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Situating Axel Honneth In The Frankfurt School Tradition

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Chapter Summary

The author begins by providing a thumbnail sketch of some of the central themes in the first generation of the Frankfurt School. He then looks in some detail at how Jürgen Habermas and members of his generation transformed critical social theory, taking it in several new directions. The author then takes up Honneth's approach, arguing that it involves a retrieval of some original Frankfurt School themes, but against the irreversible background of the Habermasian landscape and in a political and intellectual climate that gives his approach its specifically third-generational character. In addition, talk of distinct 'generations' within the Frankfurt School is misleading insofar as Habermas and Honneth are still both actively pursuing their research programmes. Members of the second and third generations continue to respond to each other's innovations, as well as to the ongoing reappropriation of first-generation thinkers.

Keywords: Axel Honneth; Frankfurt School; Jürgen Habermas; second generation; third generation

10.1163/ej.9789004208858.i-439.13
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