Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments

Dublin Core


Perhaps the most canonical work of Marxist critical theory in the twentieth century, Horkheimer and Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment investigates how the project of the Enlightenment transforms into a logic of domination and instrumentalization in the context of capitalist modernity. The book includes well-known interpretations of Homer's Odyssey, the prose of the Marquis de Sade, the "culture industry" of Hollywood, and the phenomenon of anti-semitism. It analyzes the way in which the valorization of reason becomes its own kind of myth and superstition: a blind faith in Man's ability to conquer nature, including human nature. Adorno and Horkheimer's critique of modernity nonetheless recuperates reason, suggesting that it is not reason as such that leads to domination but rather the separation of reason from social needs and the substitution of mathematical abstraction for thoughtful reflection.


Ed. Gunzelin Schmid Noerr. Trans. Edmund Jephcott. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002.








Horkheimer, Max and Theodor W. Adorno, “Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments,” Legacies of the Enlightenment, accessed April 26, 2018, http://enlightenmentlegacies.org/items/show/145.