You are on page 1of 28

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY


WHAT is "theory"? The question seems a rather easy one for contem orary science! Theory for most researchers is the sum" tota# of ro ositions a$out a su$%ect& the ro ositions $ein' so #in(e) *ith each other that a fe* are $asic an) the rest )eri+e from these! The sma##er the num$er of rimary rinci #es in com arison *ith the )eri+ations& the more erfect the theory! The rea# +a#i)ity of the theory )e en)s on the )eri+e) ro osi" tions $ein' consonant *ith the actua# facts! If e, erience an) theory contra)ict each other& one of the t*o must $e re"e,amine)! Either the scientist has fai#e) to o$ser+e correct#y or somethin' is *ron' *ith the rinci #es of the theory! In re#ation to facts& therefore& a theory a#*ays remains a hy othesis! One must $e rea)y to chan'e it if its *ea(nesses $e'in to sho* as one *or(s throu'h the materia#! Theory is store) u (no*#e)'e& ut in a form that ma(es it usefu# for the c#osest ossi$#e )escri tion of facts! -oincare com ares science to a #i$rary that must cease" #ess#y e, an)! E, erimenta# hysics is the #i$rarian *ho ta(es care of acquisitions& that is& enriches (no*#e)'e $y su #yin' ne* materia#! .athematica# hysics/the theory of natura# sci" ence in the strictest sense/(ee s the cata#o'ue0 *ithout the cata#o'ue one *ou#) ha+e no access to the #i$rary1s rich con" tents! "That is the ro#e of mathematica# hysics! It must )irect 'enera#isation& so as to increase *hat I ha+e ca##e) %ust no* the out ut of science!" 2 The 'enera# 'oa# of a## theory is a uni+ersa# systematic science& not #imite) to any articu#ar su$"
2! Henri -oincare& Science and Hypothesis, tr! $y W3i##iam4 53ohn4 63reenstreet4 7Lon)on8 Wa#ter 9cott& 2:;<=& ! 2><!

%ect matter $ut em$racin' a## ossi$#e o$%ects! The )i+ision of sciences is $ein' $ro(en )o*n $y )eri+in' the rinci #es for s ecia# areas from the same $asic remises! The same conce tua# a aratus *hich *as e#a$orate) for the ana#ysis of inanimate nature is ser+in' to c#assify animate nature as *e##& an) anyone *ho has once mastere) the use of it& that is& the ru#es for )eri+a" tion& the sym$o#s& the rocess of com arin' )eri+e) ro ositions *ith o$ser+a$#e fact& can use it at any time! @ut *e are sti## rather far from such an i)ea# situation! 9uch& in its $roa) #ines& is the *i)e#y acce te) i)ea of *hat theory is! Its ori'ins su ose)#y coinci)e *ith the $e'innin's of mo)ern hi#oso hy! The thir) ma,im in Descartes1 scientific metho) is the )ecision to carry on my ref#ections in )ue or)er& commencin' *ith o$%ects that *ere the most sim #e an) easy to un)erstan)& in or)er to rise #itt#e $y #itt#e& or $y )e'rees& to (no*#e)'e of the most com #e,& assumin' an or)er& e+en if a fictitious one& amon' those *hich )o not fo##o* a natura# sequence re#ati+e to one another! The )eri+ation as usua##y ractice) in mathematics is to $e a " #ie) to a## science! The or)er in the *or#) is ca ture) $y a )e)ucti+e chain of thou'ht! Those #on' chains of )e)ucti+e reasonin'& sim #e an) easy as they are& of *hich 'eometricians ma(e use in or)er to arri+e at the most )ifficu#t )emonstrations& ha) cause) me to ima'ine that a## those thin's *hich fa## un)er the co'niAance of men mi'ht +ery #i(e#y $e mutua##y re#ate) in the same fashion0 an) that& ro+i)e) on#y that *e a$stain from recei+in' anythin' as true *hich is not so& an) a#*ays retain the or)er *hich is necessary in or)er to )e)uce the one conc#usion from the other& there can $e nothin' so remote that *e cannot reach to it& nor so recon)ite that *e cannot )isco+er it!B De en)in' on the #o'ician1s o*n 'enera# hi#oso hica# out" #oo(& the most uni+ersa# ro ositions from *hich the )e)uction $e'ins are themse#+es re'ar)e) as e, erientia# %u)'ments& as
B! Descartes& Discourse on Method, in The Philosophical Works of Descartes, tr! $y E#iAa$eth 9! Ha#)ane an) 6! R! T! Ross 7Cam$ri)'e8 Cam$ri)'e Cni+ersity -ress& 2:D2 B =& +o#ume 2& ! :B!

2??

2?:

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

in)uctions 7as *ith 5ohn 9tuart .i##=& as e+i)ent insi'hts 7as in rationa#ist an) henomeno#o'ica# schoo#s=& or as ar$itrary os" tu#ates 7as in the mo)ern a,iomatic a roach=! In the most a)+ance) #o'ic of the resent time& as re resente) $y Husser#1s Logische Untersuchungen, theory is )efine) "as an enc#ose) system of ro ositions for a science as a *ho#e!" D Theory in the fu##est sense is "a systematica##y #in(e) set of ro ositions& ta(in' the form of a systematica##y unifie) )e)uction!" > 9cience is "a certain tota#ity of ro ositions ! ! ! & emer'in' in one or other manner from theoretica# *or(& in the systematic or)er of *hich ro ositions a certain tota#ity of o$%ects acquires )efini" tion!"< The $asic requirement *hich any theoretica# system must satisfy is that a## the arts shou#) intermesh thorou'h#y an) *ithout friction! Harmony& *hich inc#u)es #ac( of contra)ictions& an) the a$sence of su erf#uous& ure#y )o'matic e#ements *hich ha+e no inf#uence on the o$ser+a$#e henomena& are necessary con)itions& accor)in' to Wey#!E In so far as this tra)itiona# conce tion of theory sho*s a ten)ency& it is to*ar)s a ure#y mathematica# system of sym$o#s! As e#ements of the theory& as com onents of the ro ositions an) conc#usions& there are e+er fe*er names of e, erientia# o$%ects an) e+er more numerous mathematica# sym$o#s! E+en the #o'ica# o erations themse#+es ha+e a#rea)y $een so ra" tiona#iAe) that& in #ar'e areas of natura# science at #east& theory formation has $ecome a matter of mathematica# construction! The sciences of man an) society ha+e attem te) to fo##o* the #ea) of the natura# sciences *ith their 'reat successes! The )ifference $et*een those schoo#s of socia# science *hich are more oriente) to the in+esti'ation of facts an) those *hich concentrate more on rinci #es has nothin' )irect#y to )o *ith the conce t of theory as such! The assi)uous co##ectin' of facts
D! E)mun) Husser#& Formale und trans endentale Logik 7Ha##e& 2:B:=& ! ?:! >! Husser#& op! cit!, ! F:! <! Husser#& op! cit!, ! :2! E! Hermann Wey#& Philosophie der "atur#issenschaft, in Hand$uch der Philosophie, -art B 7.unich"@er#in& 2:BF=& ! 22?ff!

in a## the )isci #ines )ea#in' *ith socia# #ife& the 'atherin' of 'reat masses of )etai# in connection *ith ro$#ems& the em irica# inquiries& throu'h carefu# questionnaires an) other means& *hich are a ma%or art of scho#ar#y acti+ity& es ecia##y in the An'#o" 9a,on uni+ersities since 9 encer1s time/a## this a))s u to a attern *hich is& out*ar)#y& much #i(e the rest of #ife in a society )ominate) $y in)ustria# ro)uction techniques! 9uch an a roach seems quite )ifferent from the formu#ation of a$" stract rinci #es an) the ana#ysis of $asic conce ts $y an arm" chair scho#ar& *hich are ty ica#& for e,am #e& of one sector of 6erman socio#o'y! Yet these )i+er'ences )o not si'nify a struc" tura# )ifference in *ays of thin(in'! In recent erio)s of con" tem orary society the so"ca##e) human stu)ies %eistes#issen& scMften' ha+e ha) $ut a f#uctuatin' mar(et +a#ue an) must try to imitate the more ros erous natura# sciences *hose ractica# +a#ue is $eyon) question! There can $e no )ou$t& in fact& that the +arious schoo#s of socio#o'y ha+e an i)entica# conce tion of theory an) that it is the same as theory in the natura# sciences! Em irica##y oriente) socio#o'ists ha+e the same i)ea of *hat a fu##y e#a$orate) theory shou#) $e as their theoretica##y oriente) $rethren! The former& in)ee)& are ersua)e) that in +ie* of the com #e,ity of socia# ro$#ems an) the resent state of science any con" cern *ith 'enera# rinci #es must $e re'ar)e) as in)o#ent an) i)#e! If theoretica# *or( is to $e )one& it must $e )one *ith an eye un*a+erin'#y on the facts0 there can $e no thou'ht in the foreseea$#e future of com rehensi+e theoretica# statements! These scho#ars are much enamore) of the metho)s of e,act formu#ation an)& in articu#ar& of mathematica# roce)ures& *hich are es ecia##y con'enia# to the conce tion of theory )e" scri$e) a$o+e! What they o$%ect to is not so much theory as such $ut theories s un out of their hea)s $y men *ho ha+e no ersona# e, erience of the ro$#ems of an e, erimenta# science! Distinctions #i(e those $et*een community an) society 7Ton" nies=& mechanica# an) or'anic so#i)arity 7Dur(heim=& or cu#ture an) ci+i#iAation 7A! We$er= as $asic forms of human socia#ity ro+e to $e of questiona$#e +a#ue as soon as one attem ts to

2:;

2:2

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

a #y them to concrete ro$#ems! The *ay that socio#o'y must ta(e in the resent state of research is 7it is ar'ue)= the #a$orious ascent from the )escri tion of socia# henomena to )etai#e) com arisons an) on#y then to the formation of 'enera# conce ts! The em iricist& true to his tra)itions& is thus #e) to say that on#y com #ete in)uctions can su #y the rimary ro ositions for a theory an) that *e are sti## far from ha+in' ma)e such in)uctions! His o onent c#aims the ri'ht to use other metho)s& #ess )e en)ent on ro'ress in )ata"co##ection& for the formation of rimary cate'ories an) insi'hts! Dur(heim& for e,am #e& a'rees *ith many $asic +ie*s of the em irica# schoo# $ut& in )ea#in' *ith rinci #es& he o ts for an a$ri)'ement of the in" )ucti+e rocess! It is im ossi$#e& he c#aims& to c#assify socia# ha enin's on the $asis of ure#y em irica# in+entories& nor can research ma(e c#assification easier in the *ay in *hich it is e, ecte) to )o so! Its 3in)uction1s4 ro#e is to ut into our han)s oints of reference to *hich *e can refer other o$ser+ations than those *hich ha+e fur" nishe) us *ith these +ery oints of reference! @ut for this ur ose it must $e ma)e not from a com #ete in+entory of a## the in)i+i)ua# characteristics $ut from a sma## num$er of them& carefu##y chosen ! ! ! It *i## s are the o$ser+er many ste s $ecause it *i## 'ui)e him ! ! ! We must& then& choose the most essentia# characteristics for our c#assification!F Whether the rimary rinci #es are 'otten $y se#ection& $y intuition& or $y ure sti u#ation ma(es no )ifference& ho*e+er& to their function in the i)ea# theoretica# system! Gor the scientist must certain#y a #y his more or #ess 'enera# ro ositions& as hy otheses& to e+er ne* facts! The henomeno#o'ica##y oriente) socio#o'ist *i## in)ee) c#aim that once an essentia# #a* has $een ascertaine) e+ery articu#ar instance *i##& $eyon) any )ou$t& e,em #ify the #a*! @ut the rea##y hy othetica# character of the essentia# #a* is manifeste) as soon as the question arises *hether
F! Er"i#e Dur(heim& The (ules of Sociological Method, tr! from the ei'hth e)Hion $y 9arah A! 9oio+ay an) 5ohn H! .ue##er 7Chica'o8 Cni+ersity of Chica'o -ress& 2:D?=& ! ?;!

in a articu#ar case *e are )ea#in' *ith an instance of the es" sence in question or of a re#ate) essence& *hether *e are face) *ith a oor e,am #e of one ty e or a 'oo) e,am #e of another ty e! There is a#*ays& on the one han)& the conce tua##y formu" #ate) (no*#e'e an)& on the other& the facts to $e su$sume) un)er it! 9uch a su$sum tion or esta$#ishin' of a re#ation $e" t*een the sim #e erce tion or +erification of a fact an) the conce tua# structure of our (no*in' is ca##e) its theoretica# e, #anation! We nee) not enter here into the )etai#s of the +arious (in)s of c#assification! It *i## $e enou'h to in)icate $rief#y ho* the tra)itiona# conce t of theory han)#es the e, #anation of histori" ca# e+ents! The ans*er emer'e) c#ear#y in the contro+ersy $e" t*een E)uar) .eyer an) .a, We$er! .eyer re'ar)e) as i)#e an) unans*era$#e the question of *hether& e+en if certain his" torica# ersona'es ha) not reache) certain )ecisions& the *ars they cause) *ou#) nonethe#ess sooner or #ater ha+e occurre)! We$er trie) to sho* that if the question *ere in)ee) i)#e an) unans*era$#e& a## historica# e, #anation *ou#) $ecome im os" si$#e! He )e+e#o e) a "theory of o$%ecti+e ossi$i#ity&" $ase) on the theories of the hysio#o'ist& +on Iries& an) of *riters in %uris ru)ence an) nationa# economy such as .er(e#& Liefmann& an) Ra)$ruch! Gor We$er& the historian1s e, #anations& #i(e those of the e, ert in crimina# #a*& rest not on the fu##est os" si$#e enumeration of a## ertinent circumstances $ut on the esta$#ishment of a connection $et*een those e#ements of an e+ent *hich are si'nificant for historica# continuity& an) ar" ticu#ar& )eterminati+e ha enin's! This connection& for e,am #e the %u)'ment that a *ar resu#te) from the o#icies of a statesman *ho (ne* *hat he *as a$out& #o'ica##y su oses that& ha) such a o#icy not e,iste)& some other effect *ou#) ha+e fo##o*e)! If one maintains a articu#ar causa# ne,us $et*een historica# e+ents& one is necessari#y im #yin' that ha) the ne,us not e,iste)& then in accor)ance *ith the ru#es that 'o+ern our e, erience another effect *ou#) ha+e fo##o*e) in the 'i+en circumstances! The ru#es of e, erience here are nothin' $ut the formu#ations of our (no*#e)'e concernin' economic& socia#& an) sycho#o'i" 2:D

2:B

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

ca# interconnections! With the he# of these *e reconstruct the ro$a$#e course of e+ents& 'oin' $eyon) the e+ent itse#f to *hat *i## ser+e as e, #anation!? We are thus *or(in' *ith con)itiona# ro ositions as a #ie) to a 'i+en situation! If cir" cumstances a, $, c, an) d are 'i+en& then e+ent ) must $e e," ecte)0 if d is #ac(in'& e+ent r* if g is a))e)& e+ent s, an) so on! This (in) of ca#cu#ation is a #o'ica# too# of history as it is of science! It is in this fashion that theory in the tra)itiona# sense is actua##y e#a$orate)! What scientists in +arious fie#)s re'ar) as the essence of theory thus corres on)s& in fact& to the imme)iate tas(s they set for themse#+es! The mani u#ation of hysica# nature an) of s ecific economic an) socia# mechanisms )eman) a#i(e the amassin' of a $o)y of (no*#e)'e such as is su #ie) in an or)ere) set of hy otheses! The techno#o'ica# a)+ances of the $our'eois erio) are inse ara$#y #in(e) to this function of the ursuit of science! On the one han)& it ma)e the facts fruitfu# for the (in) of scientific (no*#e)'e that *ou#) ha+e ractica# a #ication in the circumstances& an)& on the other& it ma)e ossi$#e the a #ication of (no*#e)'e a#rea)y ossesse)! @eyon) )ou$t& such *or( is a moment in the continuous transformation an) )e+e#o ment of the materia# foun)ations of that society! @ut the conce tion of theory *as a$so#utiAe)& as thou'h it *ere 'roun)e) in the inner nature of (no*#e)'e as such or %ustifie) in some other ahistorica# *ay& an) thus it $ecame a reine)& i)eo#o'ica# cate'ory! As a matter of fact& the fruitfu#ness of ne*#y )isco+ere) factua# connections for the rene*a# of e,istent (no*#e)'e& an) the a #ication of such (no*#e)'e to the facts& )o not )eri+e from ure#y #o'ica# or metho)o#o'ica# sources $ut can rather $e un)erstoo) on#y in the conte,t of rea# socia# rocesses! When a )isco+ery occasions the restructurin' of current i)eas& this is not )ue e,c#usi+e#y to #o'ica# consi)erations or& more ar" ?! .a, We$er& "Critica# 9tu)ies in the Lo'ic of the Cu#tura# 9ci" ences I8 A Critique of E)uar) .eyer1s .etho)o#o'ica# Jie*s&" in Ma+

ticu#ar#y& to the contra)iction $et*een the )isco+ery an) ar" ticu#ar e#ements in current +ie*s! If this *ere the on#y rea# issue& one cou#) a#*ays thin( u further hy otheses $y *hich one cou#) a+oi) chan'in' the theory as a *ho#e! That ne* +ie*s in fact *in out is )ue to concrete historica# circumstances& e+en if the scientist himse#f may $e )etermine) to chan'e his +ie*s on#y $y immanent moti+es! .o)ern theoreticians of (no*#e)'e )o not )eny the im ortance of historica# circumstance& e+en if amon' the most inf#uentia# nonscientific factors they assi'n more im ortance to 'enius an) acci)ent than to socia# con)itions! In the se+enteenth century& for e,am #e& men $e'an to reso#+e the )ifficu#ties into *hich tra)itiona# astronomy ha) fa##en& no #on'er $y su #ementa# constructions $ut $y a)o tin' the Co ernican system in its #ace! This chan'e *as not )ue to the #o'ica# ro erties a#one of the Co ernican theory& for e,am #e its 'reater sim #icity! If these ro erties *ere seen as a)+anta'es& this +ery fact oints $eyon) itse#f to the fun)a" menta# characteristics of socia# action at that time! That Co er" nicanism& har)#y mentione) in the si,teenth century& shou#) no* $ecome a re+o#utionary force is art of the #ar'er historica# rocess $y *hich mechanistic thin(in' came to re+ai#!: @ut the inf#uence of the current socia# situation on chan'e in scientific structures is not #imite) to com rehensi+e theories #i(e the Co ernican system! It is a#so true for s ecia# research ro$#ems in e+ery)ay #ife! 9heer #o'ic a#one *i## not te## us *hether the )isco+ery of ne* +arieties in articu#ar areas of inor'anic or or'anic nature& *hether in the chemica# #a$oratory or in a#eonto#o'ica# research& *i## $e the occasion for mo)ifyin' o#) c#assifications or for e#a$oratin' ne* ones! The theoreticians of (no*#e)'e usua##y re#y here on a conce t of theo#o'y *hich on#y in a earance is immanent to their science! Whether an) ho* ne* )efinitions are ur osefu##y )ra*n u )e en)s in fact not on#y on the sim #icity an) consistency of the system $ut a#so& amon' other thin's& on the )irections an) 'oa#s of
:! A )escri tion of this )e+e#o ment may $e foun) in Henry( 6ross" mann& "Die 'ese##schaft#ichen 6run)#a'en )er mechanischen -hi#oso hie un) )ie .anufa(tur&" ,eilschri-t filr So ialforschung > 72:D<=& 2E2ff!

We$er on the Methodology of the Social Sciences, e)! an) tr! $y E)" *ar) A! 9hi#s an) Henry A! Ginch 76#encoe8 Gree -ress& 2:>:=& ! 113-63.

2:>

2:<
CRITICAL THEORY

research! These #ast& ho*e+er& are not se#f"e, #anatory nor are they& in the #ast ana#ysis& a matter of insi'ht!

As the inf#uence of the su$%ect matter on the theory& so a#so the a #ication of the theory to the su$%ect matter is not on#y an intrascientific rocess $ut a socia# one as *e##! @rin'in' hy otheses to $ear on facts is an acti+ity that 'oes on& u#timate#y& not in the sa+ant1s hea) $ut in in)ustry! 9uch ru#es as that coa#" tar un)er certain con)itions $ecomes co#ore) or that nitro" '#ycerin& sa#t eter& an) other materia#s ha+e 'reat e, #osi+e force& are accumu#ate) (no*#e)'e *hich is rea##y a #ie) to rea#ity in the 'reat in)ustria# factories! Amon' the +arious hi#oso hica# schoo#s it is the -ositi+ists an) the -ra'matists *ho a arent#y ay most attention to the connections $et*een theoretica# *or( an) the socia# #ife" rocess! These schoo#s consi)er the re+ision an) usefu#ness of resu#ts to $e a scientific tas(! @ut in rea#ity this sense of ractica# ur" ose& this $e#ief in the socia# +a#ue of his ca##in' is a ure#y ri+ate con+iction of the scho#ar! He may %ust as *e## $e#ie+e in an in)e en)ent& "su rasocia#&" )etache) (no*#e)'e as in the socia# im ortance of his e, ertise8 such o ose) inter reta" tions )o not inf#uence his rea# acti+ity in the s#i'htest! The scho#ar an) his science are incor orate) into the a aratus of society0 his achie+ements are a factor in the conser+ation an) continuous rene*a# of the e,istin' state of affairs& no matter *hat fine names he 'i+es to *hat he )oes! His (no*#e)'e an) resu#ts& it is e, ecte)& *i## corres on) to their ro er "conce t&" that is& they must constitute theory in the sense )escri$e) a$o+e! In the socia# )i+ision of #a$or the sa+ant1s ro#e is to inte'rate facts into conce tua# frame*or(s an) to (ee the #atter u "to" )ate so that he himse#f an) a## *ho use them may $e masters of the *i)est ossi$#e ran'e of facts! E, eriment has the scientific ro#e of esta$#ishin' facts in such a *ay that they fit into theory as current#y acce te)! The factua# materia# or su$%ect matter is ro+i)e) from *ithout0 science sees to its formu#ation in c#ear an) com rehensi$#e terms& so that men may $e a$#e to use the (no*#e)'e as they *ish! The rece tion& transformation& an) rationa#iAation of factua# (no*#e)'e is the scho#ar1s s ecia# 2:E

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

form of s ontaneity& name#y theoretica# acti+ity& *hether there is question of as )etai#e) as ossi$#e an e, osition of a su$%ect as in history an) the )escri ti+e $ranches of other s ecia# )isci #ines& or of the synthesis of masses of )ata an) the attain" ment of 'enera# ru#es as in hysics! The )ua#ism of thou'ht an) $ein'& un)erstan)in' an) erce tion is secon) nature to the scientist! The tra)itiona# i)ea of theory is $ase) on scientific acti+ity as carrie) on *ithin the )i+ision of #a$or at a articu#ar sta'e in the #atter1s )e+e#o ment! It corres on)s to the acti+ity of the scho#ar *hich ta(es #ace a#on'si)e a## the other acti+ities of a society $ut in no imme)iate#y c#ear connection *ith them! In this +ie* of theory& therefore& the rea# socia# function of science is not ma)e manifest0 it s ea(s not of *hat theory means in human #ife& $ut on#y of *hat it means in the iso#ate) s here in *hich for historica# reasons it comes into e,istence! Yet as a matter of fact the #ife of society is the resu#t of a## the *or( )one in the +arious sectors of ro)uction! E+en if therefore the )i+ision of #a$or in the ca ita#ist system functions $ut oor#y& its $ranches& inc#u)in' science& )o not $ecome for that reason se#f"sufficient an) in)e en)ent! They are articu#ar instances of the *ay in *hich society comes to 'ri s *ith nature an) maintains its o*n inherite) form! They are moments in the socia# rocess of ro)uction& e+en if they $e a#most or entire#y un ro)ucti+e in the narro*er sense! Neither the structures of in)ustria# an) a'rarian ro)uction nor the se aration of the so" ca##e) 'ui)in' an) e,ecutory functions& ser+ices& an) *or(s& or of inte##ectua# an) manua# o erations are eterna# or natura# states of affairs! They emer'e rather from the mo)e of ro)uction ractice) in articu#ar forms of society! The seemin' se#f" sufficiency en%oye) $y *or( rocesses *hose course is su " ose)#y )etermine) $y the +ery nature of the o$%ect corres on)s to the seemin' free)om of the economic su$%ect in $our'eois society! The #atter $e#ie+e they are actin' accor)in' to ersona# )eterminations& *hereas in fact e+en in their most com #icate) ca#cu#ations they $ut e,em #ify the *or(in' of an inca#cu#a$#e socia# mechanism! 2:F

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

The fa#se consciousness of the $our'eois sa+ant in the #i$era# era comes to #i'ht in +ery )i+erse hi#oso hica# systems! It foun) an es ecia##y si'nificant e, ression at the turn of the century in the Neo"Iantianism of the .ar$ur' schoo#! -articu#ar traits in the theoretica# acti+ity of the s ecia#ist are here e#e+ate) to the ran( of uni+ersa# cate'ories& of instances of the *or#)" min)& the eterna# "Lo'os!" .ore accurate#y& )ecisi+e e#ements in socia# #ife are re)uce) to the theoretica# acti+ity of the sa+ant! Thus "the o*er of (no*#e)'e" is ca##e) "the o*er of creati+e ori'ination!" "-ro)uction" means the "creati+e so+erei'nty of thou'ht!" Gor any )atum it must $e ossi$#e to )e)uce a## its )eterminations from theoretica# systems an) u#timate#y from mathematics0 thus a## finite ma'nitu)es may $e )eri+e) from the conce t of the infinite#y sma## $y *ay of the infinitesima# ca#cu#us& an) this rocess is recise#y their " ro)uction!" The i)ea# to $e stri+en for is a unitary system of science *hich& in the sense %ust )escri$e)& *i## $e a##" o*erfu#! 9ince e+erythin' a$out the o$%ect is re)uce) to conce tua# )eterminations& the en)"resu#t of such theoretica# *or( is that nothin' is to $e re'ar)e) as materia# an) sta$#e! The )eterminati+e& or)erin'& unifyin' function is the so#e foun)ation for a## e#se& an) to*ar)s it a## human effort is )irecte)! -ro)uction is ro)uction of unity& an) ro)uction is itse#f the ro)uct!2; -ro'ress in a*are" ness of free)om rea##y means& accor)in' to this #o'ic& that the a#try sni et of rea#ity *hich the sa+ant encounters fin)s e+er more a)equate e, ression in the form of )ifferentia# quotients! In rea#ity& the scientific ca##in' is on#y one& nonin)e en)ent& e#ement in the *or( or historica# acti+ity of man& $ut in such a hi#oso hy the former re #aces the #atter! To the e,tent that it concei+es of reason as actua##y )eterminin' the course of e+ents in a future society& such a hy ostatiAation of Lo'os as rea#ity is a#so a camouf#a'e) Cto ia! In fact& ho*e+er& the se#f" (no*#e)'e of resent")ay man is not a mathematica# (no*#e)'e of nature *hich c#aims to $e the eterna# Lo'os& $ut a critica# 2;! Cf! Hermann Cohen& Logik der reinen .rkenr!tnis 7@er#in& 2:2>= ! BDff! 2:?

theory of society as it is& a theory )ominate) at e+ery turn $y a concern for reasona$#e con)itions of #ife! The iso#ate) consi)eration of articu#ar acti+ities an) $ranches of acti+ity& a#on' *ith their contents an) o$%ects& requires for its +a#i)ity an accom anyin' concrete a*areness of its o*n #imitations! A conce tion is nee)e) *hich o+ercomes the one" si)e)ness that necessari#y arises *hen #imite) inte##ectua# ro" cesses are )etache) from their matri, in the tota# acti+ity of society! In the i)ea of theory *hich the scho#ar ine+ita$#y reaches *hen *or(in' ure#y *ithin his o*n )isci #ine& the re#ation $et*een fact an) conce tua# or)erin' of fact offers a oint of )e arture for such a correcti+e conce tion! The re+ai#in' theory of (no*#e)'e has& of course& reco'niAe) the ro$#em *hich this re#ation raises! The oint is constant#y stresse) that i)entica# o$%ects ro+i)e for one )isci #ine ro$#ems to $e re" so#+e) on#y in some )istant future& *hi#e in another )isci #ine they are acce te) as sim #e facts! Connections *hich ro+i)e hysics *ith research ro$#ems are ta(en for 'rante) in $io#o'y! Within $io#o'y& hysio#o'ica# rocesses raise ro$#ems *hi#e sycho#o'ica# rocesses )o not! The socia# sciences ta(e human an) nonhuman nature in its entirety as 'i+en an) are concerne) on#y *ith ho* re#ationshi s are esta$#ishe) $et*een man an) nature an) $et*een man an) man! Ho*e+er& an a*areness of this re#ati+ity& immanent in $our'eois science& in the re#ationshi $et*een theoretica# thou'ht an) facts& is not enou'h to $rin' the conce t of theory to a ne* sta'e of )e+e#o ment! What is nee)e) is a ra)ica# reconsi)eration& not of the scientist a#one& $ut of the (no*in' in)i+i)ua# as such! The *ho#e erce ti$#e *or#) as resent to a mem$er of $our'eois society an) as inter rete) *ithin a tra)itiona# *or#)" +ie* *hich is in continuous interaction *ith that 'i+en *or#)& is seen $y the ercei+er as a sum"tota# of facts0 it is there an) must $e acce te)! The c#assificatory thin(in' of each in)i+i)ua# is one of those socia# reactions $y *hich men try to a)a t to rea#ity in a *ay that $est meets their nee)s! @ut there is at this oint an essentia# )ifference $et*een the in)i+i)ua# an) society! 2::

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

The *or#) *hich is 'i+en to the in)i+i)ua# an) *hich he must acce t an) ta(e into account is& in its resent an) continuin' form& a ro)uct of the acti+ity of society as a *ho#e! The o$%ects *e ercei+e in our surroun)in's/cities& +i##a'es& fie#)s& an) *oo)s/$ear the mar( of ha+in' $een *or(e) on $y man! It is not on#y in c#othin' an) a earance& in out*ar) form an) emotiona# ma(e"u that men are the ro)uct of history! E+en the *ay they see an) hear is inse ara$#e from the socia# #ife" rocess as it has e+o#+e) o+er the mi##ennia! The facts *hich our senses resent to us are socia##y reforme) in t*o *ays8 throu'h the historica# character of the o$%ect ercei+e) an) throu'h the historica# character of the ercei+in' or'an! @oth are not sim #y natura#0 they are sha e) $y human acti+ity& an) yet the in)i+i)ua# ercei+es himse#f as rece ti+e an) assi+e in the act of erce tion! The o osition of assi+ity an) acti+ity& *hich a ears in (no*#e)'e theory as a )ua#ism of sense" er" ce tion an) un)erstan)in'& )oes not ho#) for society& ho*e+er& in the same measure as for the in)i+i)ua#! The in)i+i)ua# sees himse#f as assi+e an) )e en)ent& $ut society& thou'h ma)e u of in)i+i)ua#s& is an acti+e su$%ect& e+en if a nonconscious one an)& to that e,tent& a su$%ect on#y in an im ro er sense! This )ifference in the e,istence of man an) society is an e, ression of the c#ea+a'e *hich has u to no* affecte) the historica# forms of socia# #ife! The e,istence of society has either $een foun)e) )irect#y on o ression or $een the $#in) outcome of conf#ictin' forces& $ut in any e+ent not the resu#t of conscious s ontaneity on the art of free in)i+i)ua#s! Therefore the mean" in' of "acti+ity" an) " assi+ity" chan'es accor)in' as these conce ts are a #ie) to society or to in)i+i)ua#! In the $our'eois economic mo)e the acti+ity of society is $#in) an) concrete& that of in)i+i)ua#s a$stract an) conscious! Human ro)uction a#so a#*ays has an e#ement of #annin' to it! To the e,tent then that the facts *hich the in)i+i)ua# an) his theory encounter are socia##y ro)uce)& there must $e ra" tiona#ity in them& e+en if in a restricte) sense! @ut socia# action a#*ays in+o#+es& in a))ition& a+ai#a$#e (no*#e)'e an) its a " #ication! The ercei+e) fact is therefore co")etermine) $y 200

human i)eas an) conce ts& e+en $efore its conscious theoretica# e#a$oration $y the (no*in' in)i+i)ua#! Nor are *e to thin( here on#y of e, eriments in natura# science! The so"ca##e) urity of o$%ecti+e e+ent to $e achie+e) $y the e, erimenta# roce)ure is& of course& o$+ious#y connecte) *ith techno#o'ica# con)itions& an) the connection of these in turn *ith the materia# rocess of ro)uction is e+i)ent! @ut it is easy here to confuse t*o questions8 the question of the me)iation of the factua# throu'h the acti+ity of society as a *ho#e& an) the question of the in" f#uence of the measurin' instrument& that is& of a articu#ar action& u on the o$%ect $ein' o$ser+e)! The #atter ro$#em& *hich continua##y #a'ues hysics& is no more c#ose#y connecte) *ith the ro$#em that concerns us here than is the ro$#em of er" ce tion 'enera##y& inc#u)in' erce tion in e+ery)ay #ife! .an1s hysio#o'ica# a aratus for sensation itse#f #ar'e#y antici ates the or)er fo##o*e) in hysica# e, eriment! As man ref#ecti+e#y recor)s rea#ity& he se arates an) re%oins ieces of it& an) con" centrates on some articu#ars *hi#e fai#in' to notice others! This rocess is %ust as much a resu#t of the mo)ern mo)e of ro)uc" tion& as the erce tion of a man in a tri$e of rimiti+e hunters an) fishers is the resu#t of the con)itions of his e,istence 7as *e##& of course& as of the o$%ect of erce tion=! In this conte,t the ro osition that too#s are ro#on'ations of human or'ans can $e in+erte) to state that the or'ans are a#so ro#on'ations of the too#s! In the hi'her sta'es of ci+i#iAa" tion conscious human action unconscious#y )etermines not on#y the su$%ecti+e si)e of erce tion $ut in #ar'er )e'ree the o$%ect as *e##! The sensi$#e *or#) *hich a mem$er of in)ustria# society sees a$out him e+ery )ay $ears the mar(s of )e#i$erate *or(8 tenement houses& factories& cotton& catt#e for s#au'hter& men& an)& in a))ition& not on#y o$%ects such as su$*ay trains& )e#i+ery truc(s& autos& an) air #anes& $ut the mo+ements in the course of *hich they are ercei+e)! The )istinction *ithin this com #e, tota#ity $et*een *hat $e#on's to unconscious nature an) *hat to the action of man in society cannot $e )ra*n in concrete )etai#! E+en *here there is question of e, eriencin' natura# o$%ects as such& their +ery natura#ness is )etermine) $y con" B;2

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

trast *ith the socia# *or#) an)& to that e,tent& )e en)s u on the #atter! The in)i+i)ua#& ho*e+er& recei+es sensi$#e rea#ity& as a sim #e sequence of facts& into his *or#) of or)ere) conce ts! The #atter too& thou'h their conte,t chan'es& ha+e )e+e#o e) a#on' *ith the #ife rocess of society! Thus& thou'h the or)erin' of rea#ity $y un)erstan)in' an) the assin' of %u)'ment on o$%ects usua##y ta(e #ace as a fore'one conc#usion an) *ith sur risin' unanimity amon' mem$ers of a 'i+en society& yet the harmony $et*een erce tion an) tra)itiona# thou'ht an) amon' the mona)s or in)i+i)ua# su$%ects of (no*#e)'e is not a meta hysi" ca# acci)ent! The o*er of hea#thy human un)erstan)in'& or common sense& for *hich there are no mysteries& as *e## as the 'enera# acce tance of i)entica# +ie*s in areas not )irect#y con" necte) *ith c#ass conf#icts& as for e,am #e in the natura# sciences& are con)itione) $y the fact that the *or#) of o$%ects to $e %u)'e) is in #ar'e measure ro)uce) $y an acti+ity that is itse#f )etermine) $y the +ery i)eas *hich he# the in)i+i)ua# to reco'niAe that *or#) an) to 'ras it conce tua##y! In Iant1s hi#oso hy this state of affairs is e, resse) in i)ea#ist form! The )octrine of ure#y assi+e sensation an) acti+e un)erstan)in' su''ests to him the question of *hence the un)erstan)in' )eri+es its assure) e, ectation that the mani" fo#) 'i+en in sensation *i## a#*ays o$ey the ru#es of the un)er" stan)in'! He e, #icit#y re%ects the thesis of a re"esta$#ishe) harmony& "a (in) of reformation"system of ure reason&" in *hich reason has innate an) sure ru#es *ith *hich o$%ects are in accor)!22 His o*n e, #anation is that sensi$#e a earances are a#rea)y forme) $y the transcen)enta# su$%ect& that is& throu'h the acti+ity of reason& *hen they are recei+e) $y erce tion an) conscious#y %u)'e)! 2B In the most im ortant cha ters of the /riti)ue of Pure (eason Iant trie) to 'i+e a more )etai#e) e, #anation of the "transcen)enta# affinity" or su$%ecti+e )e" ##! Iant& /riti)ue of Pure (eason, @ 2EF& tr! $y Norman Iem 9mith 7Lon)on8 .acmi##an& 2:DDB=& ! 2F<! 2B! Cf! Iant& op! cit!, A 22;& ! 2DF"D?! 202

termination of sensi$#e materia#& a rocess of *hich the in" )i+i)ua# is una*are! The )ifficu#ty an) o$scurity *hich& $y Iant1s o*n a)mission& mar( the sections on the )e)uction an) schematism of the ure conce ts of un)erstan)in' may $e connecte) *ith the fact that Iant ima'ines the su ra"in)i+i)ua# acti+ity& of *hich the in" )i+i)ua# is una*are& on#y in the i)ea#ist form of a consciousness" in"itse#f& that is a ure#y inte##ectua# source! In accor)ance *ith the theoretica# +ision a+ai#a$#e in his )ay& he )oes not see rea#ity as ro)uct of a society1s *or(& *or( *hich ta(en as a *ho#e is chaotic& $ut at the in)i+i)ua# #e+e# is ur osefu#! Where He'e# '#im ses the cunnin' of a reason that is nonethe#ess *or#)" historica# an) o$%ecti+e& Iant sees "an art concea#e) in the )e ths of the human sou#& *hose rea# mo)es of acti+ity nature is har)#y #i(e#y e+er to a##o* us to )isco+er& an) to ha+e o en to our 'aAe!"2D At #east Iant un)erstoo) that $ehin) the )iscre ancy $et*een fact an) theory *hich the scho#ar e, eriences in his rofessiona# *or(& there #ies a )ee er unity& name#y& the 'enera# su$%ecti+ity u on *hich in)i+i)ua# (no*#e)'e )e en)s! The acti+ity of society thus a ears to $e a transcen)enta# o*er& that is& the sum"tota# of s iritua# factors! Ho*e+er& Iant1s c#aim that its rea#ity is sun( in o$scurity& that is& that it is irrationa# )es ite a## its rationa#ity& is not *ithout its (erne# of truth! The $our'eois ty e of economy& )es ite a## the in'enuity of the com etin' in)i+i)ua#s *ithin it& is not 'o+erne) $y any #an0 it is not con" scious#y )irecte) to a 'enera# 'oa#0 the #ife of society as a *ho#e rocee)s from this economy on#y at the cost of e,cessi+e fric" tion& in a stunte) form& an) a#most& as it *ere& acci)enta##y! The interna# )ifficu#ties in the su reme conce ts of Iantian hi#oso hy& es ecia##y the e'o of transcen)enta# su$%ecti+ity& ure or ori'ina# a erce tion& an) consciousness"in"itse#f& sho* the )e th an) honesty of his thin(in'! The t*o"si)e)ness of these Iantian conce ts& that is& their su reme unity an) ur ose" fu#ness& on the one han)& an) their o$scurity& un(no*nness& an) 2D! Iant& op! cit!, @ 2?2& ! 2?D!

B;D

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

im enetra$i#ity& on the other& ref#ects e,act#y the contra)iction" fi##e) form of human acti+ity in the mo)ern erio)! The co#" #a$oration of men in society is the mo)e of e,istence *hich reason ur'es u on them& an) so they )o a #y their o*ers an) thus confirm their o*n rationa#ity! @ut at the same time their *or( an) its resu#ts are a#ienate) from them& an) the *ho#e rocess *ith a## its *aste of *or(" o*er an) human #ife& an) *ith its *ars an) a## its sense#ess *retche)ness& seems to $e an unchan'ea$#e force of nature& a fate $eyon) man1s contro#! In Iant1s theoretica# hi#oso hy& in his ana#ysis of (no*#e)'e& this contra)ition is reser+e)! The unreso#+e) ro$#em of the re#ation $et*een acti+ity an) assi+ity& a priori an) sense )ata& hi#oso hy an) sycho#o'y& is therefore not )ue to ure#y su$" %ecti+e insufficiency $ut is o$%ecti+e#y necessary! He'e# )is" co+ere) an) )e+e#o e) these contra)ictions& $ut fina##y reso#+e) them in a hi'her inte##ectua# rea#m! Iant c#aime) that there e," iste) a uni+ersa# su$%ect *hich& ho*e+er& he cou#) not quite )escri$e! He'e# esca e) this em$arrassment $y ostu#atin' the a$so#ute s irit as the most rea# thin' of a##! Accor)in' to him& the uni+ersa# has a#rea)y a)equate#y e+o#+e) itse#f an) is i)enti" ca# *ith a## that ha ens! Reason nee) no #on'er stan) o+er a'ainst itse#f in ure#y critica# fashion0 in He'e# reason has $e" come affirmati+e& e+en $efore rea#ity itse#f is affirme) as rationa#! @ut& confronte) *ith the ersistin' contra)ictions in human e,istence an) *ith the im otence of in)i+i)ua#s in face of situa" tions they ha+e themse#+es $rou'ht a$out& the He'e#ian so#ution seems a ure#y ri+ate assertion& a ersona# eace treaty $e" t*een the hi#oso her an) an inhuman *or#)! The inte'ration of facts into e,istin' conce tua# systems an) the re+ision of facts throu'h sim #ification or e#imination of contra)ictions are& as *e ha+e in)icate)& art of 'enera# socia# acti+ity! 9ince society is )i+i)e) into 'rou s an) c#asses& it is un)erstan)a$#e that theoretica# structures shou#) $e re#ate) to the 'enera# acti+ity of society in )ifferent *ays accor)in' as the authors of such structures $e#on' to one or other socia# c#ass! Thus *hen the $our'eois c#ass *as first comin' into $ein' in a feu)a# society& the ure#y scientific theory *hich arose *ith it 204

ten)e) chief#y to the $rea("u of the status quo an) attac(e) the o#) form of acti+ity! Cn)er #i$era#ism this theory *as acce te) $y the re+ai#in' human ty e! To)ay& )e+e#o ment is )eter" mine) much #ess $y a+era'e men *ho com ete *ith each other in im ro+in' the materia# a aratus of ro)uction an) its ro)ucts& than $y conf#ictin' nationa# an) internationa# c#iques of #ea)ers at the +arious #e+e#s of comman) in the economy an) the 9tate! In so far as theoretica# thou'ht is not re#ate) to hi'h#y s ecia#iAe) ur oses connecte) *ith these conf#icts& es ecia##y *ar an) the in)ustry that su orts it& interest in theory has *ane)! Less ener'y is $ein' e, en)e) on formin' an) )e+e#o " in' the ca acity of thou'ht *ithout re'ar) to ho* it is to $e a #ie)! These )istinctions& to *hich others mi'ht $e a))e)& )o not at a## chan'e the fact that a ositi+e socia# function is e,ercise) $y theory in its tra)itiona# form8 that is& the critica# e,amination of )ata *ith the ai) of an inherite) a aratus of conce ts an) %u)'ments *hich is sti## o erati+e in e+en the sim #est min)s& as *e## as the interaction $et*een facts an) theoretica# forms that 'oes on in )ai#y rofessiona# acti+ity! In this inte##ectua# *or( the nee)s an) 'oa#s& the e, eriences an) s(i##s& the customs an) ten)encies of the contem orary form of human e,istence ha+e a## #aye) their art! Li(e a materia# too# of ro)uction& it re " resents otentia##y an e#ement not on#y of the contem orary cu#tura# tota#ity $ut of a more %ust& more )ifferentiate)& more harmonious#y or'aniAe) one as *e##! To the e,tent that this theoretica# thin(in' )oes not )e#i$erate#y #en) itse#f to concerns *hich are e,terna# an) a#ien to the o$%ect $ut tru#y concentrates on the ro$#ems *hich it meets in the *a(e of technica# )e+e#o " ment an)& in this connection& itse#f turns u ne* ro$#ems an) transforms o#) conce ts *here necessary/to this e,tent it may ri'ht#y re'ar) the techno#o'ica# an) in)ustria# accom #ishments of the $our'eois era as its o*n %ustification an) $e confi)ent of its o*n +a#ue! This (in) of theoretica# thin(in' consi)ers itse#f to $e#on' to the rea#m of the hy othetica#& of course& not of certainty! @ut the hy othetica# character is com ensate) for in many *ays! The B;<

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

uncertainty in+o#+e) is no 'reater than it nee) $e& 'i+en the inte##ectua# an) techno#o'ica# means at han) at any 'i+en time& *ith their ro+en 'enera# usefu#ness! The +ery e#a$oration of such hy otheses& ho*e+er sma## their ro$a$i#ity may $e& is it" se#f a socia##y necessary an) +a#ua$#e accom #ishment *hich is not at a## hy othetica#! The construction of hy otheses an) theo" retica# acti+ity in 'enera# are a (in) of *or( *hich in resent socia# circumstances has a rea# usefu#ness0 that is& there is a )eman) for it! In so far as it is un)er ai) or e+en ne'#ecte)& it on#y shares the fate of other concrete an) ossi$#y usefu# (in)s of *or( *hich ha+e 'otten #ost in the resent economy! Yet these +ery (in)s of *or( resu ose the resent economy an) are art of the tota# economic rocess as it e,ists un)er s ecific historica# con)itions! This has nothin' to )o *ith the question of *hether scientific #a$or is itse#f ro)ucti+e in the narro* sense of the term! In the resent or)er of thin's there is a )eman) for an immense num$er of so"ca##e) scientific creations0 they are hon" ore) in +ery +aryin' *ays& an) art of the 'oo)s emer'in' from strict#y ro)ucti+e *or( is han)e) o+er for them& *ithout any" thin' at a## $ein' there$y sett#e) a$out their o*n ro)ucti+ity! E+en the em tiness of certain areas of uni+ersity acti+ity& as *e## as a## the i)#e in'enuity an) the construction of meta hysi" ca# an) nonmeta hysica# i)eo#o'ies ha+e their socia# si'nifi" cance& no #ess than )o other nee)s arisin' out of socia# conf#icts! Ho*e+er& they )o not therefore further the interests of any im ortant #ar'e sector of society in the resent a'e! An acti+ity *hich in its e,istin' forms contri$utes to the $ein' of society nee) not $e ro)ucti+e at a##& that is $e a money"ma(in' enter" rise! Ne+erthe#ess it can $e#on' to the e,istin' or)er an) he# ma(e it ossi$#e& as is certain#y the case *ith s ecia#iAe) science! We must 'o on no* to a)) that there is a human acti+ity *hich has society itse#f for its o$%ect!2> The aim of this acti+ity
2>! In the fo##o*in' a'es this acti+ity is ca##e) "critica#" acti+ity! The term is use) here #ess in the sense it has in the i)ea#ist critique of ure reason than in the sense it has in the )ia#ectica# critique of o#itica# economy! It oints to an essentia# es ect of the )ia#ectica# theory of society!

B;E

is not sim #y to e#iminate one or other a$use& for it re'ar)s such a$uses as necessari#y connecte) *ith the *ay in *hich the socia# structure is or'aniAe)! A#thou'h it itse#f emer'es from the socia# structure& its ur ose is not& either in its conscious intention or in its o$%ecti+e si'nificance& the $etter functionin' of any e#e" ment in the structure! On the contrary& it is sus icious of the +ery cate'ories of $etter& usefu#& a ro riate& ro)ucti+e& an) +a#ua$#e& as these are un)erstoo) in the resent or)er& an) re" fuses to ta(e them as nonscientific resu ositions a$out *hich one can )o nothin'! The in)i+i)ua# as a ru#e must sim #y acce t the $asic con)itions of his e,istence as 'i+en an) stri+e to fu#fi## them0 he fin)s his satisfaction an) raise in accom #ishin' as *e## as he can the tas(s connecte) *ith his #ace in society an) in coura'eous#y )oin' his )uty )es ite a## the shar criticism he may choose to e,ercise in articu#ar matters! @ut the critica# attitu)e of *hich *e are s ea(in' is *ho##y )istrustfu# of the ru#es of con)uct *ith *hich society as resent#y constitute) ro+i)es each of its mem$ers! The se aration $et*een in)i+i)" ua# an) society in +irtue of *hich the in)i+i)ua# acce ts as natura# the #imits rescri$e) for his acti+ity is re#ati+iAe) in critica# theory! The #atter consi)ers the o+era## frame*or( *hich is con)itione) $y the $#in) interaction of in)i+i)ua# acti+ities 7that is& the e,istent )i+ision of #a$or an) the c#ass )istinctions= to $e a function *hich ori'inates in human action an) therefore is a ossi$#e o$%ect of #anfu# )ecision an) rationa# )etermina" tion of 'oa#s! The t*o"si)e) character of the socia# tota#ity in its resent form $ecomes& for men *ho a)o t the critica# attitu)e& a con" scious o osition! In reco'niAin' the resent form of economy an) the *ho#e cu#ture *hich it 'enerates to $e the ro)uct of human *or( as *e## as the or'aniAation *hich man(in) *as ca a$#e of an) has ro+i)e) for itse#f in the resent era& these men i)entify themse#+es *ith this tota#ity an) concei+e it as *i## an) reason! It is their o*n *or#)! At the same time& ho*e+er& they e, erience the fact that society is com ara$#e to nonhuman natura# rocesses& to ure mechanisms& $ecause cu#tura# forms 207

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

*hich are su orte) $y *ar an) o ression are not the crea " tions of a unifie)& se#f"conscious *i##! That *or#) is not their o*n $ut the *or#) of ca ita#! -re+ious history thus cannot rea##y $e un)erstoo)0 on#y the in)i+i)ua#s an) s ecific 'rou s in it are inte##i'i$#e& an) e+en these not tota##y& since their interna# )e en)ence on an inhuman society means that e+en in their conscious action such in)i+i)" ua#s an) 'rou s are sti## in 'oo) measure mechanica# functions! The i)entification& then& of men of critica# min) *ith their society is mar(e) $y tension& an) the tension characteriAes a## the conce ts of the critica# *ay of thin(in'! Thus& such thin(ers inter ret the economic cate'ories of *or(& +a#ue& an) ro)uc" ti+ity e,act#y as they are inter rete) in the e,istin' or)er& an) they re'ar) any other inter retation as ure i)ea#ism! @ut at the same time they consi)er it ran( )ishonesty sim #y to acce t the inter retation0 the critica# acce tance of the cate'ories *hich ru#e socia# #ife contains simu#taneous#y their con)emnation! This )ia#ectica# character of the se#f"inter retation of contem" orary man is *hat& in the #ast ana#ysis& a#so causes the o$scurity of the Iantian critique of reason! Reason cannot $ecome trans" arent to itse#f as #on' as men act as mem$ers of an or'anism *hich #ac(s reason! Or'anism as a natura##y )e+e#o in' an) )e" c#inin' unity cannot $e a sort of mo)e# for society& $ut on#y a form of )ea)ene) e,istence from *hich society must emanci" ate itse#f! An attitu)e *hich aims at such an emanci ation an) at an a#teration of society as a *ho#e mi'ht *e## $e of ser+ice in theoretica# *or( carrie) on *ithin rea#ity as resent#y or)ere)! @ut it #ac(s the ra'matic character *hich attaches to tra)itiona# thou'ht as a socia##y usefu# rofessiona# acti+ity! In tra)itiona# theoretica# thin(in'& the 'enesis of articu#ar o$%ecti+e facts& the ractica# a #ication of the conce tua# sys" tems $y *hich it 'ras s the facts& an) the ro#e of such systems in action& are a## ta(en to $e e,terna# to the theoretica# thin(in' itse#f! This a#ienation& *hich fin)s e, ression in hi#oso hica# termino#o'y as the se aration of +a#ue an) research& (no*#e)'e an) action& an) other o#arities& rotects the sa+ant from the tensions *e ha+e in)icate) an) ro+i)es an assure) frame*or( 208

for his acti+ity! Yet a (in) of thin(in' *hich )oes not acce t this frame*or( seems to ha+e the 'roun) ta(en out from un)er it! If a theoretica# roce)ure )oes not ta(e the form of )etermin" in' o$%ecti+e facts *ith the he# of the sim #est an) most )iffer" entiate) conce tua# systems a+ai#a$#e& *hat can it $e $ut an aim#ess inte##ectua# 'ame& ha#f conce tua# oetry& ha#f im otent e, ression of states of min)? The in+esti'ation into the socia# con)itionin' of facts an) theories may in)ee) $e a research ro$#em& erha s e+en a *ho#e fie#) for theoretica# *or(& $ut ho* can such stu)ies $e ra)ica##y )ifferent from other s e" cia#iAe) efforts? Research into i)eo#o'ies& or socio#o'y of (no*#" e)'e& *hich has $een ta(en o+er from the critica# theory of society an) esta$#ishe) as a s ecia# )isci #ine& is not o ose) either in its aim or in its other am$itions to the usua# acti+ities that 'o on *ithin c#assificatory science! In this reaction to critica# theory& the se#f"a*areness of thou'ht as such is re)uce) to the )isco+ery of the re#ation " shi that e,ists $et*een inte##ectua# ositions an) their socia# #ocation! Yet the structure of the critica# attitu)e& inasmuch as its intentions 'o $eyon) re+ai#in' socia# *ays of actin'& is no more c#ose#y re#ate) to socia# )isci #ines thus concei+e) than it is to natura# science! Its o osition to the tra)i " tiona# conce t of theory s rin's in 'enera# from a )ifference not so much of o$%ects as of su$%ects! Gor men of the critica# min)& the facts& as they emer'e from the *or( of society& are not e,trinsic in the same )e'ree as they are for the sa+ant or for mem$ers of other rofessions *ho a## thin( #i(e #itt#e sa+ants! The #atter #oo( to*ar)s a ne* (in) of or'aniAation of *or(! @ut in so far as the o$%ecti+e rea#ities 'i+en in erce tion are concei+e) as ro)ucts *hich in rinci #e shou#) $e un)er human contro# an)& in the future at #east& *i## in fact come un)er it& these rea#ities #ose the character of ure factua#ity! !The scho#ar#y s ecia#ist "as" scientist re'ar)s socia# rea#ity an) its ro)ucts as e,trinsic to him& an) "as" citiAen e,ercises his interest in them throu'h o#itica# artic#es& mem$ershi in o#itica# arties or socia# ser+ice or'aniAations& an) artici a" tion in e#ections! @ut he )oes not unify these t*o acti+ities& an) B;:

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

his other acti+ities as *e##& e,ce t& at $est& $y sycho#o'ica# inter retation! Critica# thin(in'& on the contrary& is moti+ate) to)ay $y the effort rea##y to transcen) the tension an) to a$o#ish the o osition $et*een the in)i+i)ua#1s ur osefu#ness& s on" taneity& an) rationa#ity& an) those *or(" rocess re#ationshi s on *hich society is $ui#t! Critica# thou'ht has a conce t of man as in conf#ict *ith himse#f unti# this o osition is remo+e)! If acti+ity 'o+erne) $y reason is ro er to man& then e,istent socia# ractice& *hich forms the in)i+i)ua#1s #ife )o*n to its #east )etai#s& is inhuman& an) this inhumanity affects e+erythin' that 'oes on in the society! There *i## a#*ays $e somethin' that is e,trinsic to man1s inte##ectua# an) materia# acti+ity& name#y nature as the tota#ity of as yet unmastere) e#ements *ith *hich society must )ea#! @ut *hen situations *hich rea##y )e en) on man a#one& the re#ationshi s of men in their *or(& an) the course of man1s o*n history are a#so accounte) art of "nature&" the resu#tant e,trinsica#ity is not on#y not a su rahistorica# eterna# cate'ory 7e+en ure nature in the sense )escri$e) is not that=& $ut it is a si'n of contem ti$#e *ea(ness! To surren)er to such *ea(ness is nonhuman an) irrationa#! @our'eois thou'ht is so constitute) that in ref#ection on the su$%ect *hich e,ercises such thou'ht a #o'ica# necessity forces it to reco'niAe an e'o *hich ima'ines itse#f to $e autonomous! @our'eois thou'ht is essentia##y a$stract& an) its rinci #e is an in)i+i)ua#ity *hich inf#ate)#y $e#ie+es itse#f to $e the 'roun) of the *or#) or e+en to $e the *or#) *ithout qua#ification& an in" )i+i)ua#ity se arate) off from e+ents! The )irect contrary of such an out#oo( is the attitu)e *hich ho#)s the in)i+i)ua# to $e the un" ro$#ematic e, ression of an a#rea)y constitute) society0 an e,am #e *ou#) $e a nationa#ist i)eo#o'y! Here the rhetorica# "*e" is ta(en serious#y0 s eech is acce te) as the or'an of the com" munity! In the interna##y rent society of our )ay& such thin(in'& e,ce t in socia# questions& sees none,istent unanimities an) is i##usory! Critica# thou'ht an) its theory are o ose) to $oth the ty es of thin(in' %ust )escri$e)! Critica# thin(in' is the function B2;

neither of the iso#ate) in)i+i)ua# nor of a sum"tota# of in)i+i)" ua#s! Its su$%ect is rather a )efinite in)i+i)ua# in his rea# re#ation to other in)i+i)ua#s an) 'rou s& in his conf#ict *ith a articu#ar c#ass& an)& fina##y& in the resu#tant *e$ of re#ationshi s *ith the socia# tota#ity an) *ith nature! The su$%ect is no mathematica# oint #i(e the e'o of $our'eois hi#oso hy0 his acti+ity is the construction of the socia# resent! Gurthermore& the thin(in' su$%ect is not the #ace *here (no*#e)'e an) o$%ect coinci)e& nor consequent#y the startin'" oint for attainin' a$so#ute (no*#" e)'e! 9uch an i##usion a$out the thin(in' su$%ect& un)er *hich i)ea#ism has #i+e) since Descartes& is i)eo#o'y in the strict sense& for in it the #imite) free)om of the $our'eois in)i+i)ua# uts on the i##usory form of erfect free)om an) autonomy! As a matter of fact& ho*e+er& in a society *hich is untrans arent an) *ithout se#f"a*areness the e'o& *hether acti+e sim #y as thin(er or acti+e in other *ays as *e##& is unsure of itse#f too! In ref#ection on man& su$%ect an) o$%ect are sun)ere)0 their i)entity #ies in the future& not in the resent! The metho) #ea)in' to such an i)entification may $e ca##e) e, #anation in Cartesian #an'ua'e& $ut in 'enuine#y critica# thou'ht e, #anation si'nifies not on#y a #o'ica# rocess $ut a concrete historica# one as *e##! In the course of it $oth the socia# structure as a *ho#e an) the re#ation of the theoretician to society are a#tere)& that is $oth the su$%ect an) the ro#e of thou'ht are chan'e)! The acce tance of an essentia# unchan'ea$#eness $et*een su$%ect& theory& an) o$%ect thus )istin'uishes the Cartesian conce tion from e+ery (in) of )ia#ectica# #o'ic! Ho* is critica# thou'ht re#ate) to e, erience? One mi'ht maintain that if such thou'ht *ere not sim #y to c#assify $ut a#so to )etermine for itse#f the 'oa#s *hich c#assification ser+es& in other *or)s its o*n fun)amenta# )irection& it *ou#) remain #oc(e) u *ithin itse#f& as ha ene) to i)ea#ist hi#oso hy! If it )i) not ta(e refu'e in Cto ian fantasy& it *ou#) $e re)uce) to the forma#istic fi'htin' of sham $att#es! The attem t #e'iti" mate#y to )etermine ractica# 'oa#s $y thin(in' must a#*ays fai#! If thou'ht *ere not content *ith the ro#e 'i+en to it in B22

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

e,istent society& if it *ere not to en'a'e in theory in the tra)i" tiona# sense of the *or)& it *ou#) necessari#y ha+e to return to i##usions #on' since #ai) $are! The fau#t in such ref#ections as these on the ro#e of thou'ht is that thin(in' is un)erstoo) in a )etache)#y )e artmenta#iAe) an) therefore s iritua#ist *ay& as it is to)ay un)er e,istin' con)itions of the )i+ision of #a$or! In society as it is& the o*er of thou'ht has ne+er contro##e) itse#f $ut has a#*ays functione) as a nonin)e en)ent moment in the *or( rocess& an) the #atter has its o*n orientation an) ten)ency! The *or( rocess en" hances an) )e+e#o s human #ife throu'h the conf#ictin' mo+e" ment of ro'ressi+e an) retro'ressi+e erio)s! In the historica# form in *hich society has e,iste)& ho*e+er& the fu## measure of 'oo)s ro)uce) for man1s en%oyment has& at any articu#ar sta'e& $een 'i+en )irect#y on#y to a sma## 'rou of men! 9uch a state of affairs has foun) e, ression in thou'ht& too& an) #eft its mar( on hi#oso hy an) re#i'ion! @ut from the $e'innin' the )esire to $rin' the same en%oyment to the ma%ority has stirre) in the )e ths of men1s hearts0 )es ite a## the materia# a ro ri" ateness of c#ass or'aniAation& each of its forms has fina##y ro+e) ina)equate! 9#a+es& +assa#s& an) citiAens ha+e cast off their yo(e! This )esire& too& has foun) e, ression in cu#tura# creations! No*& inasmuch as e+ery in)i+i)ua# in mo)ern times has $een require) to ma(e his o*n the ur oses of society as a *ho#e an) to reco'niAe these in society& there is the ossi$i#ity that men *ou#) $ecome a*are of an) concentrate their attention u on the ath *hich the socia# *or( rocess has ta(en *ithout any )efinite theory $ehin) it& as a resu#t of )is arate forces inter" actin'& an) *ith the )es air of the masses actin' as a )ecisi+e factor at ma%or turnin' oints! Thou'ht )oes not s in such a ossi$i#ity out of itse#f $ut rather $ecomes a*are of its o*n ro er function! In the course of history men ha+e come to (no* their o*n acti+ity an) thus to reco'niAe the contra)iction that mar(s their e,istence! The $our'eois economy *as con" cerne) that the in)i+i)ua# shou#) maintain the #ife of society $y ta(in' care of his o*n ersona# ha iness! 9uch an economy has *ithin it& ho*e+er& a )ynamism *hich resu#ts in a fantastic B2B

)e'ree of o*er for some& such as remin)s us of the o#) Asiatic )ynasties& an) in materia# an) inte##ectua# *ea(ness for many others! The ori'ina# fruitfu#ness of the $our'eois or'aniAation of the #ife rocess is thus transforme) into a ara#yAin' $ar" renness& an) men $y their o*n toi# (ee in e,istence a rea#ity *hich ens#a+es them in e+er 'reater )e'ree! Yet& as far as the ro#e of e, erience is concerne)& there is a )ifference $et*een tra)itiona# an) critica# theory! The +ie*" oints *hich the #atter )eri+es from historica# ana#ysis as the 'oa#s of human acti+ity& es ecia##y the i)ea of a reasona$#e or" 'aniAation of society that *i## meet the nee)s of the *ho#e com" munity& are immanent in human *or( $ut are not correct#y 'ras e) $y in)i+i)ua#s or $y the common min)! A certain con" cern is a#so require) if these ten)encies are to $e ercei+e) an) e, resse)! Accor)in' to .ar, an) En'e#s such a concern is necessari#y 'enerate) in the ro#etariat! @ecause of its situation in mo)ern society the ro#etariat e, eriences the connection $et*een *or( *hich uts e+er more o*erfu# instruments into men1s han)s in their stru''#e *ith nature& an) the continuous rene*a# of an outmo)e) socia# or'aniAation! Cnem #oyment& economic crises& mi#itariAation& terrorist re'imes/in a *or)& the *ho#e con)ition of the masses/are not )ue& for e,am #e& to #imite) techno#o'ica# ossi$i#ities& as mi'ht ha+e $een the case in ear#ier erio)s& $ut to the circumstances of ro)uction *hich are no #on'er suita$#e to our time! The a #ication of a## in" te##ectua# an) hysica# means for the mastery of nature is hin" )ere) $ecause in the re+ai#in' circumstances these means are entruste) to s ecia#& mutua##y o ose) interests! -ro)uction is not 'eare) to the #ife of the *ho#e community *hi#e hee)in' a#so the c#aims of in)i+i)ua#s0 it is 'eare) to the o*er"$ac(e) c#aims of in)i+i)ua#s *hi#e $ein' concerne) har)#y at a## *ith the #ife of the community! This is the ine+ita$#e resu#t& in the resent ro erty system& of the rinci #e that it is enou'h for in)i+i)ua#s to #oo( out for themse#+es! @ut it must $e a))e) that e+en the situation of the ro#etariat is& in this society& no 'uarantee of correct (no*#e)'e! The ro" #etariat may in)ee) ha+e e, erience of meanin'#essness in the B2D

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

form of continuin' an) increasin' *retche)ness an) in%ustice in its o*n #ife! Yet this a*areness is re+ente) from $ecomin' a socia# force $y the )ifferentiation of socia# structure *hich is sti## im ose) on the ro#etariat from a$o+e an) $y the o osi" tion $et*een ersona# c#ass interests *hich is transcen)e) on#y at +ery s ecia# moments! E+en to the ro#etariat the *or#) su erficia##y seems quite )ifferent than it rea##y is! E+en an out" #oo( *hich cou#) 'ras that no o osition rea##y e,ists $et*een the ro#etariat1s o*n true interests an) those of society as a *ho#e& an) *ou#) therefore )eri+e its rinci #es of action from the thou'hts an) fee#in's of the masses& *ou#) fa## into s#a+ish )e en)ence on the status quo! The inte##ectua# is satisfie) to roc#aim *ith re+erent a)miration the creati+e stren'th of the ro#etariat an) fin)s satisfaction in a)a tin' himse#f to it an) in canoniAin' it! He fai#s to see that such an e+asion of theo" retica# effort 7*hich the assi+ity of his o*n thin(in' s ares him= an) of tem orary o osition to the masses 7*hich acti+e theoretica# effort on his art mi'ht force u on him= on#y ma(es the masses $#in)er an) *ea(er than they nee) $e! His o*n thin(in' shou#) in fact $e a critica#& romoti+e factor in the )e+e#o ment of the masses! When he *ho##y acce ts the resent sycho#o'ica# state of that c#ass *hich& o$%ecti+e#y consi)ere)& em$o)ies the o*er to chan'e society& he has the ha y fee#in' of $ein' #in(e) *ith an immense force an) en%oys a rofessiona# o timism! When the o timism is shattere) in erio)s of crush" in' )efeat& many inte##ectua#s ris( fa##in' into a essimism a$out society an) a nihi#ism *hich are %ust as un'roun)e) as their e,a''erate) o timism ha) $een! They cannot $ear the thou'ht that the (in) of thin(in' *hich is most to ica#& *hich has the )ee est 'ras of the historica# situation& an) is most re'nant *ith the future& must at certain times iso#ate its su$%ect an) thro* him $ac( u on himse#f! If critica# theory consiste) essentia##y in formu#ations of the fee#in's an) i)eas of one c#ass at any 'i+en moment& it *ou#) not $e structura##y )ifferent from the s ecia# $ranches of science! It *ou#) $e en'a'e) in )escri$in' the sycho#o'ica# contents ty i" ca# of certain socia# 'rou s0 it *ou#) $e socia# sycho#o'y! The B2>

re#ation of $ein' to consciousness is )ifferent in )ifferent c#asses of society! If *e ta(e serious#y the i)eas $y *hich the $our" 'eoisie e, #ains its o*n or)er/free e,chan'e& free com etition& harmony of interests& an) so on/an) if *e fo##o* them to their #o'ica# conc#usion& they manifest their inner contra)iction an) there*ith their rea# o osition to the $our'eois or)er! The sim #e )escri tion of $our'eois se#f"a*areness thus )oes not 'i+e us the truth a$out this c#ass of men! 9imi#ar#y& a systematic resentation of the contents of ro#etarian consciousness can" not ro+i)e a true icture of ro#etarian e,istence an) interests! It *ou#) yie#) on#y an a #ication of tra)itiona# theory to a s ecific ro$#em& an) not the inte##ectua# si)e of the historica# rocess of ro#etarian emanci ation! The same *ou#) $e true if one *ere to #imit onese#f to a raisin' an) ma(in' (no*n the i)eas not of the ro#etariat in 'enera# $ut of some more a)+ance) sector of the ro#etariat& for e,am #e a arty or its #ea)ershi ! The rea# tas( set here *ou#) $e the re'isterin' an) c#assifyin' of facts *ith the he# of the most suita$#e conce tua# a aratus& an) the theoretician1s u#timate 'oa# *ou#) $e the re)iction of future socio" sycho#o'ica# henomena! Thou'ht an) the formation of theory *ou#) $e one thin' an) its o$%ect& the ro#etariat& another! If& ho*e+er& the theoretician an) his s ecific o$%ect are seen as formin' a )ynamic unity *ith the o resse) c#ass& so that his resentation of societa# contra)ictions is not mere#y an e, res" sion of the concrete historica# situation $ut a#so a force *ithin it to stimu#ate chan'e& then his rea# function emer'es! The course of the conf#ict $et*een the a)+ance) sectors of the c#ass an) the in)i+i)ua#s *ho s ea( out the truth concernin' it& as *e## as of the conf#ict $et*een the most a)+ance) sectors *ith their theoreticians an) the rest of the c#ass& is to $e un)er" stoo) as a rocess of interactions in *hich a*areness comes to f#o*er a#on' *ith its #i$eratin' $ut a#so its a''ressi+e forces *hich incite *hi#e a#so requirin' )isci #ine! The shar ness of the conf#ict sho*s in the e+er resent ossi$i#ity of tension $et*een the theoretician an) the c#ass *hich his thin(in' is to ser+e! The unity of the socia# forces *hich romise #i$eration is at the B2<

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

same time their )istinction 7in He'e#1s sense=0 it e,ists on#y as a conf#ict *hich continua##y threatens the su$%ects cau'ht u in it! This truth $ecomes c#ear#y e+i)ent in the erson of the theoreti" cian0 he e,ercises an a''ressi+e critique not on#y a'ainst the conscious )efen)ers of the status quo $ut a#so a'ainst )is" tractin'& conformist& or Cto ian ten)encies *ithin his o*n househo#)! The tra)itiona# ty e of theory& one si)e of *hich fin)s e, res" sion in forma# #o'ic& is in its resent form art of the ro)uction rocess *ith its )i+ision of #a$or! 9ince society must come to 'ri s *ith nature in future a'es as *e##& this inte##ectua# tech" no#o'y *i## not $ecome irre#e+ant $ut on the contrary is to $e )e+e#o e) as fu##y as ossi$#e! @ut the (in) of theory *hich is an e#ement in action #ea)in' to ne* socia# forms is not a co' in an a#rea)y e,istent mechanism! E+en if +ictory or )efeat ro" +i)es a +a'ue ana#o'y to the confirmation or fai#ure of scientific hy otheses& the theoretician *ho sets himse#f u in o osition to society as it is )oes not ha+e the conso#i)ation that such hy" otheses are art of his rofessiona# *or(! He cannot sin' for himse#f the hymn of raise *hich -oincare san' to the enrich" ment )eri+in' e+en from hy otheses that must $e re%ecte)! 2< His rofession is the stru''#e of *hich his o*n thin(in' is a art an) not somethin' se#f"sufficient an) se ara$#e from the stru'" '#e! Of course& many e#ements of theory in the usua# sense enter into his *or(8 the (no*#e)'e an) ro'nosis of re#ati+e#y iso#ate) facts& scientific %u)'ments& the e#a$oration of ro$#ems *hich )iffer from those of other theoreticians $ecause of his s ecific interests $ut nonethe#ess manifest the same #o'ica# form! Tra)itiona# theory may ta(e a num$er of thin's for 'rante)8 its ositi+e ro#e in a functionin' society& an a)mitte)#y in)irect an) o$scure re#ation to the satisfaction of 'enera# nee)s& an) artici ation in the se#f"rene*in' #ife rocess! @ut a## these e,i'encies a$out *hich science nee) not trou$#e itse#f $ecause their fu#fi##ment is re*ar)e) an) confirme) $y the socia# osition of the scientist& are ca##e) into question in critica# thou'ht! The 'oa# at *hich the #atter aims& name#y the rationa# state of so" 2<! -oincare& op! cit!, ! 2<;"<2!

ciety& is force) u on him $y resent )istress! The theory *hich ro%ects such a so#ution to the )istress )oes not #a$or in the ser+ice of an e,istin' rea#ity $ut on#y 'i+es +oice to the mystery of that rea#ity! Ho*e+er co'ent#y a$sur)ities an) errors may $e unco+ere) at any 'i+en moment& ho*e+er much e+ery error may $e sho*n to $e ta(in' its re+en'e& yet the o+era## ten)ency of the critica# theoretica# un)erta(in' recei+es no sanction from so" ca##e) hea#thy human un)erstan)in'0 it has no custom on its si)e& e+en *hen it romises success! Theories& on the contrary& *hich are confirme) or )is ro+e) in the $ui#)in' of machines& mi#itary or'aniAations& e+en successfu# motion ictures& #oo( to a c#ear#y )istin'uisha$#e consumer 'rou & e+en *hen #i(e theoretica# hysics they are ursue) in)e en)ent#y of any a #ication or consist on#y in a %oyous an) +irtuous #ayin' *ith mathematica# sym$o#s0 society ro+es its humaneness $y re" *ar)in' such acti+ity! @ut there are no such e,am #es of the form consum tion *i## ta(e in that future *ith *hich critica# thin(in' is concerne)! Nonethe#ess the i)ea of a future society as a community of free men& *hich is ossi$#e throu'h technica# means a#rea)y at han)& )oes ha+e a content& an) to it there must $e fi)e#ity ami) a## chan'e! In the form of an insi'ht that the )ismem$erment an) irrationa#ity of society can no* $e e#iminate) an) ho* this is to $e accom #ishe)& this i)ea is constant#y $ein' rene*e) ami) re+ai#in' con)itions! @ut the state of affairs u on *hich %u)'" ment is asse) in this conce tion an) the ten)encies incitin' men to $ui#) a rationa# society are not $rou'ht into e,istence outsi)e thou'ht $y forces e,trinsic to it& *ith thou'ht then& as it *ere& acci)enta##y reco'niAin' its o*n ref#ection in the ro)uct of these forces! Rather& one an) the same su$%ect *ho *ants a ne* state of affairs& a $etter rea#ity& to come to ass& a#so $rin's it forth! Out of the o$scure harmony $et*een $ein' an) thou'ht& un)erstan)in' an) sense erce tion& human nee)s an) their satisfaction in to)ay1s economy& a harmony *hich seems an acci)ent to the $our'eois eye& there *i## emer'e in the future a'e the re#ation $et*een rationa# intention an) its rea#iAation! The stru''#e for the future ro+i)es $ut a fra'mentary re"

B2E

B2F

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

f#ection of this re#ation& to the e,tent that a *i## *hich aims at the sha in' of society as a *ho#e is a#rea)y conscious#y o erati+e in the construction of the theory an) ractice *hich *i## #ea) to it! Des ite a## the )isci #ine& %ustifie) $y the nee) to *in throu'h& the community of those en'a'e) in the stru''#e e," eriences somethin' of the free)om an) s ontaneity *hich *i## mar( the future! Where the unity of )isci #ine an) free)om has )isa eare)& the mo+ement $ecomes a matter of interest on#y to its o*n $ureaucracy& a #ay that a#rea)y $e#on's to the re ertory of mo)ern history! That the future $ein' stri+en for shou#) $e a +ita# rea#ity e+en in the resent ro+es nothin'& ho*e+er! The conce tua# systems of c#assificatory un)erstan)in'& the cate'ories into *hich )ea) an) #i+in' thin's& socia#& sycho#o'ica#& an) hysica# henomena ha+e a## $een a$sor$e) to'ether& the )i+ision of o$%ects an) of %u)'ments on them into the +arious i'eonho#es of the s ecia# areas of (no*#e)'e/a## this ma(es u the a " aratus of thou'ht as it has ro+e) an) refine) itse#f in connec" tion *ith the rea# *or( rocess! This *or#) of conce ts ma(es u the consciousness of most men& an) it has a $asis to *hich its ro onents can a ea#! The concerns of critica# thou'ht& too& are those of most men& $ut they are not reco'niAe) to $e such! The conce ts *hich emer'e un)er its inf#uence are critica# of the resent! The .ar,ist cate'ories of c#ass& e, #oitation& sur" #us +a#ue& rofit& au eriAation& an) $rea()o*n are e#ements in a conce tua# *ho#e& an) the meanin' of this *ho#e is to $e sou'ht not in the reser+ation of contem orary society $ut in its transformation into the ri'ht (in) of society! Consequent#y& a#thou'h critica# theory at no oint rocee)s ar$itrari#y an) in chance fashion& it a ears& to re+ai#in' mo)es of thou'ht& to $e su$%ecti+e an) s ecu#ati+e& one"si)e) an) use#ess! 9ince it runs counter to re+ai#in' ha$its of thou'ht& *hich contri$ute to the ersistence of the ast an) carry on the $usiness of an out)ate) or)er of thin's 7$oth ast an) out)ate) or)er 'uaranteein' a faction"ri))en *or#)=& it a ears to $e $iase) an) un%ust! A$o+e a##& ho*e+er& critica# theory has no materia# accom" B2?

#ishments to sho* for itse#f! The chan'e *hich it see(s to $rin' a$out is not effecte) 'ra)ua##y& so that success e+en if s#o* mi'ht $e stea)y! The 'ro*th in num$ers of more or #ess c#ear" min)e) )isci #es& the inf#uence of some amon' them on 'o+ern" ments& the o*er osition of arties *hich ha+e a ositi+e atti" tu)e to*ar)s this theory or at #east )o not out#a* it/a## these are amon' the +icissitu)es encountere) in the stru''#e for a hi'her sta'e of man1s #ife in community an) are not foun) at the $e'innin's of the stru''#e! 9uch successes as these may e+en ro+e& #ater on& to ha+e $een on#y a arent +ictories an) rea##y $#un)ers! A'ain8 ferti#iAation in a'ricu#ture& for e,am #e& or the a #ication of a me)ica# thera y may $e far remo+e) from i)ea# rea#ity an) yet accom #ish somethin'! -erha s the theories un)er#yin' such techno#o'y may ha+e to $e refine)& re+ise)& or a$o#ishe) in connection *ith s ecia#iAe) acti+ity an) *ith )is" co+eries in other areas! Throu'h such techniques& nonethe#ess& a certain amount of #a$or is sa+e) in achie+in' resu#ts& an) many an i##ness is hea#e) or a##e+iate)!2? @ut the first consequence of the theory *hich ur'es a transformation of society as a *ho#e is on#y an intensification of the stru''#e *ith *hich the theory is connecte)! Gurthermore& a#thou'h materia# im ro+ements& ori'inatin' in the increase) o*ers of resistance of certain 'rou s& are in" )irect#y )ue to the critica# theory& the 'rou s in question are not sectors of society *hose stea)y s rea) *ou#) fina##y $rin' the ne* society to ass! 9uch i)eas mista(e the fun)amenta# )iffer" ence $et*een a fra'mente) society in *hich materia# an) i)eo#o'ica# o*er o erates to maintain ri+i#e'es an) an associ" ation of free men in *hich each has the same ossi$i#ity of se#f" )e+e#o ment! 9uch an association is not an a$stract Cto ia& for the ossi$i#ity in question can $e sho*n to $e rea# e+en at the resent sta'e of ro)ucti+e forces! @ut ho* many ten)encies *i## actua##y #ea) to this association& ho* many transitiona# hases ha+e $een reache)& ho* )esira$#e an) intrinsica##y +a#"
financia# techno#o'y& an) their use in economic o#icy!

2E! The same is true of insi'hts in the areas of o#itica# economy an)

B2:

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

ua$ie in)i+i)ua# re#iminary sta'es may $e& an) *hat their historica# im ortance is in re#ation to the i)ea/a## this *i## $e ma)e c#ear on#y *hen the i)ea is $rou'ht to rea#iAation! One thin' *hich this *ay of thin(in' has in common *ith fantasy is that an ima'e of the future *hich s rin's in)ee) from a )ee un)erstan)in' of the resent )etermines men1s thou'hts an) actions e+en in erio)s *hen the course of e+ents seems to $e #ea)in' far a*ay from such a future an) seems to %ustify e+ery reaction e,ce t $e#ief in fu#fi##ment! It is not the ar$itrari" ness an) su ose) in)e en)ence of fantasy that is the common $on) here& $ut its o$stinacy! Within the most a)+ance) 'rou it is the theoretician *ho must ha+e this o$stinacy! The theore" tician of the ru#in' c#ass& erha s after )ifficu#t $e'innin's& may reach a re#ati+e#y assure) osition& $ut& on the other han)& the theoretician is a#so at times an enemy an) crimina#& at times a so#itary Cto ian0 e+en after his )eath the question of *hat he rea##y *as is not )eci)e)! The historica# si'nificance of his *or( is not se#f"e+i)ent0 it rather )e en)s on men s ea(in' an) actin' in such a *ay as to %ustify it! It is not a finishe) an) fi,e) his" torica# creation! The ca acity for such acts of thou'ht as are require) in e+ery)ay action& socia# or scientific& has $een )e+e#o e) in men $y a rea#istic trainin' o+er many centuries! Gai#ure here #ea)s to aff#iction& fai#ure& an) unishment! The inte##ectua# mo)a#ity to *hich *e refer consists essentia##y in this& that the con)itions for $rin'in' a$out an effect *hich has a#*ays a eare) in the same circumstances $efore are (no*n an) in the a ro riate conte,t are su #ie)! There is an o$%ect"#esson (in) of instruction throu'h 'oo) an) $a) e, eriences an) throu'h or'aniAe) e," eriment! The issue here is )irect in)i+i)ua# se#f" reser+ation& an) in $our'eois society men ha+e the o ortunity of )e+e#o " in' a sense of this! Ino*#e)'e in this tra)itiona# sense& inc#u)" in' e+ery ty e of e, erience& is reser+e) in critica# theory an) ractice! @ut in re'ar) to the essentia# (in) of chan'e at *hich the critica# theory aims& there can $e no corres on)in' concrete erce tion of it unti# it actua##y comes a$out! If the roof of the 220

u))in' is in the eatin'& the eatin' here is sti## in the future! Com arison *ith simi#ar historica# e+ents can $e )ra*n on#y in a #imite) )e'ree! Constructi+e thin(in'& then& #ays a more im ortant ro#e than em irica# +erification in this theory as a *ho#e& in com arison *ith *hat 'oes on in the acti+ity of common sense! This is one of the reasons *hy men *ho in articu#ar scientific areas or in other rofessiona# acti+ity are a$#e to )o e,treme#y com etent *or(& can sho* themse#+es quite #imite) an) incom etent& )e" s ite 'oo) *i##& *hen it comes to questions concernin' society as a *ho#e! In a## ast erio)s *hen socia# chan'e *as on the a'en)a& eo #e *ho thou'ht "too much" *ere re'ar)e) as )an'erous! This $rin's us to the ro$#em of the 'enera# re#a" tion of the inte##i'entsia to society! The theoretician *hose $usiness it is to hasten )e+e#o ments *hich *i## #ea) to a society *ithout in%ustice can fin) himse#f in o osition to +ie*s re+ai#in' e+en amon' the ro#etariat& as *e sai) a$o+e! If such a conf#ict *ere not ossi$#e& there *ou#) $e no nee) of a theory0 those *ho nee) it *ou#) come u on it *ithout he# ! The conf#ict )oes not necessari#y ha+e anythin' to )o *ith the c#ass to *hich the theoretician $e#on's0 nor )oes it )e en) on the (in) of income he has! En'e#s *as a $usiness" man! In rofessiona# socio#o'y& *hich )eri+es its conce t of c#ass not from a critique of the economy $ut from its o*n o$" ser+ations& the theoretician1s socia# osition is )etermine) neither $y the source of his income nor $y the concrete content of his theory $ut $y the forma# e#ement of e)ucation! The ossi$i#ity of a *i)er +ision& not the (in) ossesse) $y in)ustria# ma'nates *ho (no* the *or#) mar(et an) )irect *ho#e states from $ehin) the scenes& $ut the (in) ossesse) $y uni+ersity rofessors& mi))#e"#e+e# ci+i# ser+ants& )octors& #a*yers& an) so forth& is *hat constitutes the "inte##i'entsia&" that is& a s ecia# socia# or e+en su rasocia# stratum! It is the tas( of the critica# theoretician to re)uce the tension $et*een his o*n insi'ht an) o resse) humanity in *hose ser+ice he thin(s! @ut in the socio#o'ica# conce t of *hich *e BB2

CRITICAL THEORY

s ea( )etachment from a## c#asses is an essentia# mar( of the inte##i'entsia& a sort of si'n of su eriority of *hich it is rou)!2F 9uch a neutra# cate'ory corres on)s to the a$stract se#f"a*are" ness ty ica# of the sa+ant! To the $our'eois consumer un)er #i$era#ism (no*#e)'e meant (no*#e)'e that *as usefu# in some circumstances or other& no matter *hat (in) of (no*#e)'e mi'ht $e in question0 the socio#o'y *e s ea( of a roaches (no*#e)'e in the same *ay at the theoretica# #e+e#! .ar, an) .ises& Lenin an) Liefmann& 5aures an) 5e+ons a## come un)er the same socio#o'ica# hea)in'& un#ess the o#iticians are #eft out of the #ist an) ut )o*n as otentia# stu)ents of the o#itica# scientists& socio#o'ists& an) hi#oso hers *ho are the rea# men of (no*#e)'e! Grom them the o#itician is to #earn to use "such an) such a means" *hen he ta(es "such an) such a stan)"0 he must #earn *hether the ractica# osition he a)o ts can $e im" #emente) *ith #o'ica# consistency! 2? A )i+ision of #a$or is esta$#ishe) $et*een men *ho in socia# conf#icts affect the course of history an) the socia# theoreticians *ho assi'n them their stan) oint! Critica# theory is in contra)iction to the forma#istic conce t of min) *hich un)er#ies such an i)ea of the inte##i'entsia! Accor)in' to this conce t there is on#y one truth& an) the osi" ti+e attri$utes of honesty& interna# consistency& reasona$#eness& an) stri+in' for eace& free)om& an) ha iness may not $e at" tri$ute) in the same sense to any other theory an) ractice! There is #i(e*ise no theory of society& e+en that of the socio#o" 'ists concerne) *ith 'enera# #a*s& that )oes not contain o#itica# moti+ations& an) the truth of these must $e )eci)e) not in su " ose)#y neutra# ref#ection $ut in ersona# thou'ht an) action& in concrete historica# acti+ity! No*& it is )isconcertin' that the inte##ectua# shou#) re resent himse#f in this *ay& as thou'h a )ifficu#t #a$or of thou'ht& *hich he a#one cou#) accom #ish& 2F! The author is referrin'& here an) in the fo##o*in' ara'ra hs& to Iar# .annheim1s theory& in his socio#o'y of (no*#e)'e& of the s ecific
con)ition an) out#oo( of the inte##i'entsia in the $our'eois era! 2?! .a, We$er& "9cience as a Jocation&" in From Ma+ We$er0 .s says in Sociology, tr! an) e)! $y H! H! 6erth an) C! Wri'ht .i##s 7Ne* Yor(8 O,for) Cni+ersity -ress& 2:>E=& ! 2<2!

'ar)e in the o#itica# stru''#e nee) ru)ence& $ut not aca)emic instruction on their so"ca##e) stan) oint! Es ecia##y at a time *hen the forces of free)om in Euro e are themse#+es )isoriente) an) see(in' to re'rou themse#+es ane*& *hen e+erythin' )e" en)s on nuances of osition *ithin their o*n mo+ement& *hen in)ifference to su$stanti+e content& create) $y )efeat& )es air& an) corru t $ureaucracy& threatens to o+er*he#m a## the s on" taneity& e, erience& an) (no*#e)'e of the masses )es ite the heroic efforts of a fe*& a conce tion of the inte##i'entsia *hich c#aims to transcen) arty #ines an) is therefore a$stract re re" sents a +ie* of ro$#ems that on#y hi)es the )ecisi+e questions! .in) is #i$era#! It to#erates no e,terna# coercion& no re+am in' of its resu#ts to suit the *i## of one or other o*er! @ut on the other han) it is not cut #oose from the #ife of society0 it )oes not han' sus en)e) o+er it! In so far as min) see(s autonomy or man1s contro# o+er his o*n #ife no #ess than o+er nature& it is a$#e to reco'niAe this same ten)ency as a force o erati+e in history! Consi)ere) in iso#ation& the reco'nition of such a ten" )ency seems neutra#0 $ut %ust as min) is una$#e to reco'niAe it *ithout ha+in' first $een stimu#ate) an) $ecome concerne)& neither can it ma(e such reco'nition a 'enera##y acce te) fact *ithout a stru''#e! To that e,tent& min) is not #i$era#! Inte##ec" tua# efforts *hich arise here an) there *ithout any conscious connection *ith a articu#ar ractica# commitment $ut +ary accor)in' to )ifferent aca)emic or other tas(s that romise success& inte##ectua# efforts *hich ta(e no* this& no* that for their fie#) of concentration& may $e usefu# in the ser+ice of one or other historica# ten)ency! @ut for a## their forma# correctness 7an) *hat theoretica# structure& ho*e+er ra)ica##y fau#te)& cannot fu#fi## the requirements of forma# correctness?=& they can a#so hin)er an) #ea) astray the )e+e#o ment of the min)! The a$stract socio#o'ica# conce t of an inte##i'entsia *hich is to ha+e missionary functions is& $y its structure& an hy ostatiAa" tion of s ecia#iAe) science! Critica# theory is neither ")ee #y 223

BBB

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

*ere the rime requirement if men *ere accurate#y to choose $et*een re+o#utionary& #i$era#& an) fascist en)s an) means! The situation has not $een #i(e that for many )eca)es! The a+ant"

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

roote)" #i(e tota#itarian ro a'an)a nor ")etache)" #i(e the #i$era#ist inte##i'entsia! Our consi)eration of the +arious functions of tra)itiona# an) critica# theory $rin's to #i'ht the )ifference in their #o'ica# structure! The rimary ro ositions of tra)itiona# theory )efine uni+ersa# conce ts un)er *hich a## facts in the fie#) in question are to $e su$sume)0 for e,am #e& the conce t of a hysica# rocess in hysics or an or'anic rocess in $io#o'y! In $et*een rimary ro ositions an) facts there is the hierarchy of 'enera an) s ecies *ith their re#ations of su$or)ination! Gacts are in" )i+i)ua# cases& e,am #es& or em$o)iments of c#asses! There are no )ifferences )ue to time $et*een the unities in the system! E#ectricity )oes not e,ist rior to an e#ectrica# fie#)& nor a fie#) rior to e#ectricity& any more than *o#f as such e,ists $efore or after articu#ar *o#+es! As far as an in)i+i)ua# (no*er is con" cerne) there may $e one or other tem ora# sequence amon' such re#ationshi s& $ut no such sequence e,ists in the o$%ects themse#+es! Gurthermore& hysics has a#so cease) to re'ar) more 'enera# characteristics as causes or forces hi))en in the concrete facts an) to hy ostatiAe these #o'ica# re#ationshi s0 it is on#y socio#o'y that is sti## unc#ear on this oint! If ne* c#asses are a))e) to the system or other chan'es are intro)uce)& this is not usua##y re" 'ar)e) as roof that the )eterminations ma)e ear#ier are neces" sari#y too ri'i) an) must turn out to $e ina)equate& for the re#ationshi to the o$%ect or e+en the o$%ect itse#f may chan'e *ithout #osin' its i)entity! Chan'es are ta(en rather as an in" )ication that our ear#ier (no*#e)'e *as )eficient or as a su$" stitution of some as ects of an o$%ect for others& as a ma & for e,am #e& may $ecome )ate) $ecause forests ha+e $een cut )o*n& ne* cities $ui#t& or )ifferent $or)ers )ra*n! In )iscursi+e #o'ic& or #o'ic of the un)erstan)in'& the e+o#ution of #i+in' $ein's is concei+e) in the same *ay! This erson is no* a chi#)& then an a)u#t0 for such #o'ic this can on#y mean that there is an a$i)in' sta$#e nuc#eus& "this erson&" *ho successi+e#y ossesses the attri$utes of $ein' a chi#) an) an a)u#t! Gor ositi+ism& of course& there is sim #y no i)entity8 first there is a chi#)& #ater 224

there is an a)u#t& an) the t*o are sim #y )istinct com #e,es of facts! @ut this +ie* cannot come to 'ri s *ith the fact that a erson chan'es an) yet is i)entica# *ith himse#f! The critica# theory of society a#so $e'ins *ith a$stract )e" terminations0 in )ea#in' *ith the resent era it $e'ins *ith the characteriAation of an economy $ase) on e,chan'e!2: The con" ce ts .ar, uses& such as commo)ity& +a#ue& an) money& can function as 'enera *hen& for e,am #e& concrete socia# re#ations are %u)'e) to $e re#ations of e,chan'e an) *hen there is ques" tion of the commo)ity character of 'oo)s! @ut the theory is not satisfie) to re#ate conce ts of rea#ity $y *ay of hy otheses! The theory $e'ins *ith an out#ine of the mechanism $y *hich $our'eois society& after )ismant#in' feu)a# re'u#ations& the 'ui#) system& an) +assa#a'e& )i) not imme)iate#y fa## a art un)er the ressure of its o*n anarchic rinci #e $ut mana'e) to sur+i+e! The re'u#atory effects of e,chan'e are $rou'ht out on *hich $our'eois economy is foun)e)! The conce tion of the interac" tion of society an) nature& *hich is a#rea)y e,ercisin' its in" f#uence here& as *e## as the i)ea of a unifie) erio) of society& of its se#f" reser+ation& an) so on& s rin' from a ra)ica# ana#ysis& 'ui)e) $y concern for the future& of the historica# rocess! The re#ation of the rimary conce tua# interconnections to the *or#) of facts is not essentia##y a re#ation of c#asses to instances! It is $ecause of its inner )ynamism that the e,chan'e re#ation" shi & *hich the theory out#ines& )ominates socia# rea#ity& as& for e,am #e& the assimi#ation of foo) #ar'e#y )ominates the or'anic #ife of #ant an) $rute $east! In critica# theory& as in tra)itiona# theory& more s ecific e#e" ments must $e intro)uce) in or)er to mo+e from fun)amenta# structure to concrete rea#ity! @ut such an interca#ation of more )etai#e) factors/for e,am #e the e,istence of #ar'e money re" ser+es& the )iffusion of these in sectors of society that are sti## reca ita#ist& forei'n tra)e/is not accom #ishe) $y sim #e )e)uction as in theory that has $een sim #ifie) for s ecia#iAe)
2:! On the #o'ica# structure of the critique of o#itica# economy& cf! the essay "Kum -ro$#em )er Wahrheit&" in Hor(heimer& 1ritische Theorie, +o#! I 7Gran(furt& 2:E?=& ! BE<ff!

BB<

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

use! Instea)& e+ery ste rests on (no*#e)'e of man an) nature *hich is store) u in the sciences an) in historica# e, erience! This is o$+ious& of course& for the theory of in)ustria# techno#" o'y! @ut in other areas too a )etai#e) (no*#e)'e of ho* men react is a #ie) throu'hout the )octrina# )e+e#o ments to *hich *e ha+e $een referrin'! Gor e,am #e& the statement that un)er certain con)itions the #o*est strata of society ha+e the most chi#)ren #ays an im ortant ro#e in e, #ainin' ho* the $our" 'eois society $ui#t on e,chan'e necessari#y #ea)s to ca ita#ism *ith its army of in)ustria# reser+es an) its crises! To 'i+e the sycho#o'ica# reasons $ehin) the o$ser+e) fact a$out the #o*er c#asses is #eft to tra)itiona# science! Thus the critica# theory of society $e'ins *ith the i)ea of the sim #e e,chan'e of commo)ities an) )efines the i)ea *ith the he# of re#ati+e#y uni+ersa# conce ts! It then mo+es further& usin' a## (no*#e)'e a+ai#a$#e an) ta(in' suita$#e materia# from the research of others as *e## as from s ecia#iAe) research! Without )enyin' its o*n rinci #es as esta$#ishe) $y the s ecia# )isci #ine of o#itica# economy& the theory sho*s ho* an e," chan'e economy& 'i+en the con)ition of men 7*hich& of course& chan'es un)er the +ery inf#uence of such an economy=& must necessari#y #ea) to a hei'htenin' of those socia# tensions *hich in the resent historica# era #ea) in turn to *ars an) re+o#utions! The necessity %ust mentione)& as *e## as the a$stractness of the conce ts& are $oth #i(e an) un#i(e the same henomena in tra)itiona# theory! In $oth ty es of theory there is a strict )e)uc" tion if the c#aim of +a#i)ity for 'enera# )efinitions is sho*n to inc#u)e a c#aim that certain factua# re#ations *i## occur! Gor e,am #e& if you are )ea#in' *ith e#ectricity& such an) such an e+ent must occur $ecause such an) such characteristics $e#on' to the +ery conce t of e#ectricity! To the e,tent that the critica# theory of society )e)uces resent con)itions from the conce t of sim #e e,chan'e& it inc#u)es this (in) of necessity& a#thou'h it is re#ati+e#y unim ortant that the hy othetica# form of statement $e use)! That is& the stress is not on the i)ea that *here+er a society $ase) on sim #e e,chan'e re+ai#s& ca ita#ism must )e" +e#o /a#thou'h this is true! The stress is rather on the fact BBE

that the e,istent ca ita#ist society& *hich has s rea) a## o+er the *or#) from Euro e an) for *hich the theory is )ec#are) +a#i)& )eri+es from the $asic re#ation of e,chan'e! E+en the c#assifica" tory %u)'ments of s ecia#iAe) science ha+e a fun)amenta##y hy othetica# character& an) e,istentia# %u)'ments are a##o*e)& if at a##& on#y in certain areas& name#y the )escri ti+e an) ractica# arts of the )isci #ine!B; @ut the critica# theory of society is& in its tota#ity& the unfo#)in' of a sin'#e e,istentia# %u)'ment! To ut it in $roa) terms& the theory says that the $asic form of the historica##y 'i+en commo)ity economy on *hich mo)ern history rests contains in itse#f the interna# an) e,terna# tensions of the mo)ern era0 it 'enerates these tensions o+er an) o+er a'ain in an increasin'#y hei'htene) form0 an) after a erio) of ro'ress& )e+e#o ment of human o*ers& an) emanci ation for the in" )i+i)ua#& after an enormous e,tension of human contro# o+er nature& it fina##y hin)ers further )e+e#o ment an) )ri+es hu" manity into a ne* $ar$arism! The in)i+i)ua# ste s *ithin the theory are& at #east in inten" tion& as ri'orous as the )e)uctions in a s ecia#iAe) scientific theory0 each is an e#ement in the $ui#)in' u of that com re" hensi+e e,istentia# %u)'ment! -articu#ar arts of the theory can $e chan'e) into 'enera# or s ecific hy othetica# %u)'ments an) a #ie) after the fashion of tra)itiona# theory0 for e,am #e& the i)ea that increasin' ro)ucti+ity usua##y )e+a#ues ca ita#! In many areas of the theory there thus arise ro ositions the re#ation of *hich to rea#ity is )ifficu#t to )etermine! Grom the fact that the re resentation of a unifie) o$%ect is true as a *ho#e& it is ossi$#e to conc#u)e on#y un)er s ecia# con)itions the e,tent to *hich iso#ate) arts of the re resentation can +a#i)#y $e a #ie)& in their iso#ation& to iso#ate) arts of the
B;! There are connections $et*een the forms of %u)'ment an) the historica# erio)s! A $rief in)ication *i## sho* *hat is meant! The c#assificatory %u)'ment is ty ica# of re$our'eois society8 this is the *ay it is& an) man can )o nothin' a$out it! The hy othetica# an) )is%uncti+e forms $e#on' es ecia##y to the $our'eois *or#)8 un)er certain circum " stances this effect can ta(e #ace0 it is either thus or so! Critica# theory maintains8 it nee) not $e so0 man can chan'e rea#ity& an) the necessary con)itions for such chan'e a#rea)y e,ist!

227

CRITICAL THEORY

o$%ect! The ro$#em that arises as soon as articu#ar ro osi" tions of the critica# theory are a #ie) to unique or recurrin' e+ents in contem orary society has to )o not *ith the truth of the theory $ut *ith ho* suita$#e the theory is for tra)itiona# (in)s of inte##ectua# o eration *ith ro'ressi+e#y e,ten)e) 'oa#s! The s ecia# sciences& an) es ecia##y contem orary o#itica# economics& are una$#e to )eri+e ractica# rofit from the fra'" mentary questions they )iscuss! @ut this inca acity is )ue neither to these sciences nor to critica# theory a#one& $ut to their s e" cific ro#e in re#ation to rea#ity! E+en the critica# theory& *hich stan)s in o osition to other theories& )eri+es its statements a$out rea# re#ationshi s from $asic uni+ersa# conce ts& as *e ha+e in)icate)& an) therefore resents the re#ationshi s as necessary! Thus $oth (in)s of theoretica# structure are a#i(e *hen it comes to #o'ica# neces" sity! @ut there is a )ifference as soon as *e turn from #o'ica# to rea# necessity& the necessity in+o#+e) in factua# sequences! The $io#o'ist1s statement that interna# rocesses cause a #ant to *ither or that certain rocesses in the human or'anism #ea) to its )estruction #ea+es untouche) the question *hether any in" f#uences can a#ter the character of these rocesses or chan'e them tota##y! E+en *hen an i##ness is sai) to $e cura$#e& the fact that the necessary curati+e measures are actua##y ta(en is re'ar)e) as ure#y e,trinsic to the cura$i#ity& a matter of tech" no#o'y an) therefore nonessentia# as far as the theory as such is concerne)! The necessity *hich ru#es society can $e re'ar)e) as $io#o'ica# in the sense )escri$e)& an) the unique character of critica# theory can therefore $e ca##e) in question on the 'roun)s that in $io#o'y as in other natura# sciences articu#ar sequences of e+ents can $e theoretica##y constructe) %ust as they are in the critica# theory of society! The )e+e#o ment of society& in this +ie*& *ou#) sim #y $e a articu#ar series of e+ents& for the resentation of *hich conc#usions from +arious other areas of research are use)& %ust as a )octor in the course of an i##ness or a 'eo#o'ist )ea#in' *ith the earth1s rehistory has to a #y +arious other )isci #ines! 9ociety here *ou#) $e the in)i+i)ua# BB? rea#ity *hich is e+a#uate) on the $asis of theories in the s ecia# sciences! Ho*e+er many +a#i) ana#o'ies there may $e $et*een these

)ifferent inte##ectua# en)ea+ors& there is nonethe#ess a )ecisi+e )ifference *hen it comes to the re#ation of su$%ect an) o$%ect an) therefore to the necessity of the e+ent $ein' %u)'e)! The o$%ect *ith *hich the scientific s ecia#ist )ea#s is not affecte) at a## $y his o*n theory! 9u$%ect an) o$%ect are (e t strict#y a art! E+en if it turns out that at a #ater oint in time the o$%ec" ti+e e+ent is inf#uence) $y human inter+ention& to science this is %ust another fact! The o$%ecti+e occurrence is in)e en)ent of the theory& an) this in)e en)ence is art of its necessity8 the o$ser+er as such can effect no chan'e in the o$%ect! A con" scious#y critica# attitu)e& ho*e+er& is art of the )e+e#o ment of society8 the construin' of the course of history as the necessary ro)uct of an economic mechanism simu#taneous#y contains $oth a rotest a'ainst this or)er of thin's& a rotest 'enerate) $y the or)er itse#f& an) the i)ea of se#f")etermination for the human race& that is the i)ea of a state of affairs in *hich man1s actions no #on'er f#o* from a mechanism $ut from his o*n )ecision! The %u)'ment asse) on the necessity inherent in the re+ious course of e+ents im #ies here a stru''#e to chan'e it from a $#in) to a meanin'fu# necessity! If *e thin( of the o$%ect of the theory in se aration from the theory& *e fa#sify it an) fa## into quietism or conformism! E+ery art of the theory re" su oses the critique of the e,istin' or)er an) the stru''#e a'ainst it a#on' #ines )etermine) $y the theory itse#f! The theoreticians of (no*#e)'e *ho starte) *ith hysics ha) reason& e+en if they *ere not *ho##y ri'ht& to con)emn the con" fusion of cause an) o eration of forces an) to su$stitute the i)ea of con)ition or function for the i)ea of cause! Gor the (in) of thin(in' *hich sim #y re'isters facts there are a#*ays on#y series of henomena& ne+er forces an) counterforces0 $ut this& of course& says somethin' a$out this (in) of thin(in'& not a$out nature! If such a metho) is a #ie) to society& the resu#t is statistics an) )escri ti+e socio#o'y& an) these can $e im ortant for many ur oses& e+en for critica# theory!

BB:

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

Gor tra)itiona# science either e+erythin' is necessary or noth" in' is necessary& accor)in' as necessity means the in)e en)ence of e+ent from o$ser+er or the ossi$i#ity of a$so#ute#y certain re)iction! @ut to the e,tent that the su$%ect )oes not tota##y iso#ate himse#f& e+en as thin(er& from the socia# stru''#es of *hich he is a art an) to the e,tent that he )oes not thin( of (no*#e)'e an) action as )istinct conce ts& necessity acquires another meanin' for him! If he encounters necessity *hich is not mastere) $y man& it ta(es sha e either as that rea#m of nature *hich )es ite the far"reachin' conquests sti## to come *i## ne+er *ho##y +anish& or as the *ea(ness of the society of re+ious a'es in carryin' on the stru''#e *ith nature in a con" scious#y an) ur osefu##y or'aniAe) *ay! Here *e )o ha+e forces an) counterforces! @oth e#ements in this conce t of necessity/the o*er of nature an) the *ea(ness of society/ are interconnecte) an) are $ase) on the e, erience) effort of man to emanci ate himse#f from coercion $y nature an) from those forms of socia# #ife an) of the %uri)ica#& o#itica#& an) cu#tura# or)ers *hich ha+e $ecome a strait%ac(et for him! The stru''#e on t*o fronts& a'ainst nature an) a'ainst society1s *ea(ness& is art of the effecti+e stri+in' for a future con)ition of thin's in *hich *hate+er man *i##s is a#so necessary an) in *hich the necessity of the o$%ect $ecomes the necessity of a rationa##y mastere) e+ent! The a #ication& e+en the un)erstan)in'& of these an) other conce ts in the critica# mo)e of thou'ht& )eman) acti+ity an) effort& an e,ercise of *i## o*er& in the (no*in' su$%ect! The effort may $e ma)e& of course& to su #y for a )eficient un)erstan)in' of these i)eas an) of ho* they are #in(e) to " 'ether& sim #y $y 'reater attention to their #o'ica# im #ications an) the e#a$oration of a arent#y more e,act )efinitions& e+en of a "unifie) #an'ua'e&" $ut the effort cannot succee)! The issue is not sim #y one of misun)erstan)in' $ut of a rea# o osi" tion of out#oo(s! The conce t of necessity in the critica# theory is itse#f a critica# conce t0 it resu oses free)om& e+en if a not yet e,istent free)om! @ut the i)ea of free)om as a ure#y interior rea#ity *hich is a#*ays there e+en *hen men are en" 230

s#a+e) is ty ica# of the i)ea#ist menta#ity! The ten)ency im" manent in this not *ho##y fa#se $ut sure#y )istorte) conce tion of free)om *as most c#ear#y e, resse) $y the youn' Gichte8 "I am no* fu##y con+ince) that the human *i## is free an) that the ur ose of our e,istence is not to $e ha y $ut on#y to )e" ser+e ha iness!"B2 Here *e see the rea# i)entity un)er#yin' fun)amenta# meta hysica# o#arities an) schoo#s! The c#aim that e+ents are a$so#ute#y necessary means in the #ast ana#ysis the same thin' as the c#aim to $e rea##y free here an) no*8 resi'na" tion in ractice! The ina$i#ity to 'ras in thou'ht the unity of theory an) rac" tice an) the #imitation of the conce t of necessity to ine+ita$#e e+ents are $oth )ue& from the +ie* oint of theory of (no*#e)'e& to the Cartesian )ua#ism of thou'ht an) $ein'! That )ua#ism is con'enia# $oth to nature an) to $our'eois society in so far as the #atter resem$#es a natura# mechanism! The i)ea of a theory *hich $ecomes a 'enuine force& consistin' in the se#f" a*areness of the su$%ects of a 'reat historica# re+o#ution& is $eyon) the 'ras of a menta#ity ty ifie) $y such a )ua#ism! If scho#ars )o not mere#y thin( a$out such a )ua#ism $ut rea##y ta(e it serious#y& they cannot act in)e en)ent#y! In (ee in' *ith their o*n *ay of thin(in'& they can ut into ractice on#y *hat the c#ose) causa# system of rea#ity )etermines them to )o& or they count on#y as in)i+i)ua# units in a statistic for *hich the in)i+i)ua# unit rea##y has no si'nificance! As rationa# $ein's they are he# #ess an) iso#ate)! The rea#iAation that such a state of affairs e,ists is in)ee) a ste to*ar)s chan'in' it& $ut unfor" tunate#y the situation enters $our'eois a*areness on#y in a meta hysica#& ahistorica# sha e! In the form of a faith in the unchan'ea$#eness of the socia# structure it )ominates the res" ent! Ref#ectin' on themse#+es men see themse#+es on#y as on" #oo(ers& assi+e artici ants in a mi'hty rocess *hich may $e foreseen $ut not mo)ifie)! Necessity for them refers not to e+ents *hich man masters to his o*n ur oses $ut on#y to e+ents *hich he antici ates as ro$a$#e! Where the intercon" B2! Gichte& 2rie-#echsel, e)! $y H! 9chu#A& +o#ume 2 7Lei Ai'& 2:B<=& ! 2BF! BD2

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

nection of *i##in' an) thin(in'& thou'ht an) action is a)mitte) as in many sectors of the most recent socio#o'y& it is seen on#y as a))in' to that o$%ecti+e com #e,ity *hich the o$ser+er must ta(e into account! The thin(er must re#ate a## the theories *hich are ro ose) to the ractica# attitu)es an) socia# strata *hich they ref#ect! @ut he remo+es himse#f from the affair0 he has no concern e,ce t/science! The hosti#ity to theory as such *hich re+ai#s in contem orary u$#ic #ife is rea##y )irecte) a'ainst the transformati+e acti+ity associate) *ith critica# thin(in'! O osition starts as soon as theorists fai# to #imit themse#+es to +erification an) c#assification $y means of cate'ories *hich are as neutra# as ossi$#e& that is& cate'ories *hich are in)is ensa$#e to inherite) *ays of #ife! Amon' the +ast ma%ority of the ru#e) there is the unconscious fear that theoretica# thin(in' mi'ht sho* their ainfu##y *on a)a tation to rea#ity to $e er+erse an) unnecessary! Those *ho rofit from the status quo entertain a 'enera# sus icion of any inte##ectua# in)e en)ence! The ten)ency to concei+e theory as the o osite of a ositi+e out#oo( is so stron' that e+en the in" offensi+e tra)itiona# ty e of theory suffers from it at times! 9ince the most a)+ance) form of thou'ht at resent is the critica# theory of society an) e+ery consistent inte##ectua# mo+ement that cares a$out man con+er'es u on it $y its o*n inner #o'ic& theory in 'enera# fa##s into )isre ute! E+ery other (in) of sci" entific statement *hich )oes not offer a )e osit of facts in the most fami#iar cate'ories an)& if ossi$#e& in the most neutra# form& the mathematica#& is a#rea)y accuse) of $ein' theoretica#! This ositi+ist attitu)e nee) not $e sim #y hosti#e to ro'ress! A#thou'h in the intensifie) c#ass conf#icts of recent )eca)es ru#ers ha+e ha) to re#y increasin'#y on the rea# a aratus of o*er& i)eo#o'y is nonethe#ess sti## a fair#y im ortant cohesi+e force for ho#)in' to'ether a socia# structure threatene) *ith co##a se! In the )etermination to #oo( at facts a#one an) to surren)er e+ery (in) of i##usion there sti## #ur(s& e+en to)ay& somethin' #i(e a reaction a'ainst the a##iance of meta hysics an) o ression! It *ou#) $e a mista(e& ho*e+er& not to see the essentia# 232

)istinction $et*een the em iricist En#i'htenment of the ei'ht" eenth century an) that of to)ay! In the ei'hteenth century a ne* society ha) a#rea)y $een )e+e#o e) *ithin the frame*or( of the o#)! The tas( no* *as to free an a#rea)y e,istent $our'eois economy from its feu)a# #imitations an) to #et it o erate free#y! @our'eois scientific thou'ht& too& nee)e)& fun)amenta##y& on#y to sha(e off the o#) )o'matic chains in or)er to ro'ress a#on' a ath it ha) a#rea)y ma e) out! To)ay& on the contrary& in the transition from the resent form of society to a future one man(in) *i## for the first time $e a conscious su$%ect an) ac" ti+e#y )etermine its o*n *ay of #ife! There is sti## nee) of a conscious reconstruction of economic re#ationshi s! In)iscrim" inate hosti#ity to theory& therefore& is a hin)rance to)ay! Cn#ess there is continue) theoretica# effort& in the interest of a ration" a##y or'aniAe) future society& to she) critica# #i'ht on resent" )ay society an) to inter ret it in the #i'ht of tra)itiona# theories e#a$orate) in the s ecia# sciences& the 'roun) is ta(en from un)er the ho e of ra)ica##y im ro+in' human e,istence! The )eman) therefore for a ositi+e out#oo( an) for acce tance of a su$or)inate osition threatens& e+en in ro'ressi+e sectors of society& to o+er*he#m any o enness to theory! The issue& ho*" e+er& is not sim #y the theory of emanci ation0 it is the ractice of it as *e##! The in)i+i)ua# arts of a theory *hich attem ts to )e)uce the com #icate) rea#ity of #i$era# ca ita#ism an) u#timate#y of the ca ita#ism of the hu'e com$ines from the mo)e# of a sim #e commo)ity economy cannot $e as in)ifferent to the time" e#ement as the ste s in a )e)ucti+e system of c#assification are! Within the hierarchic systems of or'anisms& the )i'esti+e func" tion& so im ortant for men too& fin)s its ure e, ression& as it *ere& in the c#ass of the Asche#minthes! 9imi#ar#y there are historica# forms of society *hich sho*& at #east a ro,imate#y& a sim #e commo)ity economy! As *e in)icate) a$o+e& the con" ce tua# )e+e#o ment is& if not ara##e#& at #east in +erifia$#e re#ation to the historica# )e+e#o ment! @ut the essentia# re#ate)" ness of theory to time )oes not resi)e in the corres on)ence $et*een in)i+i)ua# arts of the conce tua# construction an) 233

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

successi+e erio)s of history0 that is a +ie* on *hich He'e#1s Phenomenology o- Mind an) Logic an) .ar,1s /apital, e," am #es of the same metho)& are in a'reement! It consists rather in the continuous a#teration of the theoretician1s e,istentia# %u)'ment on society& for this %u)'ment is con)itione) $y its conscious re#ation to the historica# ractice of society! This (in) of a#teration has nothin' to )o *ith the rinci #e $y *hich mo)ern meta hysics an) hi#oso hy of re#i'ion ha+e re" %ecte) e+ery consistent#y )e+e#o e) theoretica# structure8 any s ecific theoretica# content must $e constant#y an) "ra)ica##y questione)&" an) the thin(er must $e constant#y $e'innin' ane*! Critica# theory )oes not ha+e one )octrina# su$stance to)ay& another tomorro*! The chan'es in it )o not mean a shift to a *ho##y ne* out#oo(& as #on' as the a'e itse#f )oes not ra)ica##y chan'e! The sta$i#ity of the theory is )ue to the fact that ami) a## chan'e in society the $asic economic structure& the c#ass re#ationshi in its sim #est form& an) therefore the i)ea of the su ersression of these t*o remain i)entica#! The )ecisi+e su$" stanti+e e#ements in the theory are con)itione) $y these un" chan'in' factors an) they themse#+es therefore cannot chan'e unti# there has $een a historica# transformation of society! On the other han)& ho*e+er& history )oes not stan) sti## unti# such a oint of transformation has $een reache)! The historica# )e" +e#o ment of the conf#icts in *hich the critica# theory is in+o#+e) #ea)s to a reassi'nment of )e'rees of re#ati+e im ortance to in)i+i)ua# e#ements of the theory& forces further concretiAations& an) )etermines *hich resu#ts of s ecia#iAe) science are to $e si'nificant for critica# theory an) ractice at any 'i+en time! In or)er to e, #ain more fu##y *hat is meant& *e sha## use the conce t of the socia# c#ass *hich )is oses of the means of ro)uction! In the #i$era#ist erio) economic re)ominance *as in 'reat measure connecte) *ith #e'a# o*nershi of the means of ro)uction! The #ar'e c#ass of ri+ate ro erty o*ners e,er" cise) #ea)ershi in the society& an) the *ho#e cu#ture of the a'e $ears the im ress of this fact! In)ustry *as sti## $ro(en u into a #ar'e num$er of in)e en)ent enter rises *hich *ere sma## $y mo)ern stan)ar)s! The )irectors of factories& as *as suita$#e for 234

this sta'e of techno#o'ica# )e+e#o ment& *ere either one or more of the o*ners or their )irect a ointees! Once& ho*e+er& the )e+e#o ment of techno#o'y in the #ast century ha) #e) to a ra i)#y increasin' concentration an) centra#iAation of ca ita#& the #e'a# o*ners *ere #ar'e#y e,c#u)e) from the mana'ement of the hu'e com$ines *hich a$sor$e) their sma## factories& an) mana'ement $ecame somethin' quite )istinct from o*ner" shi $efore the #a*! In)ustria# ma'nates& the #ea)ers of the economy& came into $ein'! In many cases these mana'ers *ere initia##y the ma%or o*n" ers of the concerns! To)ay& ho*e+er& such o*nershi has $e" come unim ortant& an) there are no* some o*erfu# mana'ers *ho )ominate *ho#e sectors of in)ustry *hi#e o*nin' a stea)i#y )ecreasin' art of the $usinesses they )irect! This economic rocess $rin's *ith it a chan'e in the *ay the o#itica# an) #e'a# a aratus functions& as *e## as in i)eo#o'ies! Without the %uri)ica# )efinition of o*nershi $ein' chan'e) at a##& o*ners $ecome increasin'#y o*er#ess $efore the )irectors an) their staffs! In a #a*suit *hich o*ners mi'ht $rin' a'ainst mana'ers in the course of a )ifference of +ie*s& the mana'ers1 )irect contro# of the means *hich these hu'e enter rises ha+e at their )is osa# 'i+es them such an a)+anta'e that a +ictory of their o onents is for the most art har)#y ossi$#e! The inf#uence of mana'ement& *hich may initia##y $e e,ercise) on#y o+er #o*er %u)icia# an) a)ministrati+e authorities& fina##y e,ten)s to the hi'her ones an) u#timate#y to the 9tate an) its o*er a aratus! Once the #e'a# o*ners are cut off from the rea# ro)ucti+e rocess an) #ose their inf#uence& their horiAon narro*s0 they $ecome increasin'#y unfitte) for im ortant socia# ositions& an) fina##y the share *hich they sti## ha+e in in)ustry )ue to o*nershi an) *hich they ha+e )one nothin' to au'ment comes to seem socia##y use#ess an) mora##y )u$ious! These an) other chan'es are accom anie) $y the rise of i)eo#o'ies centerin' on the 'reat ersona#ity an) the )istinction $et*een ro)ucti+e an) arasitic ca ita#ists! The i)ea of a ri'ht *ith a fi,e) content an) in)e en)ent of society at #ar'e #oses its im ortance! The +ery same sector of society *hich $ruta##y maintains its ri+ate BD<

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

o*er to )is ose of the means of ro)uction 7an) this o*er is at the heart of the re+ai#in' socia# or)er= s onsors o#itica# )octrines *hich c#aim that un ro)ucti+e ro erty an) arasitic incomes must )isa ear! The circ#e of rea##y o*erfu# men 'ro*s narro*er& $ut the ossi$i#ity increases of )e#i$erate#y constructin' i)eo#o'ies& of esta$#ishin' a )ou$#e stan)ar) of truth 7(no*#e)'e for insi)ers& a coo(e)"u story for the eo #e=& an) of cynicism a$out truth an) thou'ht 'enera##y! The en) resu#t of the rocess is a society )ominate) no #on'er $y in)e en)ent o*ners $ut $y c#iques of in)ustria# an) o#itica# #ea)ers! 9uch chan'es )o not #ea+e the structure of the critica# theory untouche)! It )oes not in)ee) fa## +ictim to the i##usion that ro erty an) rofit no #on'er #ay a (ey ro#e& an i##usion care" fu##y fostere) in the socia# sciences! On the one han)& e+en ear#ier it ha) re'ar)e) %uri)ica# re#ations not as the su$stance $ut as the surface of *hat *as rea##y 'oin' on in society! It (no*s that the )is osition of men an) thin's remains in the han)s of a articu#ar socia# 'rou *hich is in com etition *ith other economic o*er 'rou s& #ess so at home $ut a## the more fierce#y at the internationa# #e+e#! -rofit continues to come from the same socia# sources an) must in the #ast ana#ysis $e increase) $y the same means as $efore! On the other han)& in the %u)'ment of the critica# theorist the #oss of a## ri'hts *ith a )etermine) content& a #oss con)itione) $y the concentration of economic o*er an) 'i+en its fu##est form in the authoritarian state& has $rou'ht *ith it the )isa earance not on#y of an i)eo#o'y $ut a#so of a cu#tura# factor *hich has a ositi+e +a#ue an) not sim #y a ne'ati+e one! When the theory ta(es into account these chan'es in the inner structure of the entre reneuria# c#ass& it is #e) to )iffer" entiate others of its conce ts as *e##! The )e en)ence of cu#ture on socia# re#ationshi s must chan'e as the #atter chan'e& e+en in )etai#s& if society in)ee) $e a sin'#e *ho#e! E+en in the #i$era#ist erio) o#itica# an) mora# inter retations of in)i+i)" ua#s cou#) $e )eri+e) from their economic situation! A)miration for no$i#ity of character& fi)e#ity to one1s *or)& in)e en)ence of BDE

%u)'ment& an) so forth& are traits of a society of re#ati+e#y in" )e en)ent economic su$%ects *ho enter into contractua# re#a" tionshi s *ith each other! @ut this cu#tura# )e en)ence *as in 'oo) measure sycho#o'ica##y me)iate)& an) mora#ity itse#f acquire) a (in) of sta$i#ity $ecause of its function in the in" )i+i)ua#! 7The truth that )e en)ence on the economy thorou'h#y er+a)e) e+en this mora#ity *as $rou'ht home *hen in the recent threat to the economic osition of the #i$era#ist $our" 'eoisie the attitu)e of free)om an) in)e en)ence $e'an to )is" inte'rate!= Cn)er the con)itions of mono o#istic ca ita#ism& ho*e+er& e+en such a re#ati+e in)i+i)ua# in)e en)ence is a thin' of the ast! The in)i+i)ua# no #on'er has any i)eas of his o*n! The content of mass $e#ief& in *hich no one rea##y $e#ie+es& is an imme)iate ro)uct of the ru#in' economic an) o#itica# $ureaucracies& an) its )isci #es secret#y fo##o* their o*n atom" istic an) therefore untrue interests0 they act as mere functions of the economic machine! The conce t of the )e en)ence of the cu#tura# on the eco" nomic has thus chan'e)! With the )estruction of the c#assica##y ty ica# in)i+i)ua#& the conce t has as it *ere $ecome more materia#istic& in the o u#ar sense of the term& than $efore! The e, #anation of socia# henomena has $ecome sim #er yet a#so more com #icate)! 9im #er& $ecause economic factors more )irect#y an) conscious#y )etermine men an) $ecause the so#i)ity an) re#ati+e ca acity for resistance of the cu#tura# s heres are )isa earin'! .ore com #icate)& $ecause the economic )yna" mism *hich has $een set in motion an) in re#ation to *hich most in)i+i)ua#s ha+e $een re)uce) to sim #e means& quic(#y $rin's e+er ne* +isions an) ortents! E+en a)+ance) sectors of society are )iscoura'e) an) 'ri e) $y the 'enera# sense of he# #ess" ness! The ermanency of truth& too& is connecte) *ith the conste#" #ations of rea#ity! In the ei'hteenth century truth ha) on its si)e a $our'eoisie that *as a#rea)y economica##y )e+e#o e)! @ut un)er the con)itions of #ater ca ita#ism an) the im otence of the *or(ers $efore the authoritarian state1s a aratus of o " ression& truth has sou'ht refu'e amon' sma## 'rou s of a)" 237

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

mira$#e men! @ut these ha+e $een )ecimate) $y terrorism an) ha+e #itt#e time for refinin' the theory! Char#atans rofit $y this situation an) the 'enera# inte##ectua# #e+e# of the 'reat masses is ra i)#y )ec#inin'! What has $een sai) is inten)e) to sho* that the continuous chan'e of socia# re#ationshi s& )ue imme)iate#y to economic )e+e#o ments an) fin)in' its most )irect e, ression in the for" mation of the ru#in' c#ass& )oes not affect on#y some areas of the cu#ture! It a#so affects the *ay in *hich the cu#ture )e en)s on the economy an)& thus& the (ey i)eas in the *ho#e conce " tion! This inf#uence of socia# )e+e#o ment on the structure of the theory is art of the theory1s )octrina# content! Thus ne* contents are not %ust mechanica##y a))e) to a#rea)y e,istent arts! 9ince the theory is a unifie) *ho#e *hich has its ro er meanin' on#y in re#ation to the contem orary situation& the theory as a *ho#e is cau'ht u in an e+o#ution! The e+o#ution )oes not chan'e the theory1s foun)ations& of course& any more than recent chan'es essentia##y a#ter the o$%ect *hich the theory ref#ects& name#y contem orary society! Yet e+en the a arent#y more remote conce ts of the theory are )ra*n into the e+o#u" tion! The #o'ica# )ifficu#ties *hich un)erstan)in' meets in e+ery thou'ht that attem ts to ref#ect a #i+in' tota#ity are )ue chief#y to this fact! If *e ta(e in)i+i)ua# conce ts an) %u)'ments out of their conte,t in the theory an) com are them *ith conce ts an) %u)'ments from an ear#ier +ersion of the theory& contra)ictions arise! This is true *hether *e thin( of the historica# )e+e#o " menta# sta'es throu'h *hich the theory asses or of the #o'ica# ste s *ithin the theory itse#f! Ami) a## the a$i)in' i)entity of the conce ts of enter rise an) entre reneur there is nonethe#ess )istinction& accor)in' as the conce ts are ta(en from the resentation of the ear#y form of $our'eois economy or from the resentation of )e+e#o e) ca ita#ism& an) accor)in' as they are ta(en from the nineteenth"century critique of o#itica# econ" omy *hich has the #i$era#ist manufacturer in +ie* or from the t*entieth"century critique *hich en+isa'es the mono o#ist! The 238

re resentation of the entre reneur& #i(e the entre reneur him" se#f& asses throu'h an e+o#ution! The contra)ictions *hich arise *hen arts of the theory are ta(en as in)e en)ent entities are thus not )ue to errors or to a ne'#ect of c#ear )efinitions! They are )ue to the fact that the theory has a historica##y chan'in' o$%ect *hich& ho*e+er& re" mains i)entica# ami) a## the chan'es! The theory is not a store" house of hy otheses on the course of articu#ar e+ents in society! It constructs a )e+e#o in' icture of society as a *ho#e& an e,istentia# %u)'ment *ith a historica# )imension! What the $our'eois entre reneur or e+en the $our'eois man as such *as 7the fact& for e,am #e& that his character sho*e) not on#y rationa#ist traits $ut a#so an e#ement of that irrationa#ism *hich resent#y re+ai#s in mi))#e"c#ass mass mo+ements= )e en)s on the ori'ina# economic situation of the $our'eoisie! The $asic conce ts of the theory ca ture this rea#ity! @ut those economic ori'ins manifest themse#+es so c#ear#y on#y in the conf#icts of the resent )ay! The reason for this is not that the $our'eois is un)erstan)in' chan'e at the resent time $ut that in connec" tion *ith resent")ay chan'e the interests an) attention of the theoretician #ea) him to accentuate ne* as ects of this o$%ect! It may $e of systematic interest an) not entire#y use#ess to c#assify an) %u,ta ose the +arious (in)s of )e en)ency& com" mo)ity& c#ass& entre reneur& an) so forth& as they occur in the #o'ica# an) historica# hases of the theory! @ut the sense of these conce ts u#timate#y $ecomes c#ear on#y *hen *e 'ras the *ho#e conce tua# structure *ith its )eman)s for a)a tation to e+er ne* situations! Consequent#y such systems of c#asses an) su$" c#asses& of )efinitions an) s ecifications of conce ts& *hich are e,tracte) from the critica# theory )o not ha+e e+en the +a#ue of the conce tua# in+entories foun) in other s ecia#iAe) science& for the #atter are at #east a #ie) in the re#ati+e#y uniform ractice of )ai#y #ife! To transform the critica# theory of society into a socio#o'y is& on the *ho#e& an un)erta(in' $eset *ith serious )ifficu#ties! The question *e ha+e $een touchin' on& concernin' the re#a" BD:

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

tion $et*een thou'ht an) time& has& it must $e a)mitte)& a s e" cia# )ifficu#ty connecte) *ith it! The o$%ection is ur'e) that it is im ossi$#e to s ea( in any strict sense of chan'es in a theory ro er#y so ca##e)! The c#aim that such chan'es occur re" su oses rather a theory that on#y '#osses o+er the )ifficu#ty! No one can turn himse#f into a )ifferent su$%ect than *hat he is at this historica# moment! To s ea( of the constancy or chan'e" a$#eness of truth is strict#y meanin'fu# on#y in a o#emica# conte,t! That is& one *ou#) $e o osin' the i)ea of an a$so#ute& su rahistorica# su$%ect or the ossi$i#ity of e,chan'in' su$%ects& as thou'h a erson cou#) remo+e himse#f from his resent his" torica# %uncture an) tru#y insert himse#f into any other he *ishe)! Ho* far this #ast is in fact ossi$#e or im ossi$#e is not our concern here! In any e+ent the critica# theory is in)ee) incom" ati$#e *ith the i)ea#ist $e#ief that any theory is in)e en)ent of men an) e+en has a 'ro*th of its o*n! Documents ha+e a history $ut a theory )oes not ha+e its +icissitu)es! The c#aim& then& that certain e#ements ha+e $een a))e) to it an) that it must a)a t itse#f to ne* situations in the future *ithout chan'" in' its essentia# content is rather an inte'ra# art of the theory as it e,ists to)ay an) see(s to affect ractice! Those *ho ha+e the theory in their hea)s ha+e it there in its tota#ity an) act accor)in' to that tota#ity! The continuous ro'ress of a truth that is in)e en)ent of the thin(in' su$%ect or a trust in the a)" +ance of science can refer in the ro er an) strict sense on#y to that function of (no*#e)'e *hich *i## continue to $e necessary e+en in a future society& name#y the masterin' of nature! This (no*#e)'e& too& a)mitte)#y $e#on's to the e,istent socia# to" ta#ity! Here& ho*e+er& the resu osition of c#aims that this (no*#e)'e #asts or chan'es& name#y the continuance of eco" nomic ro)uction an) re ro)uction in fami#iar forms& rea##y has& in a certain *ay& the same meanin' as the c#aim that the su$%ects of (no*#e)'e are interchan'ea$#e! The fact that c#ass society is )i+i)e) )oes not ren)er i##usory& in this conte,t& the equi+a#ence of human su$%ects! Ino*#e)'e in this instance is itse#f a thin' *hich one 'eneration asses on to another0 to the e,tent that 240

men must #i+e& they nee) it! In this res ect& too& then& the tra)i" tiona# scientist can $e reassure)! The i)ea of a transforme) society& ho*e+er& )oes not ha+e the a)+anta'e of *i)es rea) acce tance& as #on' as the i)ea has not yet ha) its rea# ossi$i#ity teste)! To stri+e for a state of affairs in *hich there *i## $e no e, #oitation or o ression& in *hich an a##"em$racin' su$%ect& name#y se#f"a*are man(in)& e,ists& an) in *hich it is ossi$#e to s ea( of a unifie) theoreti" ca# creation an) a thin(in' that transcen)s in)i+i)ua#s/to stri+e for a## this is not yet to $rin' it to ass! The transmission of the critica# theory in its strictest ossi$#e form is& of course& a con)ition of its historica# success! @ut the transmission *i## not ta(e #ace +ia so#i)#y esta$#ishe) ractice an) fi,e) *ays of actin' $ut +ia concern for socia# transformation! 9uch a concern *i## necessari#y $e arouse) e+er ane* $y re+ai#in' in%ustice& $ut it must $e sha e) an) 'ui)e) $y the theory itse#f an) in turn react u on the theory! The circ#e of transmitters of this tra)ition is neither #imite) nor rene*e) $y or'anic or socio#o'ica# #a*s! It is constitute) an) maintaine) not $y $io#o'ica# or testamentary inheritance& $ut $y a (no*#e)'e *hich $rin's its o*n o$#i'ations *ith it! An) e+en this (no*#e)'e 'uarantees on#y a contem orary& not a future community of transmitters! The theory may $e stam e) *ith the a ro+a# of e+ery #o'ica# criterion& $ut to the en) of the a'e it *i## #ac( the sea# of a ro+a# *hich +ictory $rin's! Cnti# then& too& the stru''#e *i## continue to 'ras it ari'ht an) to a #y it! A +ersion of it *hich has the ro a'an)a a aratus an) a ma%ority on its si)e is not therefore the $etter one! In the 'enera# historica# u hea+a# the truth may resi)e *ith numerica##y sma## 'rou s of men! History teaches us that such 'rou s& har)#y notice) e+en $y those o ose) to the status quo& out#a*e) $ut im ertur$a$#e& may at the )ecisi+e moment $ecome the #ea)ers $ecause of their )ee er insi'ht! To)ay& *hen the *ho#e *ei'ht of the e,istin' state of affairs is ushin' man(in) to*ar)s the surren)er of a## cu#ture an) re#a se into )ar(est $ar$arism& the circ#e of so#i)arity is narro* enou'h! The o onents& the masters of this a'e of )ec#ine& B>2

CRITICAL THEORY

TRADITIONAL AND CRITICAL THEORY

ossess in)ee) neither fi)e#ity nor so#i)arity! 9uch conce ts& on the contrary& are e#ements of the ri'ht theory an) ractice! Cut #oose from such theory an) ractice& these conce ts chan'e their meanin' as )o a## arts of a #i+in' *ho#e! It is true& of course& that in a 'an' of thie+es& for e,am #e& ositi+e traits of human community can ma(e their a earance& $ut this +ery ossi" $i#ity oints to a )eficiency in the #ar'er community *ithin *hich the 'an' e,ists! In an un%ust society crimina#s are not necessari#y inferior as human $ein's& *hereas in a fu##y %ust society they *ou#) $e unhuman! On#y in a conte,t can ar" ticu#ar %u)'ments a$out *hat is human acquire their correct meanin'! There are no 'enera# criteria for %u)'in' the critica# theory as a *ho#e& for it is a#*ays $ase) on the recurrence of e+ents an) thus on a se#f"re ro)ucin' tota#ity! Nor is there a socia# c#ass $y *hose acce tance of the theory one cou#) $e 'ui)e)! It is ossi$#e for the consciousness of e+ery socia# stratum to)ay to $e #imite) an) corru te) $y i)eo#o'y& ho*e+er much& for its circumstances& it may $e $ent on truth! Gor a## its insi'ht into the in)i+i)ua# ste s in socia# chan'e an) for a## the a'reement of its e#ements *ith the most a)+ance) tra)itiona# theories& the critica# theory has no s ecific inf#uence on its si)e& e,ce t con" cern for the a$o#ition of socia# in%ustice! This ne'ati+e formu#a" tion& if *e *ish to e, ress it a$stract#y& is the materia#ist con" tent of the i)ea#ist conce t of reason! In a historica# erio) #i(e the resent true theory is more criti" ca# than affirmati+e& %ust as the society that corres on)s to it cannot $e ca##e) " ro)ucti+e!" The future of humanity )e en)s on the e,istence to)ay of the critica# attitu)e& *hich of course contains *ithin it e#ements from tra)itiona# theories an) from our )ec#inin' cu#ture 'enera##y! .an(in) has a#rea)y $een a$an)one) $y a science *hich in its ima'inary se#f"sufficiency thin(s of the sha in' of ractice& *hich it ser+es an) to *hich it $e#on's& sim #y as somethin' #yin' outsi)e its $or)ers an) is content *ith this se aration of thou'ht an) action! Yet the char" acteristic mar( of the thin(er1s acti+ity is to )etermine for itse#f *hat it is to accom #ish an) ser+e& an) this not in fra'mentary 242

fashion $ut tota##y! Its o*n nature& therefore& turns it to*ar)s a chan'in' of history an) the esta$#ishment of %ustice amon' men! @ehin) the #ou) ca##s for "socia# s irit" an) "nationa# com" munity&" the o osition $et*een in)i+i)ua# an) society 'ro*s e+er 'reater! The se#f")efinition of science 'ro*s e+er more a$stract! @ut conformism in thou'ht an) the insistence that thin(in' is a fi,e) +ocation& a se#f"enc#ose) rea#m *ithin society as a *ho#e& $etrays the +ery essence of thou'ht! Translated $y Matthe# 3! 45/onnell

243