ECLIPSE OF REASON. By MAX HORKHEIMER. New York, Ox- ford University Press, PP. I This book is a remarkably penetrating study of the status. I’m starting to read Max Horkheimer’s Eclipse of Reason. I have had high hopes for it and have not been disappointed. The distinction. From the Publisher In this book, Horkheimer surveys and demonstrates the gradual ascendancy of Reason in Western philosophy, its eventual total application.
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I have had high hopes for it and have not been disappointed.
Eclipse of Reason
Subjective reason is the kind of reasoning that is used to most efficiently achieve ones goals, whatever they are. Writing even as early asHorkheimer notes that subjective reason has become formalized and reduced to the computation of technical probabilities. He is referring to the formalization of logic in the Anglophone tradition by Russell and Whitehead and its use in early computer science, most likely. See Imre Lakatos and ths as dialectic for more background on this, as well as resonant material on where this is going.
Literary Encyclopedia | Eclipse of Reason
I am not very far through the book and Horkheimer is so far unspecific about what this entails in practice but instead articulates it as an idea that has fallen out of use. He associates it with Platonic forms. With logos —a word that becomes especially charged for me around Christmas and whose religious connotations are certainly intertwined with the idea of objectivity. Horkheimer in believes that subjective reason, and specifically its formalization, have undermined objective reason by exposing its mythological origins.
While we have countless traditions still based in old ideologies that give horkhrimer shared values and norms simply out of habit, they have been exposed as superstition. And so while our ability to achieve our goals has been amplified, our ability to have goals with intellectual integrity has hollowed out.
This is a crisis. One reason this is a crisis hokrheimer because to paraphrase the functions once performed by objectivity or authoritarian religion or metaphysics are now taken on by the reifying apparatus of the market.
This is a Marxist critique that is apropos today.
Eclipse of Reason (Horkheimer)
Unarmed with the tools eclipsr Marxist criticism, they are unable to see the present economic system as precisely that inhuman superintelligence, a monster bricolage of formally reasoning market apparati. For Horkheimer the formalization and automation of reason is part of the problem. Having a computer think for you is very different from actually thinking. The latter is psychologically transformative in ways that the former is not.
It is hard for me to tell whether Horkheimer would prefer things to horkheimrr back the way they were, or if he thinks that we must resign ourselves to a bleak inhuman future, or what. My own view is that a formalization of objective reason would allow us to achieve its conditions faster. However, if the way to achieve objective reason is dialectically, then this requires a mathematical formalization of dialectic.
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