The Representation Of Critical Marxism

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Critical theory refers to the new doctrine developed at the Social Research Institute of the University of Frankfurt, later that group of intellectuals is called Frankfurt School. This group of intellectuals adhered to the theories of Hegel, Marx and Freud considering representatives of critical theory. It is considered among them philosophers and other thinkers from different disciplines assigned to the mostly Jewish Frankfurt school: Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamín, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Jürgen Habermas, Oskan Negt or Hermann Schweppenhäuser, Erich Fromm, Albrecht Wellmer and AxelHonneth among others.


Critical theory was born by the opposition to traditional theory as the theory that arises in the Vienna circle, logical positivism. The formulation of critical theory is made by Marx Horkheimer for the first time in his work, traditional theory and critical theory of 1937. The initial project is called heterodox Marxism, thus, trying to solve the problems of society congruently, not only from the sociological point of view but necessarily philosophical. Marxist heterodoxy consists in the understanding of the current economic, political and social. 

They dedicated themselves to pointing out the failures of orthodox Marxism as well as discoverthe world. The need is carried out a theory with the possibilities of political praxis, I take the leftist intellectuals to a philosophical mission carried out by the Frankfort school, Marxist theory as the basis of their new doctrine. From there the school is labeled as a neo -Marxist group for its critical tendency that opposes traditional theory.

The new theory has as its particular purpose, according to Horkheimer, to “free human beings from the circumstances that enslave them”, their objective was to create a theoretical and ideological platform for a cultural revolution, their focus on culture is in graceto the foundation that culture molds the thought and political vision of men, men spiritually subjected to an inhuman system, which has its purpose the search for wealth and happiness as a reason for human existence and its goal is mediated only byThe progress of technology promoted by capitalism, Marcuse nakes the democratic and liberal appearance of the western world.

And it finds totalitarian features that the industrial progress builds, this would result in a one -dimensional universe with subjects unable to form a social criticism or opposition to what has already been established. As a remedy, the change of culture would give a change of thought and political vision, to do so it is necessaryEducation goes to the hands of the new doctrine. The critical theory of society proposed to reinterpret the traditional Marxist theory and update it according to its own spirit. 

Then, it is understood that knowledge is not a mere faithful and objective conceptual reproduction of reality, but an authentic formation and constitution of the same experiences of the subject, radically opposing the idea of pure theory that dominated that time that meant a separation between thesubject who knows with the fact to be known and instead insist on a knowledge that is mediated by experience, for theoretical and extra theoretical interests, that is, knowledge is constituted in relation to the changing process of social life. We see that in that reality the so -called logical positivism that was born in the Vienna circle.

He played an important role by determining the course that would take on the spirit of man, critical theory opposes it on two levels: in the social level, since science depends, in how much systematic arrangement – on the fundamental orientation that we give to theResearch (intra-theoretical interests), as of the orientation that is given within the dynamics of social structure (extra-theoretical interests). In the theoretical-cognitive level, he denounces the absolute separation presented by positivism between the subject he knows and the known object. Sciences lose their transformative character, their social function.


After the foundation of the Frankfurt School, its main representatives develop "critical theory". Critical theory considers that reason must be critical in the face of all kinds of manipulative and alienating ideology, which pretending to dominate nature with the idea of modernism and the new idea of development, which occurs satisfying the new needs created by capitalism, has ended up dominating the human being, as observed in the emergence of subtle totalitarianism and the one that Marcuse condemns in the one -dimensional man. The objective of critical theory is fundamentally emancipatory: reason must free the human being, not to enslave it.


Claudio Grass. (). Frankfurt School, cultural and politically correct Marxism as a control tool.

Hidalgo, u. Frankfurt School. Retrieved 12 November 2019.

Max Horkheimer’s critical theory. (2012). Retrieved 12 November 2019.

Critical theory. (2019). Retrieved 12 November 2019.

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