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Georgetown University


Detailed Course Information


Fall 2017
Nov 19, 2017
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PHIL 595 - The Frankfurt School
Course Goals & Description 

This course provides an introduction to the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, focusing primarily on the social philosophy articulated by the School’s first generation (Horkheimer, Adorno, and Marcuse). We will proceed in a roughly chronological fashion, beginning with a look at Horkheimer’s early, interdisciplinary conception of critical theory before considering its development and modification in Dialectic of Enlightenment. We’ll then move on to consider Adorno’s negative dialectics as articulated in Minima Moralia and his musical writings, as well as Marcuse’s utopian adaptation of Freud in Eros and Civilization. Finally, the course will conclude with a brief look at Habermas’s early reconception of critical theory in Knowledge and Human Interests. 

Course requirements include a 15-20 page term paper and participation in classroom discussion. While familiarity with the Frankfurt School’s intellectual antecedents (especially Marx, Freud, and Weber) and competency with German will certainly be helpful, neither is a prerequisite for the course. 
Texts & Readings 
Primary Sources: 

-- Adorno, Theodor. Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life. Verso. ISBN 1844670511. 

-- Benjamin, Walter. Illuminations. Schocken Books. ISBN 0805202412. 

-- Habermas, Jürgen. Knowledge and Human Interests. Beacon Press. ISBN 0807015415. 

-- Horkheimer, Max. Critical Theory: Selected Essays. Continuum. ISBN 0826400833. 

-- Horkheimer, Max and Adorno, Theodor W. Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804736332. 

-- Marcuse, Herbert. Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud. Beacon Press. ISBN 0807015547.0 

-- Marcuse, Herbert. Negations: Essays in Critical Theory. Beacon Press. ISBN 0807015539. 

Secondary Sources (recommended, texts with asterisks will be available at the bookstore): 

-- Held, David. Introduction to Critical Theory: Horkheimer to Habermas. University of California Press. ISBN 0520041755.* 

-- Jay, Martin. The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1923-1950. University of California Press.* 

-- Rush, Fred, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Critical Theory. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521816602.* 

-- Wiggershaus, Rolf. The Frankfurt School: Its History, Theories, and Political Significance. The MIT Press. ISBN 0262731134. 

3.000 Credit hours
3.000 Lecture hours

Levels: MN or MC Graduate
Schedule Types: Lecture

Philosophy Department

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