Ben Agger (essay date 1976)
SOURCE: “On Happiness and the Damaged Life,” in On Critical Theory, edited by John O'Neill, The Seabury Press, 1976, pp. 12-33.
[In the following essay, Agger explains Adorno's place in critical theory.]
Critical theory chances to be either a museum-piece in the hands of its modern inheritors or a living medium of political self-expression. My argument is that critical theory can only be renewed—as Marx would have hoped—by refusing to concentrate on its philosophical inheritance and instead by writing the theory in a direct and unmediated way. The old saw that to be a Marxist is to surpass Marx is just as true for critical theory: Adorno, Horkheimer, and...
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