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Fugitive DemocracyAnd Other Essays$
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Sheldon S. Wolin and Nicholas Xenos

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691133645

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691133645.001.0001

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Reason in Exile

Reason in Exile

Critical Theory and Technological Society

Chapter:
(p.217) Chapter 10 Reason in Exile
Source:
Fugitive Democracy
Author(s):

Sheldon S. Wolin

, Nicholas Xenos
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691133645.003.0010

This chapter considers a theory proposed by two writers Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno nearly a half-century ago, which set out a very different version of the future where the opportunity created by crisis produced a bad infinity whose formula was “total domination through technology.” The crisis involved the destruction in Germany, Italy, Spain, and France of the type of liberal societies being promoted today in Central Europe and Russia, and the establishment of societies of varying degrees of totalitarianism. Although Horkheimer and Adorno were deeply critical of all dictatorships, they believed that the crisis could not be understood as the breakdown of parliamentary structures or the triumph of mass parties organized around a charismatic leader. Instead, the crisis centered in the culture of the intellect and involved the core notions in the heritage of the Enlightenment: faith in progress and its major driving forces, reason and science.

Keywords:   political theory, Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, crisis, totalitarianism

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