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    max horkheimer Quotes

    Notwithstanding their attacks on the basic conception of rationalism, on synthetic a priori judgments, that is, material propositions that cannot be contradicted by any experience, the empiricist posits the forms of being as constant.
    — Max Horkheimer
    tags: experience 
     
    The inversion of external compulsion into the compulsion of conscience ... produces the machine-like assiduity and pliable allegiance required by the new rationality.
    — Max Horkheimer
    tags: conscience 
     
    The complexity of the connection between the world of perception and the world of physics does not preclude that such a connection can be shown to exist at any time.
    — Max Horkheimer
    Pragmatism ... reflects with almost disarming candor the spirit of the prevailing business culture, the very same attitude of 'being practical' as counter to which philosophical meditation as such was conceived.
    — Max Horkheimer
    The disparagement of empirical evidence in favor of a metaphysical world of illusion has its origin in the conflicy between the emancipated individual of bourgeois society and his fate within that society.
    — Max Horkheimer
    tags: fate  society  world  illusion 
     
    With the abolition of otium and of the ego no aloof thinking is left. ... Without otium philosophical thought is impossible, cannot be conceived or understood.
    — Max Horkheimer
    The quality of the human that precludes identifying the individual with the class is 'metaphysical' and has no place in empiricist epistemology. The pigeon hole into which a man is shoved circumscribes his fate.
    — Max Horkheimer
    tags: fate  men  human  quality 
     
    In the face of the idea that truth might afford the opposite of satisfaction and turn out to be completely shocking to humanity at any given historical moment, ... the fathers of pragmatism made the satisfaction of the subject the criterion of truth. For such a doctrine there is no possibility of rejecting or even criticizing any species of belief that is enjoyed by its adherents.
    — Max Horkheimer
    The world is so possessed by the power of what is and the efforts of adjustment to it, that the adolescent's rebellion, which once fought the father because his practices contradicted his own ideology, can no longer crop up. ... Psychologically, the father is ... replaced by the world of things.
    — Max Horkheimer
    tags: power  world  father 
     
    Reason as an organ for perceiving the true nature of reality and determining the guiding principles of our lives has come to be regarded as obsolete.
    — Max Horkheimer
    tags: nature  reality  live  true 
     
    Pragmatism , in trying to turn experimental physics into a prototype of all science and to model all spheres of intellectual life after the techniques of the laboratory, is the counterpart of modern industrialism, for which the factory is the prototype of human existence, and which models all branches of culture after production on the conveyor belt.
    — Max Horkheimer
    Philosophy is overwhelmingly complicated, its procedure depressingly slow.
    — Max Horkheimer
    tags: philosophy 
     
    When even the dictators of today appeal to reason, they mean that they possess the most tanks. They were rational enough to build them; others should be rational enough to yield to them.
    — Max Horkheimer
    In most cases, to be reasonable means not to be obstinate, which in turn points to conformity with reality as it is. The principle of adjustment is taken for granted. When the idea of reason was conceived, it was intended to achieve more than the mere regulation of the relation between means and ends: it was regarded as the instrument for understanding the ends, for determining them.
    — Max Horkheimer
    The facts which our senses present to us are socially performed in two ways: through the historical character of the object perceived and through the historical character of the perceiving organ. Both are not simply natural; they are shaped by human activity, and yet the individual perceives himself as receptive and passive in the act of perception.
    — Max Horkheimer
    Once the philosophical foundation of democracy has collapsed, the statement that dictatorship is bad is rationally valid only for those who are not its beneficiaries, and there is no theoretical obstacle to the transformation of this statement into its opposite.
    — Max Horkheimer
    The more the concept of reason becomes emasculated, the more easily it lends itself to ideological manipulation and to propagation of even the most blatant lies. ... Subjective reason conforms to anything.
    — Max Horkheimer
    tags: lies 
     
    A revolutionary career does not lead to banquets and honorary titles, interesting research and professorial wages. It leads to misery, disgrace, ingratitude, prison and a voyage into the unknown, illuminated by only an almost superhuman belief.
    — Max Horkheimer
    Whoever is not prepared to talk about capitalism should also remain silent about fascism.
    — Max Horkheimer
    tags: capitalism 
     
    The Revolution won't happen with guns, rather it will happen incrementally, year by year, generation by generation. We will gradually infiltrate their educational institutions and their political offices, transforming them slowly into Marxist entities as we move towards universal egalitarianism.
    — Max Horkheimer
    Plato and his objectivistic successors ... preserved the awareness of differences that pragmatism has been invented to deny the difference between thinking in the laboratory and in philosophy, and consequently the difference between the destination of mankind and its present course.
    — Max Horkheimer
    Subjective reason ... is inclined to abandon the fight with religion by setting up two different brackets, one for science and philosophy, and one for institutionalized mythology, thus recognizing both of them. For the philosophy of objective reason there is no such way out. Since it hold to the concept of objective truth, it must take a positive or a negative stand with regard to the content of established religion.
    — Max Horkheimer
    Calvin's theocentric irrationalism eventually revealed itself as the cunning to technocratic reason which had to shape its human material. Misery and the poor laws did not suffice to drive men into the workshops of the early capitalistic era. The new spirit helped to supplement external pressures with a concern for wife and child to which the moral autonomy of the introverted subject in reality was tantamount.
    — Max Horkheimer
    tags: children  men  reality  human  law  child  poor  misery  morals  spirit  wife 
     
    The pathfinders of modern thought did not derive what is good from the law. ... Their role in history was not that of adapting their words and actions to the text of old documents or generally accepted doctrines: they themselves created the documents and brought about the acceptance of their doctrines.
    — Max Horkheimer
    Although the formulations of science now offer the most advanced knowledge of nature, men continue to use obsolete forms of thought long discarded by scientific theory. In so far as these obsolete forms are superfluous for science, the fact that they persist violated the principle of the economy of thought, that characteristic trait of the bourgeois temper.
    — Max Horkheimer
    tags: nature  men  thoughts  facts 
     
    Whoever desires to live among men has to obey their laws this is what the secular morality of Western civilization comes down to. ... Rationality in the form of such obedience swallows up everything, even the freedom to think.
    — Max Horkheimer
    Reason has never really directed social reality, but now reason has been so thoroughly purged of any specific trend or preference that it has finally renounced even the task of passing judgment on man's actions and way of life. Reason has turned them over for ultimate sanction to the conflicting interests to which our world actually seems abandoned.
    — Max Horkheimer
    tags: reality  world  action 
     
    At present, when the prevailing forms of society have become hindrances to the free expression of human powers, it is precisely the abstract branches of science, mathematics and theoretical physics, which ... offer a less distorted form of knowledge than other branches of science which are interwoven with the pattern of daily life, and the practicality of which seemingly testifies to their realistic character.
    — Max Horkheimer
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