Max Horkheimer

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Horkheimer, Max

(hôrk`hī'mər, hôr`kī'–), 1895–1973, German philosopher and sociologist. As director (1930–58) of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, he played an important role in the development of critical theory and Western Marxism. In Eclipse of Reason (1947) and Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947, written with Theodor AdornoAdorno, Theodor Wiesengrund
, 1903–69, German philosopher, born as Theodor Adorno Wiesengrund. Forced into exile by the Nazis (1933), he spent 16 years in England and the United States before returning to Germany to take up a chair in philosophy at Frankfurt.
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), he developed a critique of scientific positivism, whose "instrumental rationality" had become a form of domination in both capitalist and socialist countries. Against an older, deterministic Marxism, he argued that culture and consciousness are partly independent of economics, and his ideas about liberation and consumer society continue to influence contemporary empirical sociologists.

Horkheimer, Max


Born Feb. 14, 1895, at Stuttgart; died July 7, 1973, in Nuremberg. German philosopher and sociologist (Federal Republic of German).

Horkheimer was one of the founders of the Frankfurt school. He was a professor at the University of Frankfurt am Main from 1930 to 1933 and from 1949 to 1963; he also served as rector of the university from 1951 to 1953 and as director of the Institute of Social Research from 1931 to 1965. He emigrated in 1934; and until 1949 he lived in the USA, where he was a professor at Columbia University. He was editor of the journal Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung (1932—41) and of Studies in Prejudice (vols. 1–5, 1949–50), a series of research works on national and racial prejudice. The Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), which Horkheimer wrote jointly with T. Adorno, set forth the philosophical and sociological program of the Frankfurt school.

Horkheimer was the author of what came to be known as the critical theory of society; this was an attempt to combine certain themes drawn from K. Marx’ critique of bourgeois society, Hegelian dialectics, S. Freud’s psychoanalysis, and A. Schopenhauer’s ethics. Horkheimer was mainly concerned with questions of historical anthropology, and particularly with the study of personality; he viewed the personality as a system of established reactions—a system that in his judgment plays a decisive role in maintaining certain outdated forms of social organization (Studien über Autorität und Familie, Paris, 1936, pp. 3–77). In his analysis of the family, Horkheimer treated the latter as the primary transmitter of social authority and at the same time as a source of possible opposition to such authority.

Horkheimer was a critic of mass culture. Pointing out the numerous marks of stagnation and regression in contemporary industrial society, he related them to the trend toward total control and the extinction of free initiative. His awareness of the inevitability of this trend led him to pessimistic conclusions: the goal of social theory and practice, according to Horkheimer, could only be to prevent totalitarianism and help preserve certain aspects of the liberal bourgeois culture.

Horkheimer posited a critical sociology motivated by the theologically rooted inner “striving to go beyond what is”; his basic assumption was that the ideal cannot be rendered by any sort of positive formulation. While he strongly influenced the ideology of the left-radical student movement in the Federal Republic of Germany, Horkheimer disassociated himself from that movement.


The Eclipse of Reason. New York, 1947.
Sociologica, vol. 2. Frankfurt am Main, 1962. (With T. Adorno.)
Kritische Theorie, vols. 1–2. Frankfurt am Main, 1968.


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References in periodicals archive ?
A continuacion, presento como el antisemitismo constituye una clave para el analisis de esa relacion, que Adorno y Horkheimer, en la Dialectica de la Ilustracion, virtuosamente pusieron al descubierto.
Due to the lack of space to discuss these issues, I turn to Adorno and Horkheimer (5), who claim that, operationally, in the text (and not outside it) lie the profound sense of reality, consensus, social and historical contradictions and paths toward transformation: "He who does not compare human things with what they want to mean, see them not only superficially, but definitely falsely", authors say, referring to shallow analyzes or "duplications" of what has been empirically collected.
A longtime editor and writer at The Guardian, Jeffries moves swiftly across the decades, retracing the jagged paths from the official founding of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt in June 1924, through its years in exile in New York in the '30s and Los Angeles in the '40s and its hasty return to Frankfurt in the early postwar years, up to the work of Horkheimer and Adorno's prized protege Jurgen Habermas and the Institute's legacy today.
Nesse sentido, o Iluminismo ou o Esclarecimen to,tal como traduzido em Dialetica do Esclarecimento (ADORNO; HORKHEIMER, 1985) deve ser entendido como "tendencia intelectual, nao limitada a qualquer epoca especifica, que combate o mito e o poder a par tirda razao".
A la luz de los argumentos sobre el sentido de la ciencia en Weber, y de los rastreos de la evolucion social y de la razon efectuados por Marcuse, Horkheimer y Habermas, veremos a que fenomenos particulares responde esta situacion y como ella misma contribuye a elaborar discursos en torno a lo social bajo parametros sociologicos de una parte y teorico sociales de otro.
In "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception", Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer (2002) discuss the existence of the Culture Industry, the subordination of the arts to "the most powerful sectors of industry.
En este ensayo, que forma parte del libro escrito junto con Max Horkheimer Dialectica de la Ilustracion, el cine es entendido como parte sustantiva del sistema que conforma la industria cultural.
El antisemitismo fascista, en nombre de una economia de mercancias, reduce al judaismo a un simple bien cultural o, como bien lo dicen Horkheimer y Adorno, a un Ticket permutable al cual le es teleologicamente connatural el odio por la diferencia.
Along this trajectory, a note in Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno's 1944 The Dialectic of Enlightenment provides a first attempt to establish the ghost as a distinct object of theory.
Stefan Gandler, filosofo aleman afincado en Mexico (10), decide confrontarse, pues, con las lecturas mas o menos hegemonicas de la Teoria Critica contemporanea (Habermas, Dubiel y Honneth) recurriendo con este fin a las detalladas reflexiones deAdornoy Horkheimer sobre el antisemitismo ("Teoria Critica ?
Resumen: En este trabajo se expone el debate entre Neurath y Horkheimer como ejemplo de recuperacion de los aspectos politicos del Circulo de Viena, olvidados en la vision tradicional, que ayudaran a tener una mejor comprension de las diversas posiciones de los miembros del Circulo.