Frontiers of Philosophy in China

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 295–316

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

Research Article


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 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Giovanna Borradori. The American Philosopher: Conversations with Quine, Davison, Putnam, Nozick, Danto, Rorty, Cavell, MacIntyre, and Kuhn, translated by Rosanna Crocitto, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1994Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Martin Jay. The dialectical imagination: a history of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research 1923–1950, Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press, 1996Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Max Pensky. Third Generation Critical Theory, in Simon Critchley and William R. Schroeder (eds.), A Companion to Continental philosophy, Malden Mass. USA, Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 1998Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Martin Jay. Urban flights: the Institute of Social Research between Frankfurt and New York, in his Force Fields: Between Intellectual History and Cultural Critique, New York: Routledge, 1993Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Max Horkheimer. On the Problem of Truth, originally published in Zeitschrift fuer Sozialforschung, Vol. IV, 1935, reprinted in Andrew Arato and Eike Gebhardt (eds.), The Essential Frankfurt School Reader, New York: Continuum, 1995Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Max Horkheimer. Eclipse of reason, New York: Oxford University Press, 1947Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Juergen Habermas. Theory and practice, translated by John Viertel, Boston: Beacon Press, 1973Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Juergen Habermas, Noch einmal. Zum Verhältnis von Theorie und Praxis, in Wahrheit und Rechtfertigung: Philosophische Aufsätze, Suhrkamp, 1999Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Juergen Habermas. The Theory of Communicative Action, Vol. I, translated by Thomas McCarthy, Cambridge, UK/Oxford: Polity Press, UK, 1997Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Juergen Habermas. On the Pragmatics of Communication, Maeve Cook (ed.), Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1998Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Edmund Arens. The Logic of Pragmatic Thinking: From Peirce to Habermas, translated by David Smith, New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1994Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Karl-Otto Apel. Charles S. Peirce: From Pragmatism to Pragmaticism, translated by John Michael Krois, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1981Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Juergen Habermas. Postmetaphysical Thinking: Philosophical Essays, translated by William Mark Hohengarten, Polity Press, 1992Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Charles Larmore. “Habermas und der Pragmatismus”, in Stefan Mueller-Doohm (ed.), Das Interesse der Vernunft: Rueckblicke auf das Werk von Juergen Habermas seit 〈Erkenntnis und Interesse〉, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2000Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Juergen Habermas. The Theory of Communicative Action, Vol. 2, translated by Thomas McCarthy, Policy Press, 1998Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Juergen Habermas. Knowledge and Human Interests, translated by Jeremy J. Shapiro, Polity Press, 1987Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Juergen Habermas. Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action, translated by Christian Lenhardt and Shierry Weber Nicholsen, Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1990Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Juergen Habermas. Faktizitaet und Geltung: Beitraege zur Diskurstheorie des Rechts und des demokratischen Rechtsstaats, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1997Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Juergen Habermas. Toward a Rational Society: Student Protest, Science, and Politics, translated by Jeremy J. Shapiro, Boston: Beacon Press, 1970Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Juergen Habermas. Werte und Normen: Ein Kommentar zu Hilary Putnams kantischem Pragmatismus, Deutsche Zeitschrift fuer Philosophie, Berlin 48 (2000), 4Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Juergen Habermas. Between Facts and Norms, translated by William Rehg, Cambridge Mass: The MIT Press, 1996Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Alan Ryan. John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism, New York/London: W · W · Norton & Company, 1995Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Juergen Habermas. New Conservative Cultural Criticism in the United States and West Germany in Juergen Habermas, The New Conservatism: Cultural Criticism and the Historians’ Debate, (ambidge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1989)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Juergen Habermas. Question and Counter Questions, in Richard J. Bernstein (ed.), Habermas and Modernity, Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1985Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Richard Rorty. Truth without Correspondence to reality, in: Rorty, Philosophy and Social Hope, Penguin Books, 1999Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Juergen Habermas. Reflections on Pragmatism, in Mitchell Aboulafia (ed.), Habermas and Pragmatism, Myra Bookman and Catherine Kemp, London and New York: Routledge, 2002Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hilary Putnam. Renewing Philosophy, Cambridge, Mass/London, England: Harvard University Press, 1998Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Juergen Habermas. Transcendence from Within, Transcendence in This World, in His Religion and Rationality: Essays on Reason, God, and Modernity, edited and with an Introduction by Eduardo Mendieta, Polity Press, 2002Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Zheng Jiadong. “Transcendence” and “Immanent Transcendence”: between Mo Zongsan and Kant (in Chinese), Zhongguo Shehui Kexue (China Social Sciences), Vol. 4, 2001Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations