Issues in phenomenology and critical theory
The essentially different orientations of phenomenology and critical theory have been so much debated in the history of modern thought that one has reason to wonder if there is any historical evidence for a debate at all. To be sure phenomenology and critical theory have been compared, even formally, in recent history with a view to making them at least similar in orientation, if not identical, in their mutual quests for philosophic truth.1 Equally, or at the same time, critical theorists in particular have attempted to make it emminently clear that there is no relation between phenomenology and critical theory, or if there is, it is a mere appearance.2 Others have argued that if there is a relationship it is a mere pseudo-relationship since those under the influence of phenomenology (later hermeneutics) and those influenced by critical theory (namely Habermas) are really in the same idealistic camp.3 Hence, anyone who enters into this quandry of positions and counter positions is to say the least confused by the rich offering from which to choose. My own reflections on the issue, reflections which were at one time under the influence of phenomenology and now are under the influence of social theory,4 have in some sense attempted to come to terms with these various and conflicting interpretations.
Rasmussen, D. (1978)., Issues in phenomenology and critical theory, in R. Bruzina & B. Wilshire (eds.), Crosscurrents in phenomenology, Den Haag, Nijhoff, pp. 13-29.
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