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The critiques of the enlightenment by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno and their understanding of a new method and philosophy

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2006
Yenisoy, Eylem
The strong part of Horkheimer and Adorno’s philosophy is their critique of the Enlightenment. They argue that the consequent of the Enlightenment has been the destruction of the Enlightenment itself. There are two main reasons in the background of this destruction. First of them is the destruction of individual because of the understanding of reason in the Enlightenment. Individuals cannot define their existence beyond the determined roles of society any more. The second reason is the certain distinction between the human beings and nature. The epistemology of the Enlightenment makes nature an object of knowledge and views the world as a summation of facts. This understanding makes subjects passive in providing the objectivity of knowledge. Accordingly, the subject is alienated from his or her knowledge. Horkheimer and Adorno’s critical thinking provides possibility for the human autonomy. It tries to understand human beings and society in a dialectical process. It considers the relation between parts and the whole as a mutual relation. According to Horkheimer and Adorno, the relation between subject and object is neither an absolute duality nor an absolute unity.