Stefan Breuer, ‘The Long Friendship: Theoretical Differences Between Horkheimer and Adorno.’

Breuer’s seminal essay on the important differences between Horkheimer and Adorno

That critical theory is not a unity has long been known. The differ­ ences between early critical theory and Horkheimer’s and Adorno’s work from Dialectic ofEnlightenment onward have recendy been stressed once again by Jurgen Habermas in his Theory of Communicative Action. Less well known is the fact that alongside this rupture epistemologique there are further, fundamental differences in the approaches of the most important representadves of cridcal theory—differences not only between the so-called inner circle and the other members of the In­ stitute for Social Research but also within the inner circle itself, in particular between Horkheimer and Adorno. This is not to say that such differences were played out consciously, or that they placed their collaboration in question. Dialectic ofEnlightenment is the product of a theoretical alliance that presupposes a far-reaching agreement on cer­ tain fundamental principles. Nonetheless, the discourse between Horkheimer and Adorno goes beyond this agreement. They con­ curred only in certain areas, whereas in others they pursued diver­ gent, sometimes contrary goals


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