Moreover, if the true realm of man is governed by reason, then critical thought must oppose the world of capital which dictates all aspects of a human’s life for it. Essay taken from Horkheimer's "Critical Theory: Selected Essays". Its criterion for success is cohesion and harmony, free of contradictions or inconsistencies. These “savants” are unaware of the larger social context they are in and do not recognize that the economic structure of society shapes their scientific work. In his 1937 essay, "Traditional and Critical Theory," Max Horkheimer details the differences between traditional theory and critical theory. ( Log Out / The task of the theorist is to formulate a critique both against defenders of the status quo and the “distracting, conformist, or utopian tendencies within his own household” (216). ( Log Out / 238 • 1HE FOUNDATIONS AND MEIBODS OF CRITICAL THEORY MAX HORKHEIMER nature to … Despite the apparent neutrality of such concepts, Horkheimer argues that they are actually a derivation of the society to which a scholar belongs. For Horkheimer, the plea for a critical theory of society is preceded by a defence of theory and of theoretical thought in the face of present attacks on theory from the side of positivism, pragmatism, and the prevailing machinery of capitalist production, which emphasizes utility, profit and practical outcomes. MAX HORKHEIMER TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY hat is "theory"? Horkheimer, Max. Register to receive personalised research and resources by email, Traditional, Problem-Solving and Critical Theory: An Analysis of Horkheimer and Cox's Setting of the ‘Critical’ Divide, /doi/full/10.1080/14747731.2015.1130204?needAccess=true. In fact, traditional theory has absolutized its relative truth, thus transforming its truth into its own opposite. In order to understand the similarities and differences in their approaches, this paper draws out three loci of difference between Cox and Horkheimer regarding the question of emancipation: (i) the epistemological relation between ‘critical’ and ‘Problem-Solving’ (Cox) or ‘Traditional Theory’ (Horkheimer); (ii) the emphasis placed on transformation and historical process; and (iii) the importance of intersubjectivity in how each approach emancipation. The critical theorist therefore embraces tension as a constituent element of his theory: contra Kant, “reason cannot become transparent to itself as long as men act as members of an organism that lacks reason” (208). Traditional vs Critical Theory In his 1937 essay, “Traditional and Critical Theory,” Max Horkheimer details the differences between traditional theory and critical theory. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. That yes, it is a Marxism that they considered themselves unorthodox, with variations on the thought of Marx. Indeed, Horkheimer criticizes “traditional theory” in light of the rejection of its representational view of knowledge and its nonhistorical subject. …Here the difference between the ironworker and the philosopher of physics becomes acute. theory itself. I thereby intend to present postcolonial- This world is the world of capital. Horkheimer was the director of the Institute and Professor of Social Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt from 1930–1933, and again from 1949–1958. Traditional theory presents itself as neutral, using abstract mathematical concepts and deductive chains of reasoning to accomplish the specific tasks it seeks to accomplish. As a theory, its primary criterion is harmony: all of the constituent parts form a coherent whole, free of contradiction. Globalizations: Vol. Thus, if there is any hope for the development of better society and the future of humanity, it “…depends on the existence today of the critical attitude” (242). Thus, concern for social justice is critical theory’s raison d’être, and, as such, it can only be called affirmative in the sense that “the future of humanity depends on the existence today of the critical attitude” (242). ( Log Out / New York: Herder and Herder, 1972. Thus, a pragmatist or positivist may “pay most attention to the connections between theoretical work and the social life-process,” but, in reality, they “integrate facts into conceptual frameworks to keep the [social division of labor] up to date so that he himself and all who use them may be masters of the widest possible range of facts.” Traditional theory can only serve to aid the production and reproduction of capitalism, for its “achievements are a factor in the conservation and continuous renewal of the existing state of affairs…” (196).