The End of Progress: Decolonizing the Normative Foundations of Critical Theory

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Columbia University Press, Jan 12, 2016 - Philosophy - 304 pages

While post- and decolonial theorists have thoroughly debunked the idea of historical progress as a Eurocentric, imperialist, and neocolonialist fallacy, many of the most prominent contemporary thinkers associated with the Frankfurt School—Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth, and Rainer Forst—have defended ideas of progress, development, and modernity and have even made such ideas central to their normative claims. Can the Frankfurt School's goal of radical social change survive this critique? And what would a decolonized critical theory look like?

Amy Allen fractures critical theory from within by dispensing with its progressive reading of history while retaining its notion of progress as a political imperative, so eloquently defended by Adorno. Critical theory, according to Allen, is the best resource we have for achieving emancipatory social goals. In reimagining a decolonized critical theory after the end of progress, she rescues it from oblivion and gives it a future.

 

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Contents

1 Critical Theory and the Idea of Progress
1
History and Normativity in Habermas
37
3 The Ineliminability of Progress? Honneths Hegelian Contextualism
80
Forsts Theory of Justification
122
Foucault as Adornos Other Other Son
163
Truth Reason and History
204
Notes
231
Bibliography
259
Index
273
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About the author (2016)

Amy Allen is Liberal Arts Professor of Philosophy and head of the Department of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University. She is the editor of the Columbia University Press series New Directions in Critical Theory.

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