Many in the Frankfurt School, notably Adorno and Horkheimer, regarded rationality with criticism as, in their view, led to dehumanization and enslavement. But what did they offer as an alternative principle or ethos in guiding personal or social heuristics? I assume not religion/god, as they were mostly Marxist.
The book The Idea of Critical Theory, is old and a primer. But it totally blew me away, despite the skeptical and heavy underlining of its previous owner. It works mostly with early critical theory, and the answer is mundane, simplified, but
- ideological critique
For me, I think this centres on
- Justifying the idea that ideology can be critiqued
- Asking if we are happier
Adorno and Horkheimer proposed a problem with no alternative, in the first generation of the Frankfurt School.
Then later, in the second generation, Habermas offered something new.
- Rationality, that led to dehumanization, is the domination of monological-instrumental rationality, and has an interest in controlling -- technically.
- This domination reduces dialogic-practical and emancipated rationality, which has an interest to mutual understanding and emancipation.
So, as an alternative, he prposes that: practical and emancipation rationality.
Please see the book Knowledge and Human Interest, by Jurgen Habermas.