Critical Thinking Sociology

His ideas regarding the relationship between modernity and rationalization are in this sense strongly influenced by Max Weber.Habermas dissolved further the elements of critical theory derived from Hegelian German Idealism, although his thought remains broadly Marxist in its epistemological approach.Postmodern critical research is also characterized by the crisis of representation, which rejects the idea that a researcher's work is an "objective depiction of a stable other".

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Critical theory was established as a school of thought primarily by the Frankfurt School theoreticians Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, and Erich Fromm.

Modern critical theory has additionally been influenced by György Lukács and Antonio Gramsci, as well as the second generation Frankfurt School scholars, notably Jürgen Habermas.

Frankfurt School critical theorists drew on the critical methods of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud.

Critical theory maintains that ideology is the principal obstacle to human liberation.

Perhaps his two most influential ideas are the concepts of the public sphere and communicative action; the latter arriving partly as a reaction to new post-structural or so-called "postmodern" challenges to the discourse of modernity.

Habermas engaged in regular correspondence with Richard Rorty and a strong sense of philosophical pragmatism may be felt in his theory; thought which frequently traverses the boundaries between sociology and philosophy.In Habermas's work, critical theory transcended its theoretical roots in German idealism, and progressed closer to American pragmatism.Habermas is now influencing the philosophy of law in many countries—for example the creation of the social philosophy of law in Brazil, and his theory also has the potential to make the discourse of law one important institution of the modern world as a heritage of the Enlightenment.As a term, critical theory has two meanings with different origins and histories: the first originated in sociology and the second originated in literary criticism, whereby it is used and applied as an umbrella term that can describe a theory founded upon critique; thus, the theorist Max Horkheimer described a theory as critical insofar as it seeks "to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them."In sociology and political philosophy, the term "Critical Theory" describes the Western Marxist philosophy of the Frankfurt School, which was developed in Germany in the 1930s.This use of the term requires proper noun capitalization, whereas "a critical theory" or "a critical social theory" may have similar elements of thought, but not stress its intellectual lineage specifically to the Frankfurt School.Kant's notion of critique has been associated with the overturning of false, unprovable, or dogmatic philosophical, social, and political beliefs, because Kant's critique of reason involved the critique of dogmatic theological and metaphysical ideas and was intertwined with the enhancement of ethical autonomy and the Enlightenment critique of superstition and irrational authority.Ignored by many in "critical realist" circles, however, is that Kant's immediate impetus for writing his "Critique of Pure Reason" was to address problems raised by David Hume's skeptical empiricism which, in attacking metaphysics, employed reason and logic to argue against the knowability of the world and common notions of causation.The market (as an "unconscious" mechanism for the distribution of goods) had been replaced by centralized planning.Yet, contrary to Marx's famous prediction in the Preface to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, this shift did not lead to "an era of social revolution", but rather to fascism and totalitarianism.While modernist critical theory (as described above) concerns itself with "forms of authority and injustice that accompanied the evolution of industrial and corporate capitalism as a political-economic system," postmodern critical theory politicizes social problems "by situating them in historical and cultural contexts, to implicate themselves in the process of collecting and analyzing data, and to relativize their findings." Meaning itself is seen as unstable due to the rapid transformation in social structures.As a result, the focus of research is centered on local manifestations, rather than broad generalizations.

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