What is Philosophy Criticism?
What is Philosophy Criticism? What are its strengths and weaknesses? I'll take a look at Anglo-American philosophy, Russerl's philosophy of criticism, and Horkheimer's critical stance. After that, I'll go over the problems with critical stances. Hopefully, by the time you're done reading this, you'll have a better understanding of what is Philosophy Criticism.
In many ways, Anglo-American philosophy is an inferior form of European philosophy. Anglophone philosophy is more rooted in the tradition of European thought and is far less rooted in the historical and geographical context of the U.S. The underlying cultural differences and the legacy of colonialism are more than evident in the philosophical practices of English-speaking countries. For example, there are many differences in the orientation and topics of Anglo-American philosophy, and these are often reflected in the methods and terminology of such thinking.
Anglo-American philosophy was a major influence on twentieth-century philosophy, including American pragmatism, social psychology, and ethics. American philosophers were largely influenced by Protestantism, and their work reflects this. Many philosophies, including Anglo-American philosophy, have a strong neoliberal tradition. In terms of pragmatism, American philosophers have been compared to Derrida.
Ayer's book was a manifesto for the modernist movement. Although it wasn't a great book, it captured the spirit of the time. He also used the Verification Principle of Meaning, a set of revisions to the traditional principle of meaning. This principle posited that meaningful sentences should be empirically verifiable, whereas metaphysical statements were not observable. Consequently, they were dismissed as meaningless combinations of words.
The first half of the twentieth century saw a decline in interest in normative ethics, as a result of which it was relegated to the margins of English-language philosophy. Utilitarianism remained the only non-skeptical kind of ethics until mid-century, when analytic philosophers regained interest. G.E.M. Anscombe's 1958 "Modern Moral Philosophy" sparked a revival in Aristotle's virtue ethics, while John Rawls's 1971 A Theory of Justice restored interest in Kantian ethics. By contrast, contemporary normative ethics is dominated by consequentialism and deontology.
Horkheimer's philosophy of criticism
Philosopher Max Horkheimer outlines four elements of his philosophy of criticism. They are suffering, happiness, compassion, and rationality. He rejects metaphysical views and proposes a method involving the rationalization of society. The focus on the social sciences and their over-specialization is also a hallmark of Horkheimer's philosophy. Ultimately, his aim is to make the social sciences more useful to all people.
His critical theory was first published in the Zeitschrift fur Sozialforschung (ZZS) in 1933, when he was still a student of Friedrich Nietzsche. In his early writings, he coined the term "materialism" to describe his philosophical position. Marx was not mentioned as often as he would have liked, but his philosophy of criticism traces its roots in Marx's ideas.
In his 1933 work, Horkheimer argues that Marx's ideas about social life have a radically different meaning from the way they describe them. As a result, he claims that the "rational" is a social construct. Horkheimer is largely responsible for developing the Frankfurt School's critical theory. He also influenced other key figures such as Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, and Jurgen Habermas. His philosophy of criticism has influenced practitioners of critical theory for decades.
The practical approach to Critical Theory is a response to pluralism in the social sciences and aims to reconcile the two approaches. It affirms the need for general theories, while weakening epistemic claims about the generality of those theories. In this approach, the critical inquirer is placed in the context of pragmatic communication. As such, the critic is the one who makes the most important claim to truth and rightness of analysis.
Russerl's philosophy of criticism
Russerl's philosophy of critique is based on the idea that non-specialists can distinguish between genuine experts and dishonest charlatans by suspending judgment in cases of doubt. As a result, a critical person can evaluate an object from an objective perspective, without taking sides or getting caught in a false dichotomy. A similar notion is underlying Logicomix, an epic quest for truth by Apostolos Doxiadis.
Among Russell's criticisms of critical thinking are the tendency to lose one's personal voice and objectify everything. He also disparages the tendency to use the term "truth" in a grand sense. For example, he says that many people persecute each other because they believe they know the "Truth." Ultimately, passionate belief is dangerous, and Russell believes that it should be tempered by critical analysis.
However, it is important to emphasize that mere possession of critical skills is not enough to become a critical thinker. Instead, a person must be capable of exercising these skills in an intelligent manner. Russell refers to these habits as dispositions. Habit and practice are important terms to note. Education can be viewed as the formation of certain mental habits and outlooks. The problem is that a critical mindset can be acquired, but they need to be actively exercised.
A critical account of criticism should always begin with an observation of what is to be critiqued. Russell's focus on judgment suggests that critical skills cannot be reduced to a formula. It involves weighing the evidence and estimating approximate truth. Furthermore, critical thinking requires a certain level of self-criticism. If a criticism fails, Russell will point out that the criticism was insufficient. Russell also observes that refutations are rarely definitive, but rather a prelude to further refinement of the critic's methods.
Problems with critical stance
Philosophers have long debated the role of the critical stance in philosophy. A common problem is the lack of justification for its superiority to other modes of inquiry. Horkheimer, for instance, claims that philosophy underwrites an empatic conception of truth, justice, and morality. He also claims that philosophy is given the task of organizing social research and providing practical aims. Such a task requires an immanently derived source of confidence that cannot be justified by any empirical approach.