Reason After Its Eclipse: On Late Critical Theory

Hardcover | April 21, 2016

byMartin Jay

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Martin Jay tackles a question as old as Plato and still pressing today: what is reason, and what roles does and should it have in human endeavor? Applying the tools of intellectual history, he examines the overlapping, but not fully compatible, meanings that have accrued to the term “reason” over two millennia, honing in on moments of crisis, critique, and defense of reason.
            After surveying Western ideas of reason from the ancient Greeks through Kant, Hegel, and Marx, Jay engages at length with the ways leading theorists of the Frankfurt School—Horkheimer, Marcuse, Adorno, and most extensively Habermas—sought to salvage a viable concept of reason after its apparent eclipse. They despaired, in particular, over the decay in the modern world of reason into mere instrumental rationality. When reason becomes a technical tool of calculation separated from the values and norms central to daily life, then choices become grounded not in careful thought but in emotion and will—a mode of thinking embraced by fascist movements in the twentieth century.
            Is there a more robust idea of reason that can be defended as at once a philosophical concept, a ground of critique, and a norm for human emancipation? Jay explores at length the communicative rationality advocated by Habermas and considers the range of arguments, both pro and con, that have greeted his work.

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Martin Jay tackles a question as old as Plato and still pressing today: what is reason, and what roles does and should it have in human endeavor? Applying the tools of intellectual history, he examines the overlapping, but not fully compatible, meanings that have accrued to the term “reason” over two millennia, honing in on moments of ...

Martin Jay is the Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of fourteen previous books, including The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1923–50, which has been translated into thirteen languages; Marxism and Total...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:April 21, 2016Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:029930650X

ISBN - 13:9780299306502

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface                       
Acknowledgments                 
 
Part I: The Sun of Reason
1 From the Greeks to the Age of Reason                  
2 Kant: Reason as Critique; the Critique of Reason              
3 Hegel and Marx: Dialectical Reason                       
4 Reason in Crisis                  
 
Part II: Reason’s Eclipse and Return
5 The Critique of Instrumental Reason: Horkheimer, Marcuse, and Adorno           
6 Habermas and the Communicative Turn                
7 Habermas and His Critics               
 
Notes             
Index   

Editorial Reviews

“A magisterial rethinking of the fate of reason, particularly in German philosophy from Kant to Habermas.”—Anson Rabinbach, Princeton University