Reflected appraisal essay

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Reflected appraisal essay

References and Further Reading 1. Biography Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno was born in to relatively affluent parents in central Germany. His mother was a gifted singer, of Italian descent, and his father was a Jewish wine merchant. He was an academically and musically gifted child.

Initially, it appeared that Adorno was destined for a musical career. During the early to mid s Adorno studied music composition under Alban Berg in Vienna and his talent was recognized by the likes of Berg and Schoenberg. However, in the late s, Adorno joined the faculty of the University of Frankfurt and devoted the greatest part of his considerable talent and energy to the study and teaching of philosophy.

Adorno did not complete his Oxford doctorate and appeared to be persistently unhappy in his exilic condition. Along with other members of the Institute for Social Research, Adorno returned to the University of Frankfurt immediately after the completion of the war, taking up a professorial chair in philosophy and sociology.

Adorno remained a professor at the University of Frankfurt until his death in He was married to Gretel and they had no children. Philosophical Influences and Motivation Adorno is generally recognized within the Continental tradition of philosophy as being one of the foremost philosophers of the 20th Century.

His collected works comprise some twenty-three volumes. In seeking to attain a clear understanding of the works of any philosopher, one should begin by asking oneself what motivated his or her philosophical labors. What was Adorno attempting to achieve through his philosophical writings?

It is founded upon a central moral conviction: Adorno considered his principal task to be that of testifying to the persistence of such conditions and thereby, at best, retaining the possibility that such conditions might be changed for the better. HegelMarx, and Nietzsche. I shall begin by discussing this last, before briefly summarizing the influence of the first three.

The establishment of The Frankfurt School was financed by the son of a wealthy grain merchant who wished to create a western European equivalent to the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow.

Reflected appraisal essay

The Intellectual labor of the Institute in Frankfurt thus explicitly aimed at contributing to the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of socialism. However, from onwards, under the Directorship of Max Horkheimer, the work of the Frankfurt School began to show subtle but highly significant deviations from orthodox Marxism.

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Principally, the School began to question, and ultimately reject, the strict economic determinism to which orthodox Marxism was enthralled at the time. This coincided with a firm belief amongst the members of the School that social phenomena, such as culture, mass entertainment, education, and the family played a direct role in maintaining oppression.

Marxists had typically dismissed the importance of such phenomena on the grounds that they were mere reflections of the underlying economic basis of the capitalist mode of production. An undue concern for such phenomena was thus generally thought of as, at best, a distraction from the real task of overthrowing capitalism, at worst a veritable hindrance.

In contrast, the Frankfurt School argued that such phenomena were fundamentally important, in their own right.

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The Frankfurt School thus challenged the economically-centric character of Marxism. The Frankfurt School continued to argue that capitalism remained an oppressive system, but increasingly viewed the system as far more adaptable and robust than Marxists had given it credit for.

The Frankfurt School came to portray capitalism as potentially capable of averting its own demise indefinitely. Politically the Frankfurt School sought to position itself equidistant from both Soviet socialism and liberal capitalism. The greater cause of human emancipation appeared to call for the relentless criticism of both systems.

Although originating with the Frankfurt School, critical theory has now achieved the status of a distinct and separate form of philosophical study, taught and practiced in university departments throughout the world. Critical theory is founded upon an unequivocal normative basis. Taking a cold, hard look at the sheer scale of human misery and suffering experienced during the 20th century in particular, critical theory aims to testify to the extent and ultimate causes of the calamitous state of human affairs.

The ultimate causes of such suffering are, of course, to be located in the material, political, economic, and social conditions which human beings simultaneously both produce and are exposed to. However, critical theory refrains from engaging in any direct, political action.

Rather, critical theorists argue that suffering and domination are maintained, to a significant degree, at the level of consciousness and the various cultural institutions and phenomena that sustain that consciousness.

For Horkheimer the paradigm of traditional theory consisted in those forms of social science that modeled themselves upon the methodologies of natural science. Thus, legitimate knowledge of social reality was considered to be attainable through the application of objective forms of data gathering, yielding, ultimately, quantifiable data.

A strict adherence to such a positivist methodology entailed the exclusion or rejection of any phenomena not amenable to such procedures.Cet essaie analyse l'histoire de la pensée archivistique depuis la publication du Manuel hollandais il y a un siècle.

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