Critical Theory and the Sociology of Knowledge: A by Leon Bailey

By Leon Bailey

The distinction among the serious idea of the Frankfurt university and Karl Mannheim's sociology of data has frequently been famous, yet by no means totally explicated. so much debts of the Frankfurt School's critique of Mannheim have taken the shape of partisan affirmations or denials of its good fortune. This research offers the 1st certain comparability of those conflicting ways to the idea of ideology. Following reconstructions of the origins of the 2 views and a evaluation of the Frankfurt School's critique of Mannheim, a scientific comparability is built round the 4 imperative problems with totality, attention and social lifestyles, ideology, and fact. An research of the importance of the distinction for present debates in social conception is available in end.

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The influence of such diverse schools as Neo-Kantianism, phenomenology, Lebensphilosophie, historicism and Marxism are evident in his writings from 1917 to 1933. The work of individual fig­ ures such as Emil Lask, Edmund Husserl, Georg Simmel, Max Weber, Georg Lukacs, Wilhelm Dilthey, Ernst Troeltsch, Max Dvorak and Alois Riegl exerted important formative influences on the devel­ opment of his thought. Mannheim's commitment to methodological pluralism, however, never had anything to do with a simple-minded Karl Mannheim's Sociology o f Knowledge 45 eclecticism.

Horkheimer identified "traditional theory" in its broadest sense with the ideal of theory as a universal deductive system 48 24 Critical Theory and the Sociology of Knowledge Tracing its origins back to Descartes' Discourse on Melnoa, he examined the wide dissemination of this ideal among otherwise op­ posing schools of thought. Horkheimer acknowledged that concep­ tions of the specific nature of the deductive system and the deriva­ tion of its most general propositions varied depending upon the overall philosophical outlook of the theorist.

17 For these reasons, Mannheim tended to be very critical of posi­ tivism. In line with his commitment to methodological pluralism, he did attempt to assign a relatively limited degree of validity to posi­ tivism; but he sharply rejected positivist suggestions that the sphere of meaning could be reduced to empirical psychic acts. 18 Just before beginning his studies at the University of Budapest, Mannheim made the acquaintance of Georg Lukacs. At that time, Lukdcs had not yet made his conversion to Marxism, but he had al­ ready established a substantial reputation as the author of several important works in philosophy, aesthetics and literary criticism.

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