The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2012

15 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2013 Last revised: 13 Feb 2013

Date Written: February 3, 2013

Abstract

The Frankfurt School, also known as the Institute of Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung), is a social and political philosophical movement of thought located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It is the original source of what is known as Critical Theory. The Institute was founded, thanks to a donation by Felix Weil in 1923, with the aim of developing Marxist studies in Germany. The Institute eventually generated a specific school of thought after 1933 when the Nazis forced it to close and move to the United States, where it found hospitality at Columbia University, New York. The academic influence of the “critical” method is far reaching in terms of educational institutions in which such tradition is taught and in terms of the problems it addresses. Some of its core issues involve the critique of modernities and of capitalist society, the definition of social emancipation and the perceived pathologies of society. Critical theory provides a specific interpretation of Marxist philosophy and reinterprets some of its central economic and political notions such as commodification, reification, fetishization and critique of mass culture.

Keywords: Social Philosophy, History of Philosophy, Theory and Practice

Suggested Citation

Corradetti, Claudio, The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory (February 3, 2013). The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2211197

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