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Introduction: Critical Theory And The Political

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Chapter Summary

In this introductory chapter, the author enquires the focus of early Critical Theory on the suppression and the dissemination of politics as well as on the recoding of the political, by which he understands the replacement of the friend/foe distinction by a new type of victim/perpetrator distinction. Members of subsequent generations like Jürgen Habermas and Axel Honneth accept the thesis that political identities do not have to be constructed around antagonistic friend/foe discriminations, although they reject the idea of the impossibility of politics. The main difference with regard to political theory between what some have called the second and the third generation of Critical Theory is that Habermas is a staunch anti-realist, whereas Honneth's theory contains elements of a critical realism. Finally, the author concludes with an overview of other chapters of the book.

Keywords: anti-realism; Axel Honneth; Critical Theory; Jürgen Habermas; political theory



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