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Critical Theory and EpistemologyThe Politics of Modern Thought and Science$
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Anastasia Marinopoulou

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526105370

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526105370.001.0001

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Modernism and postmodernism

Modernism and postmodernism

(p.81) 3 Modernism and postmodernism
Critical Theory and Epistemology

Anastasia Marinopoulou

Manchester University Press

Foucault attempted to introduce an approach which essentially rejected the nature of rationality, modernity and dialectics. Foucault argued that if epistemology wishes to get rid of normative theory, which functions as a scientific straightjacket for free thought and uncoerced arguments, it has to discard dialectics. However, the idea explored in this chapter is that by the use of such a course of reflection, science abandons its claims for rational praxis as well. The normativity of theory provides praxis with inner constitution and external accountability criteria because normativity is not a hypothetical construction but is formed according to the social function of dialectics. Science needs dialectics in order to be accountable to society. Structures, experience and systems seem inadequate for science to render itself socially accountable. Therefore, social praxis appears as a partial scientific and social concern where the critique that theory articulates through dialectics is missing, rendering science un-critical and, thus, pre-modern. Foucault’s opposition to modernity’s theorizing on the part of his theoretical contemporaries, such as Habermas, lies in two fundamental points: a) his concept of reason; and b) his understanding of critique.

Keywords:   Foucault, Habermas, Critique, Reason, Dialectics, Rationality, Modernism, Postmodernism, Modernity, Institutions

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