New Book: Honneth, Pathologies of Reason: On the Legacy of Critical Theory

Columbia University Press is pleased to announce the publication of Axel Honneth’s Pathologies of Reason: On the Legacy of Critical Theory, a major reassessment of the Frankfurt School and its continuing legacy.

Axel Honneth has been instrumental in advancing the work of the Frankfurt School of critical theorists, theorists, rebuilding their effort to combine radical social and political analysis with rigorous philosophical inquiry. These eleven essays published over the past five years reclaim the relevant themes of the Frankfurt School. They also engage with Kant, Freud, Alexander Mitscherlich, and Michael Walzer, whose work on morality, history, democracy, and individuality intersects with the Frankfurt School’s core concerns.

Collected here for the first time in English, Honneth’s essays pursue the unifying themes and theses that support the methodologies and thematics of critical social theory, and they address the possibilities of continuing this tradition through radically changed theoretical and social conditions.

Is social progress still possible after the horrors of the twentieth century? Does capitalism deform reason and, if so, in what respects? Can we justify the relationship between law and violence in secular terms, or is it inextricably bound to divine justice? How can we be free when we’re subject to socialization in a highly complex and in many respects unfree society? For Honneth, suffering and moral struggle are departure points for a new “reconstructive” form of social criticism, one that is based solidly in the empirically grounded, interdisciplinary approach of the Frankfurt School.

Praise for the book:

“This volume makes a very significant contribution to the continuing relevance of the critical theory of the Frankfurt School for contemporary forms of social criticism.” — Kenneth Baynes, Syracuse University

“This volume is a significant contribution to the debates over the history of the Frankfurt School and the contemporary relevance of critical social theory. Axel Honneth’s work provides a subtle reading of history that is less concerned with putting its products in their place—though he does do that in an exemplary fashion—than in highlighting what is living and vibrant in those products for contemporary thought.” — Christopher F. Zurn, University of Kentucky

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