Max Horkheimer

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HORKHEIMER, MAX

HORKHEIMER, MAX (1895–1973), German sociologist. Born in Stuttgart, Horkheimer studied philosophy as well as sociology at German universities; he became professor of social philosophy at the University of Frankfurt in 1930 and director of the Institut fuer Sozialforschung in 1931. In 1933 Horkheimer emigrated to Paris and in 1934 to the U.S. where he continued the Institut fuer Sozialforschung in connection with Columbia University in New York. In 1941 Horkheimer settled in Los Angeles where he wrote Dialektik der Aufklaerung (together with Theodor Adorno); upon his return to New York he served as chief research consultant to the American Jewish Committee from 1945 to 1947, and in 1949–50 he edited, with Samuel Flowerman, a series of social-psychological treatises, Studies in Prejudice, which exerted considerable influence on the social sciences in the U.S. Horkheimer returned to Germany in 1948. He reestablished the Institut fuer Sozialforschung there and made it the center of the social sciences in Germany after the demise of the Nazi regime. He was a leading member of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Soziologie, of the unesco Conference on Social Tensions, and of many German and American scientific associations. After 1954 Horkheimer also taught at the University of Chicago. Horkheimer's thinking combines a critical appraisal of the philosophy of the enlightenment with the positivistic methodology of the social sciences; his analysis of social-psychological trends has dialectic foundations. Under his influence a distinct school of sociological thought has emerged, centered around the Institut fuer Sozialforschung and the "Frankfurter Beitraege zur Soziologie" (see *Adorno, Theodor). Among Horkheimer's major works are Kants Kritik der Urteilskraft als Bindeglied zwischen theoretischer und praktischer Philosophie (1925), Anfaenge der buergerlichen Geschichtsphilosophie (1930), Eclipse of Reason (1947), Survey of the Social Sciences in Western Germany (1952), and Akademisches Studium. Begriff der Bildung. Fragen des Hochschulunterrichts (1953).

[Werner J. Cahnman]

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Max Horkheimer (hôrk´hī´mər, hôr´kī´–), 1895–1973, German philosopher and sociologist. As director (1930–58) of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, he played an important role in the development of critical theory and Western Marxism. In Eclipse of Reason (1947) and Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947, written with Theodor Adorno), he developed a critique of scientific positivism, whose "instrumental rationality" had become a form of domination in both capitalist and socialist countries. Against an older, deterministic Marxism, he argued that culture and consciousness are partly independent of economics, and his ideas about liberation and consumer society continue to influence contemporary empirical sociologists.

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Horkheimer, Max (1895–1973) A leading member of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, he is best known in sociology for his critique of the dominant rationality of late capitalism. His most important books are The Eclipse of Reason (1947) and Critique of Instrumental Reason (1967).