The Frankfurt School is well known, liked or not liked, due to its pervasive influence in the domain of culture critique. As on account of increasing threats to democracy its legacy is once more coming to the fore, there is a strong tendency to focus on the products and results of the school’s activity while totally bypassing quite another legacy of the school, namely, rigorous teaching of complex, ‘dialectical’ thinking.
In this blog, a veteran attendant of Frankfurt School Hauptseminars, directed by Max Horkheimer and Th. W. Adorno, from 1958 to 1966, Otto Laske, speaks up to remind those interested in the school of its huge promise for helping (young and young remaining) minds achieve new depths of reflection and circumspection, not only about society, but also about the cosmos at large and about themselves in their societal and ecological predicament.
Otto Laske reviews the teachings of the school’s Hauptseminar which focused on Hegel’s Logic of 1812-16 as a vehicle for achieving fluid and holistic systemic thinking, more than ever needed in the world we live in, which we created without much further thought about the consequences of our actions supported by fabulous technologies.
Taking a measure of Hauptseminar teaching from the perspective of Bhaskar’s critical realism and present uses of the Dialectical Thought Form Framework (DTF), Laske points not only to strengths and weaknesses in the school’s teaching, but also opens up avenues for using critical insights into the school’s teaching for building dialogically savvy apps for use on organizational and societal platforms.
Much in this article remains to be spelled out by using examples.