Philosophy Department Seminar - Social Pathology and the rejection of 'political philosophy' with Dagmar Wilhelm (University of the West of England)

7 December 2017, 2.00 PM - 7 December 2017, 3.30 PM

Cotham House G2

Abstract: Some Critical Theorists  understand “social pathology” as a key concept in social philosophy and  distinguishing mark of Frankfurt School Critical Theory. Understood in a roughly Adornian way the “social pathology framework” is thought to be incompatible with the “justice framework”. The latter is seen to be characteristic of political philosophy. While the Adornian line aims to replace the justice-framework, a more moderate Honnethian line seeks to reconcile the two frameworks.  In this paper I will first outline the Adornian stance on social pathology and justice approaches and locate the source of disagreement between the moderate and more radical demands. Next I will propose a comprehensive conception of social pathology. This conception of social pathology, while superior to other conceptions, does not easily compliment a justice framework. However, abandoning the justice framework seems to be problematic for Critical Theorists as this would mean giving up on an essential tool for emancipation.

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