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

Hardcover | January 12, 2016

byAmy Allen

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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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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...

Amy Allen is Liberal Arts Research Professor of Philosophy and head of the Philosophy Department at Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of The Power of Feminist Theory: Domination, Resistance, Solidarity and The Politics of Our Selves: Power, Autonomy, and Gender in Contemporary Critical Theory, and she is the editor of t...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:January 12, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231173245

ISBN - 13:9780231173247

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Table of Contents

Preface and AcknowledgmentsList of Abbreviations1. Critical Theory and the Idea of Progress2. From Social Evolution to Multiple Modernities: History and Normativity in Habermas3. The Ineliminability of Progress? Honneth's Hegelian Contextualism4. From Hegelian Reconstructivism to Kantian Constructivism: Forst's Theory of Justification5. From the Dialectic of Enlightenment to the History of Madness: Foucault as Adorno's Other Other Son6. Conclusion: "Truth," Reason, and HistoryNotesBibliographyIndex

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In her perspicacious and penetrating discussion of major figures of the Frankfurt School, Allen shows how deeply the tradition of critique is entangled with the grand narrative of enlightenment, the myth of the progressive unfolding of reason. Drawing on Adorno and Foucault, she shows the path contemporary critique has to take: the path to radical self-critique.