Chapter

The Always Unfinished Project of Modernity: The Fragile Life of Symbols

Drucilla Cornell and Kenneth Michael Panfilio

in Symbolic Forms for a New Humanity

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780823232505
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235643 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823232505.003.0004

Series: Just Ideas

The Always Unfinished Project of Modernity: The Fragile Life of Symbols

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This chapter examines philosophers' view on the issue concerning symbolic forms and the unfinished project of modernity. Herbert Marcuse has developed a critique that takes note of the ways in which life in the advanced industrial world has been symbolically flattened into a one-dimensional logic that keeps a totalitarian system of administration in place such that the spheres of economy, politics, and society fuel a larger system of warfare. Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer proffered a careful analysis of how enlightenment has been bled of its progressive aspirations and rendered into a myth perpetuating global deception and dominion.

Keywords: symbolic forms; modernity; Herbert Marcuse; totalitarian system; Theodor Adorno; Max Horkheimer

Chapter.  11285 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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