|Institution:||University of Pretoria|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/2263/53401|
In the Dialectic of Enlightenment, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer argue that the Enlightenment is fated to always return to the state of myth which it claims to have escaped from. They attempt to show how the instrumental reason which is present within the Enlightenment has come to dominate over all other forms of reason which leads to the closing off of the possibility that the Enlightenment is able to fulfil its promise of freedom, truth and equality for humankind. However, Jürgen Habermas, a philosopher which shares the same tradition of Critical Theory as Adorno and Horkheimer, counters this claim by undermining the intellectual process which the authors of the Dialectic of Enlightenment used to reach their conclusions. Habermas argues that by utilising a totalising critique of reason in their argument, Adorno and Horkheimer undermine the very rational grounds which their argument is based on and become guilty of a performative contradiction. Habermas attributes this fault in the Dialectic of Enlightenment to the fact that Adorno and Horkheimer followed Friedrich Nietzsche?s criticism of reason too closely and eventually overextended it into an aporia. This dissertation will trace Habermas? critique of the Dialectic of Enlightenment by exploring his main arguments. Advisors/Committee Members: Wolff, Ernst (advisor).