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Apr 15, 2024

Exir, Toby and Jackson join for a discussion on the (in)famous Frankfurt School. They discuss the history of the Institute for Social Research from its founding as a think tank for the study of the workers’ movement, through the turn to critical theory and empirical social research in the 1930s, its flight to America in the wake of the Nazis’ rise to power, and its return to Germany after the Second World War. Focusing in on Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, and Herbert Marcuse, they use the trajectory of these thinkers and the Institute to consider questions of how intellectuals should relate to political movements, the relationship between theory and empirical research, and the possibility and desirability of intellectual independence. They also discuss some of the key ideas of the Frankfurt School, including the critique of instrumental reason, the concept of the totally administered society, and Marcuse’s development of psychoanalytic ideas.