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Butler’s idea of improvisation compared to Foucault’s notions of creativity and self-invention.
Sixth writing assignmentThe prompts for this assignment were :-
“What human beings seek to learn from nature is how to use it to dominate wholly both it and human beings. Nothing else counts.” — Horkheimer and Adorno
Discuss how the idea of domination plays a role in two of the authors we have read this semester (you may write on Horkheimer and Adorno [as one thinker]).
Horkheimer and Adorno and Foucault see progress as a kind of trap in which we ensnare ourselves. Discuss one of them in relation to another thinker in our course who also saw progress as a trap. (more…)
Readings for this module.
- Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944)
- Michel Foucault, selections from Madness and Civilization (1964)
- Michel Foucault,“What is Enlightenment?,”
Critical Theory and The Frankfurt School
The narrow sense of “Critical Theory” was coined by a group of German philosophers and social theorists known as “the Frankfurt School”. This began with Horkheimer and Adorno and stretched to Marcuse and Habermas. They distinguished “critical” from “traditional” theory saying that a theory is critical to the extent that it seeks human emancipation, “to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them” (Horkheimer 1982, 244). In a broader sense critical theories aim to explain all the circumstances that enslave humans. This group of thinkers is still active today.