Sunday, December 2, 2018

745: A Farewell to Marcuse and Adorno

Critical Theory first develops during a period of extraordinarily complex intellectual activity in Germany. 
If one were to take the year 1930 as a benchmark, when Max Horkheimer becomes the director of the Institute of Social Research in Frankfurt  
and were to look back upon the decade preceding that date, one would encounter in their most vibrant forms many of the most important philosophical movements of the twentieth century:
the hermeneutic phenomenology of Heidegger; the logical empiricism of the Vienna Circle and the early Wittgenstein; 
various strands of neo- Kantianism; and the humanistic Marxism of Lukacs. 
It was September 1969, that I started my academic study of philosophy. I missed the student revolts and protests of the 60s, 
with men like Rudi Dutschke (1940 - 1979) in Germany and Daniel Marc Cohn-Bendit (1945 - )
All these protests against the paternalistic and capitalist establishment were inspired by marxist and socialist ideas. 
The Frankfurter Schule and names like Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse and Habermas were still well know. Contrary to a friend of mine I wasn't that fanatic politically in those days.
But it was the 20th century, our backyard and we can ask the question: What is this Critical Theory of the Frankfurter Schule.
Logical positivism and logical empiricism, which together formed neopositivism, was a movement in Western philosophy whose central thesis was verificationism, 
a theory of knowledge which asserted that only statements verifiable through empirical observation are cognitively meaningful.
In science we work with facts, it is said. In order to check whether something is or is not the case, one must verify empirically whether the stated fact occurs or not. 
This implies that the condition of truth and falsehood presupposes an objective structure of the world.
And here comes the interesting contribution to the debate by the Frankfurter Schule: Horkheimer and his followers rejected the notion of this objectivity in knowledge by pointing, 
among other things, to the fact that the object of knowledge is itself embedded into a historical and social process.
Especially in social sciences language did not just describe an objective world. When you talk about "workers" for instance,
then this concept is embedded. in a historical context, while the observer himself is also part of his own history
and these aspects you have to incorporate in your analysis of, for instance, the position of workers in society.
Or as Herbert Marcuse says it in his famous book "One Dimensional Man"(1964): 
Exposing the roots of possibilities both material and intellectual of contemporary society and researching their historical alternatives 
is based on what is intended with a critical theory about contemporary society, a theory that analyzes this society 
in the light of its used and neglected or abused opportunities to improve human existence. But which standards should be applied to such a criticism? In every case value judgments play a role.  - END QUOTE -
The socialist and social democratic motivation and inspiration  in the 20th century brought the Welfare state to Europe.
Where did all these revolting students go.....?
Only neo-liberalism has survived today, it seems :-)

Thank you for your attention again....

The Discussion

[13:17] herman Bergson: The floor is yours, if you have questions or remarks...:-)
[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:17] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:17] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well at least Science and provable concepts are the way to go I'd say
[13:18] herman Bergson: What strikes me these days is the downfall of social democratic parties
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:18] herman Bergson: The main point here is, that a concept like "workers"is related to the historical context....
[13:19] herman Bergson: a worker in 1900 is someone totally different from one of today
[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): way different
[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): but
[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): unions were discovered
[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): or uncovered
[13:20] herman Bergson: What the Frankfurter School did was drawing our attention to the fact that history is a dynamic something...
[13:20] herman Bergson: that there are no static facts
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Its changing yes
[13:20] CB Axel: I think maybe the social democratic parties are struggling because when western nations pay their workers a living wage, prices of the goods they make go up.
[13:21] herman Bergson: I recall debates from my time as student about value free science....and that this was impossible
[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): problem is unless they do the workers cant buy the goods either
[13:21] CB Axel: So, manufactures move to countries where the workers are exploited. The goods made in those countries are sold more cheaply which makes them attractive to westerners.
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): modern day slavery
[13:22] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): basically
[13:22] herman Bergson: Well....a lot of the debates in the 60s was about equal chances for and poor
[13:22] herman Bergson: and to some extend we have achieved this state
[13:23] CB Axel: Science isn't without bias, but the thing that makes science great is that even a biased scientist will change his mind when given facts that contradict his beliefs. °͜°
[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): value free science?
[13:24] herman Bergson: That is an interesting remark CB, for in it you presuppose ab objective reality again
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the issue is everything balances, for ex if i make a car at a factory and get increased payout the price of the car will then have to go up with the same amount so it will be just as expensive to buy for me even i have more in payment
[13:25] herman Bergson: That means, Gemma, that the choices tyyou make for instance with respect to the sunbjects you which to do research on, is politically biased
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hmmm
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): got it
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): not a good idea
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bias can mess up stuff for sure
[13:26] CB Axel: Yes, Bejiita. So no matter what happens, the worker loses. °͜°
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): seems so
[13:26] herman Bergson: Which disease to do research on, what geological phenomena to do research on.....doe sthe big industry direct the choices for instance
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but the truth here its all coming down to mathematics here
[13:27] herman Bergson: Who finances the research....another political aspect
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): think a lot of research is done value free science
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): on supplements for example
[13:28] herman Bergson: food supplements, you mean?
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:28] herman Bergson: is a big industry....
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): here we are always getting studies
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate):   buy this you will live forever
[13:28] herman Bergson: exactly :-)
[13:29] CB Axel: Yes, but the studies contradict each other depending on who paid for it.
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): there is one thing breaking the math in my exampl though and that is the bosses of big companies get more and more greedy and want more and more money and that will break the math here
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and the worker
[13:29] CB Axel: The supplement manufactures vs the establishment drug companies.
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yep cb
[13:30] herman Bergson: But in the 60s this would lead to serious political debates....but today ??????
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): true
[13:30] CB Axel: I have a friend who won't contribute to the breast cancer groups in SL because the money goes to "big pharma" and not to anyone that will research alternative medicines.
[13:31] herman Bergson: Serious debates on capitalist manipulation
[13:31] CB Axel: So, he seriously debates it.
[13:31] Ruby Rossini is offline.
[13:31] herman Bergson: I don't contribute because I havent the slightest idea where the money goes to :-))
[13:31] herman Bergson: nor any control over it
[13:32] CB Axel: Serious debate on capitalist research on the effects of nicotine eventually got the truth out despite the tobacco companies insisting their products were safe.
[13:33] herman Bergson: Still a political issue CB...:-)
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed, i heard something befire that we COULD probably cire cancer but since its more profitable to make brake medicine then healing it they let people die instead while they make their money
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): we wish
[13:33] CB Axel: Yes. But it was debated.
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): conspiracy i believe
[13:33] CB Axel: And issues like that are still seriously debated.
[13:33] herman Bergson: The taxpayers have to pay more and more for healthcare due to diseases caused by smoking....that is the trigger , I'd say
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): but in some areas pollution is the issue
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and NO one does anything about that
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): well they do something but not enough
[13:34] herman Bergson: Because there is no profit in it, Gemma :-)
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): must be fair
[13:35] CB Axel: I have a website I go to to check where the money in charities go.
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i do that too
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): cb
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i have selected a few and stick with those
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and ignore all the others
[13:35] CB Axel: Me, too
[13:35] elisabeth3210: In Spain they just announced that fuel cars will not be sold in twenty years, only electric cars.
[13:35] CB Axel: Wow!
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ah will be nice
[13:36] CB Axel: That's pretty cool.
[13:36] elisabeth3210: nods, not bad :)
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes, are the plans of the Netherlands too Elisabeth
[13:36] CB Axel: The air in cities should get better after that.
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well by them we should have solved all issues since a while i think
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): well
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we cant rely on oil any longer
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): here we may bring back coal
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): forward looking aren't we
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Trumps wet dream i guess
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): omg
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): OMG!!!
[13:37] CB Axel nods
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bej
[13:37] herman Bergson: ˆ_ˆ
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thick black smoke spewing into the air
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): no thanx
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cough cough!
[13:37] herman Bergson: Guess you are right Bejiita :-)))
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ll
[13:37] CB Axel: I don't think Trump really cares about coal. He just cares what his base thinks about coal.
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes cb
[13:38] herman Bergson: true
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i am really sarcastic
[13:38] elisabeth3210: so the Frankfurter schule would deny climate change as an objective truth?
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): I hope not
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): would they?
[13:38] herman Bergson: I don't think so.....Elisabeth
[13:39] herman Bergson: but they would put it in its historical context and ourselves too and show what capitalism does to this world
[13:40] CB Axel: So were they really pro truth or just anti-capitalism?
[13:40] elisabeth3210: I see
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): interesting
[13:40] herman Bergson: Like Marcuse says: The judgment that human life is worthwhile; or rather, that it may be worthwhile and should be made. This judgment underlies every intellectual effort; it is the a priori of social theory...
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): think they can be resurrected?
[13:41] elisabeth3210: the problem is that we can construct socio-historical frameworks with different discourses
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh yes
[13:41] elisabeth3210: so if we use the liberal discourse
[13:41] herman Bergson: So the goal of Critical Theory is to analyze our situation and improve our condition of life
[13:41] elisabeth3210: or the conservative discourse .. we end up with different results
[13:41] elisabeth3210: thats why I like the notion of objective truths
[13:41] herman Bergson: Yes but it is not the discourse of equal opportunities for all
[13:42] elisabeth3210: fact, climate change exists.
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): id say so too yes
[13:42] elisabeth3210: fact, thousands of immigrants are dying at the mediterranean.
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :(
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): but those who want can twist the reasons
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): so they are not to blame
[13:42] elisabeth3210: fact, the food industry is killing us, by trying to maximize profit and turn us into food junkies
[13:42] herman Bergson: Climate change is a fact....but its historical interpretation and social causes is not so factual....
[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): again  a twist of interpretation
[13:43] herman Bergson: Yes,,
[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): so many facts , real facts
[13:43] elisabeth3210: Jordan Petersons claims its not a fact, I was shocked when I heard him the other night
[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ahha
[13:44] herman Bergson: OMG Jordan Peterson.....:-)
[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): heard the name
[13:44] elisabeth3210: he is super smart, how can he deny climate change
[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hmmm
[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): smart is how he can
[13:44] CB Axel: I don't think there's any way we can absolutely prove that climate change is caused by human activity. All we can do is look at the evidence which, to me, suggests that humans are to blame for how bad it is and how fast it's happening.
[13:44] herman Bergson: Because he isn't that smart :-)
[13:45] herman Bergson: I agree CB
[13:45] elisabeth3210: agreed CB
[13:46] elisabeth3210: [13:41] herman Bergson: So the goal of Critical Theory is to analyze our situation and improve our condition of life << they need to analyze raw data and objective truths to do that.
[13:46] herman Bergson: They bring it with such a certainty that it is manmade,,,,but we don't know for sure at all, is my opinion.....we stimulate the change....yes
[13:46] CB Axel: I don't see how people can deny the evidence unless they have something to lose by accepting man as the cause.
[13:46] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that is it cb
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): good way to put it too
[13:47] CB Axel: Human greed has been the downfall of civilizations in the past and will be the downfall of this one if we don't wake up.
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): trump denies it probably cause then he would make less money since he lives on the oil companies profits
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and similar things
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so his greedy mind dont want a change but he must also still realize we cant go on like this in some way
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but also he acts like a baby in many ways so, well i dont know
[13:49] CB Axel: Why should he care? He won't be alive long enough for it to affect him.
[13:50] herman Bergson: True :-)
[13:50] herman Bergson: Well...
[13:50] CB Axel: As long as he can feed his face and feed his ego, he's happy.
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:51] herman Bergson: I am not  specialist i on the Frankurter School at all....their theories are very complex and difficult to understand....
[13:51] herman Bergson: but one thing they teach us....
[13:51] Umae Ying is online.
[13:52] herman Bergson: don't see facts as objective things, as stand alone, see them in their historical context
[13:52] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i remember wittenberg
[13:52] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): self analysis
[13:52] herman Bergson: What we call a fact...especially in social sciences is also part of history...
[13:52] elisabeth3210: nods
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes
[13:52] CB Axel: Very true.
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:53] elisabeth3210: maybe we could use both, neopositivism and critical theory :)
[13:53] herman Bergson: We like to use the methodology of the natural sciences everywhere....
[13:53] herman Bergson: that is what they reject.....
[13:53] herman Bergson: it does not apply to sociology or psychology
[13:54] herman Bergson: So..unless you have that final question yet.....
[13:54] CB Axel: Yes. You can't study human beings in the same way you study chemistry or physics, etc.
[13:54] herman Bergson: Indeed CB
[13:54] CB Axel: Atoms don't care what we think of them. °͜°
[13:54] elisabeth3210: ha
[13:54] herman Bergson: and that is what Adorno an Marcuse brought to our attention
[13:55] CB Axel: Very good. °͜°
[13:55] herman Bergson: Ok....
[13:55] herman Bergson: Thank you all again for your participation.....
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:55] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:55] elisabeth3210: ty herman
[13:55] herman Bergson: Class dismissed....:-))
[13:55] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman and group. °͜°
[13:55] Ciska Riverstone: thanx everyone
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): might get here Tuesday will see
[13:55] CB Axel: See you Tuesday.
[13:55] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:55] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ty Herman & Class!
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa cu next time

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