reason as the only reason, which leads, he believes, to the inevitable descent into relativism, which in turn undermines the meanings of every action, and drags society kicking and screaming into a nihilistic abyss.
We placed our faith in science, and science repaid us in kind with the most ruthlessly effective means of wholesale destruction of human life ever imagined. It is in this context that Horkheimer writes; his continuing relevance suggests we are far from recovered from this nadir. Horkheimer essentially believes that reason ate itself. In The Enlightenment it positioned itself — though not initially explicitly — as a challenger to the crown of religion as the leading source of cultural meaning-making.
Calling on Weberian terminology, Horkheimer discusses how this lead to the world becoming increasingly demystified, the magic of the world was all being rationalised and explained away. As the philosophers and scientists who represent the clergy of the Church of Reason would have it, this demystification served to free humanity from irrational dogma and superstition — we have become Enlightened.
Horkheimer suggests that, nice as this sounds, the rise of reason contained in its demystifying character the seed of its own downfall. By stripping the world of its magic — of its value-external-from-itself — reason accidentally denied the existence of any absolute values, truths, and meanings. Objective reason, in the hands of vastly influential sceptics such as Hume, sabotages itself by denying the existence of absolutes. Of course, Kant and so many who come after try to save this, but for Horkheimer, the damage has been done.
To fill the void, reason itself falls prey to dogma: the belief that subjective reason, epitomised in the scientific method, somehow possesses universal truth. This is science taken in a much broader meaning than simply the academic disciplines of the natural sciences.
This is an ideological perspective that remains relentlessly pervasive throughout academia and in society more broadly. For me, Eclipse of Reason contained three key, interconnected elements of this positivistic outlook. The second is an examination of this view and how it impacts our relationship to nature. Finally, Horkheimer views this outlook in terms of what it means for the individual. I would be writing for a long time if I were to go into detail regarding all of these elements.
Needless to say, they add up to a quite merciless attack on dominant cultural values. For me personally, the most interesting element was the discussion around nature. Here he talks about how turning everything into means renders nature beyond its purpose to industry meaningless. I found this chapter profound and it links with a number of other important writings from the likes of Arendt and Heidegger to provide an important critique of our approach to nature.
Eclipse of Reason, then, is unfalteringly bleak in its outlook. Horkheimer masterfully and passionately diagnoses the sickness in our society, and his outlook is grim. This is perhaps a shortcoming — not only Horkheimer but many of those writing in the lose tradition of the Frankfurt School or critical theory — what use is diagnosis without a cure?
Horkheimer and his like, however, exist as an absolutely essential foil to orthodox culture and theory. These are the kind of thinkers we need in order to know where we stand, to focus our minds in the right direction. The issue is that reason throws into doubt any claim to the absolute.
Shelves: leftwing-theory , wurstchen A quiet little text, but probably one of the more significant foundational documents of the Frankfurt School, here by the most frankfurty of the bunch. Marcuse, Fromm, and Adorno are all more famous, but this guy captures the Frankfurt principle best, I think. Five essays. First is an argument regarding subjective and objective reason.
Max Horkheimer – Eclipse of Reason
Summary[ edit ] Horkheimer deals with the concept of reason within the history of western philosophy. He details the difference between objective , subjective and instrumental reason, and states that we have moved from the former through the center and into the latter though subjective and instrumental reason are closely connected. Objective reason deals with universal truths that dictate that an action is either right or wrong. It is a concrete concept, and a force in the world that requires specific modes of behavior.
Eclipse Of Reason
In deze, reageerde hij kritisch naar wat hij zag als de eenzijdigheid van zowel neokantianisme met de focus op concepten en Lebensphilosophie met de focus op expressie en wereld-disclosure. Horkheimer dacht niet dat niet juist was, maar stond erop dat de inzichten van elke school op hun eigen kon niet voldoende bijdragen aan het herstel van sociale problemen. De kritische theorie Door middel van de kritische theorie een sociale theorie gericht op bekritiseren en veranderende samenleving , Horkheimer "geprobeerd om radicale sociale en culturele kritiek revitaliseren" en besproken autoritarisme, militarisme, ontwrichting van de economie, milieu-crisis en de armoede van de massacultuur. Horkheimer ontwikkelde zijn kritische theorie van de behandeling van zijn eigen rijkdom, terwijl getuige van de juxtapositie van de burgerlijke en de verarmde.
Eclipse of Reason
He writes with the perfect combination of exceptional erudition and a burning passion that would make Nietzsche proud. The Eclipse of Reason is an unrelenting assault on the various disciplines that fall prey to what Horkheimer describes as subjective reason. Horkheimer believes that virtually every element of society is suffering from the glorification of subjective reason as the only reason, which leads, he believes, to the inevitable descent into relativism, which in turn undermines the meanings of every action, and drags society kicking and screaming into a nihilistic abyss. We placed our faith in science, and science repaid us in kind with the most ruthlessly effective means of wholesale destruction of human life ever imagined.