Research Article

Frontiers of Philosophy in China

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 295-316

First online:

“Critique” immanent in “practice”: New Frankfurt School and American pragmatism

  • Tong Shijun Affiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, East China Normal University Email author 


As a result of a new understanding of the relation between theory and practice, the “New Frankfurt School,” with Jürgen Habermas as its major representative, highly values the philosophical tradition of American pragmatism, in contrast to the first generation Critical Theorists represented by Max Horkheimer. In Habermas, the idea of “critique” is, both substantially and methodologically, closely connected with the idea of “praxis” in the following senses: communicative action, rational argumentation, public discussion and political culture. “Critique” is thus found to be immanent in “praxis”; or, a la Horkheimer, pragmatism turns out to be a “critical philosophical analysis” without “falling back upon objective reason and mythology.”


New Frankfurt School American pragmatism critique practice communicative action rational argumentation public discussion political culture