The Doctrinal Evolution of Critical Theory
Bi – vocal Introduction
It is important to begin with an explanation of the historical-philosophical term “critical theory” which appears in the title of this book, which – in my mind – refers to the so-called Frankfurt School related to an interesting political and geographical history of The Institute for Social Research, established in 1923 in Frankfurt am Main. The term, however, could be, according to R. Michalski, understood in a much broader sense, and constitute a reference to an entire spectrum of stands stemming from the critical as well as the Kantian and Marxian philosophical tradition. In such an expanded context, also the social philosophy of M. Foucault2 becomes a legitimate object of comparative analysis.
I limit my remarks only to that narrowed interpretation which, in its initial point, includes some striking ambivalences in meaning. To begin with, what does the term “meander” mean? According to dictionaries, it refers to river turns appearing in large numbers in a particular area. Such a river does not flow straight to the sea, but “meanders.”3 It is, however, independently from the sheer number of its turns, “the same” river, and its meanders represent phases, or embodiments of certain homogenous, natural phenomena. But how does it look from the perspective of ideological coherence in the case of the Frankfurt School, or its terminological equivalent – “critical theory”? What is more, is the use of the term “equivalent” in any way legitimized in that context?
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