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Extra resources for Security, Strategy, and Critical Theory (Critical Security Studies)

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Adorno and Horkheimer reduce all forms of rationality to one: instrumental rationality. But those very values that the work was written to defend suggest a different sense of rationality—one that is not reducible to pure instrumentality. And indeed, in Eclipse of Reason, a book originally published in 1947 that delivers some of the main themes of Dialectic of Enlightenment in a more accessible form, Horkheimer does formally distinguish between instrumental rationality and substantive rationality, the latter being concerned with ends and not simply means (Horkheimer 1974: 3–91).

Html (18 of 18) [8/9/2002 1:30:34 PM] Security, Strategy, and Critical Theory: Chapter 3 Security, Strategy, and Critical Theory, by Richard Wyn Jones 3. Redemption: Renewing the Critical Project The transformation in the attitudes of the first generation of critical theorists between the period of “Traditional and Critical Theory” and the aftermath of Dialectic of Enlightenment is perhaps nowhere better illustrated than in Horkheimer’s address at the official opening of the new IfS building in Frankfurt in 1951 (the best account of the return of Adorno, Horkheimer, and Pollock to the Federal Republic is in Wiggershaus 1994).

Those forms of rationality concerned with the ends of human activity gradually become marginalized and redundant. The only forms of knowledge that are considered true knowledge are those that are quantified and calculable. In its ultimate expression of positivistic science, enlightened thought becomes solely concerned with charting or plotting repetition, and as concern with repetition is one of the motifs of the mythic, Adorno and Horkheimer claim that enlightenment reverts to myth. The atrophy of reason that characterizes the deification of instrumental rationality has disastrous effects on the human subject.

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