Syllabus_Critical_Theory_2015.pdf - Critical Theory Lecture and Seminar Course Spring 2015(Semester IIb BA Philosophy(third year University of Groningen

Syllabus_Critical_Theory_2015.pdf - Critical Theory Lecture...

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Critical Theory Lecture and Seminar Course Spring 2015 (Semester IIb) BA Philosophy (third year) University of Groningen, Faculty of Philosophy Tuesdays, 15-18, Room Omega INSTRUCTOR Dr Titus Stahl E-mail: [email protected] (PGP Key ID: 5A51 42B4 2251 5C07) Phone: +31503636152 Office Hours: Wednesday, 10-11 am., Philosophy Building, Room 1.21 ( Please e-mail me in advance as I occasionally might be out of office due to other commitments. We can also arrange an appointment for a different time if required. ) COURSE DESCRIPTION This course will focus on the critical social theory of the “Frankfurt School” and its subsequent development. Building on the work of Marx, Freud and Lukács, the critical theory of the Frankfurt School was conceived in the 1920s as a research program that aimed to explain the persistence of social unfreedom in modern societies by drawing on insights from ideology theory, cultural theory, psychoanalysis and philosophy. Its main representatives, Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, subsequently developed a radical philosophical critique of modern society and modern thought which they see as fundamentally determined by an imperative of domination which encompasses social and personal relations as well as the relation of humans to nature. According to this view, the rise of totalitarianism in the 20th century is essentially connected to the conceptions of subjectivity, nature and reason on which not only liberal societies draw but which are also part of modern philosophy. These premises entail considerable consequences not only for political thought, but also for moral philosophy, ethics and aesthetics. The claims of the Frankfurt School have subsequently been fundamentally revised by other theorists especially in regard to the normative foundations of critical theory. In the course, we will discuss in particular Jürgen Habermas’s proposal to describe the potential for non-oppressive social rationalization in terms of the practice of communication and Axel Honneth’s critical theory that is based on a reconstruction of intersubjective relations of recognition. The course will focus on getting a clear understanding of the main claims of historical and contemporary critical theories, on their normative impact on our contemporary thinking about justice and the good life and on whether they can contribute insights to current debates in philosophy. - 1 -
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COURSE OBJECTIVES Topic specific objectives: knowledge about the tradition of critical theory as one of the major currents of 20th century social and cultural thought the ability to critically examine arguments in social and political philosophy and in cultural theory from the perspective of critical theories the ability to reason about current social and cultural issues philosophically with the help of critical theories General philosophical objectives: to improve skills in identifying and evaluating philosophical arguments to improve skills in finding relevant literature and to critically evaluate the arguments of different
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