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date: 21 July 2024

critical theory 

A Dictionary of Critical Theory

Ian Buchanan

1. The term coined by Max *Horkheimer in 1937 to describe the work of the *Frankfurt School. Defined against the traditional conception of theory governing the sciences (including the social or human sciences such as sociology), which holds that it is a system of abstract (i.e. ahistorical, asubjective, and asocial) propositions which can be verified empirically, critical theory holds the opposite view, namely that theory is historical, subjective, and a part of society. Critical theory is in this regard a highly reflexive enterprise—it is never satisfied with asking what something means or how it works, it also has to ask what is at stake in asking such questions in the first place.... ...

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