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Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  4,546 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
Dialectic of Enlightenment is undoubtedly the most influential publication of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Written during the Second World War and circulated privately, it appeared in a printed edition in Amsterdam in 1947. "What we had set out to do," the authors write in the Preface, "was nothing less than to explain why humanity, instead of entering a truly ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Stanford University Press (first published 1944)
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Jan 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In a world... where the geist is pure evil... and the Fasshou System lurks right around the corner... two unlikely German Jew friends dare... to frighten enlightenment/mythology back into its box.

This summer....



Feb 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theory, set-aside
The enlightenment wasn't all that. You think science replaced magic and religion? Not so fast. Isn't science, at a certain point, based on faith just as much as religion? Horkdorno (Horkheimer and Adorno) views the achievements of the enlightenment with a gimlet eye, refusing to accept that a forward movement in history equates to positive progress. You can just as easily move forward while descending. If you believe in progress, concomitantly, you must believe in decline. Many of the things th ...more
Karl Steel
Mar 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People able to endure an annoying prophetic, circular kind of prose
Shelves: theory
Three things I love here, above all else: a) the collaboration, and the refusal to disentangle themselves from it when others demanded that Horkorno coalesce into two identities: of course reminds me of Deleuze and Guattari, but, for a medievalist, also Marty Shichtman and Laurie Finke; b) the refusal to update the text to reflect the current moment: in this insistence on preserving the text as an intervention into a particular historical moment, Adorneimer refuse to pretend to speak from a posi ...more
Sheyda Heydari Shovir
کتاب دیالکتیک روشنگری نوشتهٔ آدورنو و هورکهایمره. این کتاب رو دونفری نوشتهند و توش گفتهند که روشنگری شکست خورده و به اون چیزی تبدیل شده که از آغاز به مبارزه باهاش برخاست. موضوعات اصلی کتاب دلایل شکست روشنگری و تاثیراتش بر روی فرهنگ و جامعه، اسطوره و اسطوره شدن علم و خود روشنگری و جالبتر از همه صنعت فرهنگه. تو فصل صنعت فرهنگ میاد میگه فرهنگ هم مثل بقیه صنایع سرمایهداری و عصر مدرنیته یک سری چیز شبیه هم تحویل میده که کاملا خالی از معنا شدهند و همگی موید نظام موجودند و هرچقدر هم رادیکال باشند باز هم ...more
Apr 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Completely overrated. I'm shocked this book has had the influence it's had. It is bombastic and tendentious, a completely one-sided (abstract) view of the Englightenment and its implications -- with consequences that Adorno himself recoiled from (in 1968). And all his 'philosophical' 'reflections' on 'nature' and 'myth' are nothing but Central European rubbish -- without meaning or sense ('nonsense', as Wittgenstein would say). Very disappointing.
Nov 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
Proof that nothing gets pseudo-intellectuals salivating more quickly than non-sensical rants.
This, I feel, is a statement superlative to the Minima Moralia in the Adorno catalog. The classist overtones that damage so much of that book are less ingrained here, and we get what I feel to be a much more open philosophy. Whenever I read these old Frankfurt School dudes, there's this weird sense of tragedy, as if they were the last line of defense against the brutal forces of late capitalist alienation. And I've never felt that stronger than in here. That said, this is also the Frankfurt Scho ...more
Jan 30, 2010 rated it did not like it
The most poorly written, ego-maniacal, self-important, masturbatory piece of shit that I have ever read. Horkheimer and Adorno? If you were alive, I would punch you both in the testicles.
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Enlightenment sought to bring mankind out of the shadows of orthodox tradition and religion and into the light of reason. A step toward human freedom, right? Perhaps, no doubt in some ways. But relying on reason skewed basic civility based in tradition and replaced human and humane interaction with calculated management. It could lead to places that the Encyclopedists could never have imagined. It could lead to concentration camps.

So what's a person to do. Adorno is not known for optimistic
Mar 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This translation, by John Cumming, is tough sledding - the textual equivalent of chopping onions, reducing the pungent-yet-aesthetically-Kremlinesque whole bulb into little blocky niblets that scatter and stick to the cutting board whilst still making your eyes water. Edmund Jephcott did such a lovely job with Walter Benjamin's Reflections and Adorno's Minima Moralia that I have little doubt his more recent rendering of DOE into English would be well worth spending the extra bucks.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just like how Kant endeavours to set a limit to our reason, in Dialectic of Enlightenment (DE), Horkheimer and Adorno (H&A) wish to lay down an ethical critique of enlightenment. This book is often referred to as the progenitor of the Frankfurt School and is nontrivially considered as the gatekeeper to the philosophy of critical theory. As with other works in continental philosophy, DE is punctuated with jargons and difficult metaphors (esp. pertaining to Greek mythology which Adorno pretty ...more
Feb 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
I'm sympathetic to the themes, but this book was the high water mark of continental philosophy for me. If the Enlightenment, rationality, and language have codified and standardized experienced and reduced human capacity for magic in modernity, then okay. That point is able to be made and contains some truth. But distrusting language does not mean one needs to write like an obscurantist poet, nor quote Homer instead of explaining one's ideas in clear prose.

I resented this book for pushing me tow
Luke Echo
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fuck that was tough.
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I think this is a very important and underrated book in the contemporary hightech world. On a more vivid way than Adorno and Horkheimer usually write, they explain how the "Enlightenment" can turn against humans in an oppressive manner. Especially the part about the culture industry is still very useful to think about our relationship with art. The book presents mainly questions about how reductionistic science divides every part of the world into a compulsive structure. This work should be read ...more
Yaser Maadat
"لا شك لدينا أنه لا يمكن فصل حرية المجتمع عن الفكر التنويري،الا اننا نعتقد أن مفهوم هذا الفكر بالتحديد قد شكل أساس التأخر الحاصل،كما عبر عن الأشكال التاريخية العينية وعن مؤسسات المجتمع"
ينطلق هوركهايمر وزميله ادورنو في نقدهما لخطاب التنوير من واقع مآل الحداثة وارتباطها الوثيق بحسب الرجلين بمفاهيم وقيم التنوير،والتي يريان أنها أفضت الى ظهور الفاشية التي شردتهما و غيرهما ودمرت جزءا هاما من وعي الانسان بذاته وقيمه التي تشوهت،لعل خط مدرسة فرانكفورت المعادي للتنوير "كصيرورة" يحاول هنا تفكيك خطاب التنو
Danielle Aleixo
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very dense reading. A must read if you are interested in the Frankfurt School. The central argument is that reason (science, tecnique) is an instrument of domination. The book severely criticizes Kant. The authors bring a very pessimistic view of humankind, probably influenced by the atrocities of the Second World War period. It should be interesting to read Habermas after Adorno in order to contextualize some ideas and to follow the developments of the Frankfurt thinking.
Mohammed Hamad
الرجوع للنسخة الإنجليزية كان ضروريا بالنسبة لي في بعض الفقرات بسبب عدم وضوح ترجمتها، الكتاب جميل في أسلوبه وطابع اليأس مفهوم من ظروف كتابته الحاصلة لمفكري مدرسة فرانكفورت وقت صعود النازية والفاشية وأعتقد أنه لحظة فارقة لموت تفاؤل الدياليكتك واليسار ونهاية التفكير المبشر بالتقدم والتنوير قبل ظهور مابعد الحداثة.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ein großer Hund steht am Highway. Die Menschen distanzieren denkend sich von Natur, um sie so vor sich hinzustellen, wie sie zu beherrschen ist. Die Anrufung der Sonne ist Götzendienst. Indem sich dem Mädchen die Aussicht auf den Job eröffnet, versperrt sich ihr die Liebe. Ich bin soweit, sagt Juliette zum Papst, wie Tiberius zu wünschen: oh hätte die Menscheit nur EINEN Kopf (welche Lust, ihn abzuschlagen). Alle mystische Vereinigung bleibt Trug – Dummheit ist ein Wundmal – ewig stampft die Jaz ...more
Naomi Pattirane
"On the way from mythology to logistics thought has lost the element of self-reflection and today machinery disables men even as it nurtures them... Today the order of life allows no room for the ego to draw spiritual or intellectual conclusions. The thought which leads to knowledge is neutralized and used as a mere qualification on specific labor markets and to heighten to commodity value of the personality"

The Dialectic of Enlightenment was published in 1944 and despite the clunky long winded
Jackson Lipovich
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
It is a shame to say that this work was, on the whole, inaccessible to me. I was able to follow the thread of thought only on the most superficial levels, and even then, I would not venture to reiterate exactly what I learned in fear of possible misinterpretation. Perhaps it was necessary for the language to reflect the utterly murky nature of the content, with its constant twists and turns and churning and negation and double-negation, and in this, the work receives top marks.

I recognize the i
Rene Stein
Sep 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jedna z nejlepších knih o paradoxech osvícenství.
Tzv. (post)levicové myšlení má mj. základ v Adornových úvahách, a když vás neuspokojují Havlovy knížecí ekoagitky, záměrně synkretické a nevyhraněné socialisticko-liberální moralitky zhrzených členů Strany zelených, banální nebo vulgární levicoví komentátoři a různé mišuge existence v Britských listech, sáhněte přímo po nebanálním zdroji všech jejich prosťáckých úvah.

I když levici nemáte rádi, stále platí, že je dobré znát své nepřátele, anebo ale
May 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing

Critical Theory really was always in danger of giving birth to postmodernism, thanks to its critical and close reading of -and thus being influenced by- Heidegger and Freud. No, Foucault wasn't just wishing (dreaming) when he drew parallels between himself and the Frankfurt School. But this affinity to the likes of Heidegger and Freud came at a price; the pessimism of these two thinkers became inextricably entwined within critical theory itself. Critical Theory is the greatest, but not
Desy Budi Utami
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Welcome to the pessimist world!!! If you like pop culture or even a so-called hard working type of person I warned you to read this carefully! LOL
This book will guide you to the real "enlightenment". Written by dynamic-critical duo Max Horkheimer and Theodore Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment aimed to peal out the capitalistic coats in your mind. I read mostly the first chapter and the culture industry.

Divided into two term, the first chapter tells you about the essence of enlightenment. To b
Chelsea Szendi
May 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theory
Don't fight it: let the dialectic carry you along, since you have no chance at pinning it down as a power point. And thank goodness.

Television, the Gesamtkunstwerk: "aims at a synthesis of radio and film, delayed only for as long as the interested parties cannot agree. Such a synthesis, with its unlimited possibilities, promises to intensify the impoverishment of the aesthetic material so radically that the identity of all industrial cultural products, still scantily disguised today, will triump
Dec 12, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Pam
Shelves: philosophy
I think my favorite part of this essay is where the authors critique Homer's "Odyssey" by arguing that it is the very first historical appearance of the bourgeoisie. Odysseus is the bourgeois man and the men on his ship who stuff the wax in his ears to protect him from the song of the sirens are the proletariat. In they end, they are sacrificed for the salvation of the cunning hero. Silly, but very creative.
Raymond Thomas
Adorno and Horkheimer offer a really interesting look at culture and enlightenment. Most interestingly they talk a lot about how cultural production today is mainly aimed at continuing society's mass self-deception from the conditions of our daily lives and does so by looking at various popular media examples from Disney to Warner Brothers and others.
Theresa Macphail
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theory, philosophy
Worth the slog. There were transcendental moments of understanding in this text and Horkheimer and Adorno sometimes feel as though they might as well as have been writing in 2012, not 1938. I would suggest reading everything - not just the chapter that concerns the Culture Industry. I found that I understood the arguments within that chapter much better after closely reading the others.
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the readings of sade and nietzsche are pretty simplistic/bad (especially sade) but the rest is so good. genuinely did not expect to be so convinced by the culture industry part b/c the phrase "culture industry" is usually used by dummies who think xmen is political
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
كل فرهنگ مابعد اشويتس، از جمله نقد فوري و فوتي ان، چيزي نيست مگر اشغال......... هر كه از حفظ اين فرهنگ
عميقا تقصيركار و نخ نما دفاع مي كند، كارگزار و همدست ان مي شود، و انكه به ان فرهنگ پشت مي كند، مستقيما
در جهت پيشبرد همان توحشي عمل مي كند كه فرهنگ ما چهره ي واقعي خود را در هيئت ان برملا ساخت
Dec 07, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: college students
See, this is why you have to go to college, because otherwise you wouldn't ever get around to reading books like this, you'd just be sitting around for four years eating Ding Dongs and reading Us magazine, helplessly held captive in the clutches of THE CULTURE INDUSTRY!
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Goodreads Librari...: New edition created as individual book 5 162 Sep 17, 2013 05:31PM  
The Culture Industry. 1 33 Feb 02, 2010 08:01PM  
ترجمه مهرگان ؟!!!؟؟ 1 18 Nov 20, 2008 07:15AM  
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Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno was one of the most important philosophers and social critics in Germany after World War II. Although less well known among anglophone philosophers than his contemporary Hans-Georg Gadamer, Adorno had even greater influence on scholars and intellectuals in postwar Germany. In the 1960s he was the most prominent challenger to both Sir Karl Popper's philosophy of science a ...more
More about Theodor W. Adorno...
“As naturally as the ruled always took the morality imposed upon them more seriously than did the rulers themselves, the deceived masses are today captivated by the myth of success even more than the successful are. Immovably, they insist on the very ideology which enslaves them. The misplaced love of the common people for the wrong which is done to them is a greater force than the cunning of the authorities.” 21 likes
“Pleasure always means not to think about anything, to forget suffering even where it is shown. Basically it is helplessness. It is flight; not, as is asserted, flight from a wretched reality, but from the last remaining thought of resistance.” 16 likes
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