Dialectic of Enlightenment is, quite justifiably, one of the most celebrated and often cited works of modern social philosophy. It has been identified as the keystone of the 'Frankfurt School', of which Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer were the leading members, and does not cease to impress in its wide-ranging ambition and panache. Adorno and Horkheimer addressees themselves to a question which went to the very heart of the modern age, namely 'why mankind, instead of entering into a truly human condition, is sinking into a new kind of barbarism'. Modernity, far from redeeming the promises and hopes of the Enlightenment, had resulted in a stultification of mankind and an administered society, characterised by simulation and candy-floss entertainment. To seek an answer to the question of how such a condition could arise, Adorno and Horkheier subjected the whole history of Western catagories of reason and nature, from Homer to Nietzsche, to a searching philosophical and psychological critique.
Drawing on psychoanalytical insights, their own work on the 'culture industry', deep knowledge of the key Enlightenment and anti-Enlightenment thinkers, as well as fascinating considerations on the relationship between reason and myth - the rational and the irrational - the authors exposed the domination and violence towards both nature and humanity that underpin the Enlightenment project.
"A classic of twentieth-century thought." Times Literary Supplement "A sustained and serious critique of Western civilisation." - Times Higher Education Supplement
Theodor W. Adorno was born in Germany in 1903, and he died there in 1969. He was Professor of Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt for many years, and his other publications in English include Negative Dialectics (1973), Minima Moralia (1974) and Quasi Una Fantasia (1992). Max Horkheimer was born in Germany in 1895, where he died in 1973. He was a professor at the University of Frankfurt, and his other publications in English include Critical Theory (1975), Eclipse of Reason (19975), and Between Philosophy and Social Science (1993).