Thursday, February 9, 2012

Heidegger and the "Dialectic of the Enlightenment"

I have been rereading the Dialectic of the Enlightenment in Edmund Jephcott's fairly new translation. In the course of working through it I have been struck as never before by certain similarities between this work and Heidegger's concerns in the 1950s. This, in turn, will connect in the future to certain reflections on Vattimo and Zabala's Hermeneutic Communism. I would like to take the time to note some of these similarities and the even more striking differences, in connection with Hegel and Marx, these aspects make apparent.

Within the Dialectic of the Enlightenment the authors critique enlightenment as ultimately manifesting in a leveling of all reality to the standards of the market as expressed through power, specifically the power of managing, organizing and technology. This leveling, a concern that both Heidegger and the authors are no doubt drawing heavily from the work of Nietzsche, manifests as an aspect of enlightenment's concerns for equality and freedom. Ultimately the official concern for increased freedom leads dialectically to its opposite:

"The blessing that the market does not ask about birth is paid for in the exchange society by the fact that the possibilities conferred by birth are molded to fit the production of goods that can be bought on the market. Each human being has been endowed with a self of his or her own, different from all others, so that it could all the more surely be made the same. But because that self never quite fitted the mold, enlightenment throughout the liberalistic period has always sympathized with social coercion. The unity of the manipulated collective consists in the negation of each individual and in the scorn poured on the type of society which could make people into individuals." (p. 9)
This leveling manifests as well in destructive limitations placed upon thought and language:

"As a means of reinforcing the social power of language, ideas became more superfulous the more that power increased, and the language of science put an end to them altogether... The impartiality of scientific language deprived what was powerless of the strength to make itself heard and merely provided the existing order with a neutral sign for itself... Thought is reified as an autonomous, automatic process, aping machines it has itself produced, so that it can finally be replaced by the machine." (p. 17-19)

This process, in turn, serves first to utterly objectify the self and the mind and then to negate both subject and object into the flow of power management: 

"Individuals shrink to the nodal points of conventional reactions and the modes of operation objectively expect of them. Animism had endowed things with souls; industrialism makes souls into things." (p. 21)  

"Both subject and object are nullified. The abstract self, which alone confers the legal right to record and systematize, is confronted by nothing but abstract material, which has no other property than to be the substrate of that right. The equation of mind and world is finally resolved, but only in the sense that both sides cancel out." (p. 20)

Anyone hearing in these passages similarities to Heidegger's critic of calculative thinking in the "Memorial Address" and enframing in "The Question Concerning Technology" would be in tune with precisely what struck me. Most striking, perhaps, is Heidegger's own sense that technological enframing, having grown out of the modern subject/object distinction, eventually leads to the dissolution of this distinction. Objects become simply standing-reserve, raw materials or ultimately pure power in the form of energy, available for manipulation and organization while subjects eventually themselves dissolve into the complex of forces to be managed. Enframing as "...the unconcealment in accordance with which nature presents itself as a calculable complex of the effects of forces..." (The Question Concerning Technology and other Essays, p. 26) leads to a situation in which "...what is unconcealed no longer concerns man even as object, but does so, rather, exclusively as standing-reserve, and man in the midst of objectlessness is nothing but the orderer of the standing-reserve, then he comes to the very brink of a precipitous fall; that is, he comes to the point where he himself will have to be taken as standing-reserve." (Ibid. p. 26-27) 

For Adorno and Horkheimer, as for Heidegger, the mathematical and abstract logical form of modern science and philosophy take their origin from power, the drive to make all things manageable and calculable. Now, however, we come to the point of an interesting divergence between the two philosophies. Within the Dialectic of the Enlightenment the outcome of enlightenment's gaze is the reduction of all things to immediacy, "...mathematical formalism, whose medium, number, is the most abstract form of the immediate, arrests all thought at mere immediacy." (p. 20) This limitation to the sphere of the immediate is the leveling through which all things become manageable in contrast with a Hegelian and Marxist appreciation of the inevitability of mediation and the self-overcoming nature of any specific stage in the process of dialectical mediation. This is the sense in which the immediate is abstract. From a dialectical view point we always find ourselves already caught in mediation, with the immediacy of things available only through abstraction. The movement to truth is not that of a return to the given, but rather that of a working out of the internal inadequacies of any specific stage of mediation through which a passage to a new stage can be achieved. This is the dialectical form of immanent critique. It is, then, dialectic and its motor, determinate (or productive) negation, which enlightenment forecloses. Likewise it is determinate negation and the recognition of mediation, which offers to enlightenment's apotheosis in late capitalism its greatest threat:
"To grasp existing things as such, not merely to note their abstract spatial-temporal relationships, by which they can then be seized, but, on the contrary, to think of them as surfaces, as mediated conceptual moments which are only fulfilled by revealing their social, historical, and human meaning - this whole aspiration of knowledge is abandoned. Knowledge does not consist in mere perception, classification, and calculation but precisely in the determining negation of whatever is directly at hand." (p. 20)

For Heidegger (in a sense) and the authors, late capitalism consists in passing a mediation off as the immediate. The appearance of standing-reserve is mediated by enframing which, in the style of Althusser's understanding of ideology, presents what it reveals as a-historical and natural. Things just are, in their immediacy, interrelations of forces. In both philosophies the counter-thrust to this ideology rests in a return to history and the recognition of the social practices which allow, or rather demand, that things show up in this way. But here the status of Hegel's project, and through him Marx's, will drive a wedge between our texts.

Heidegger's philosophy can, not too violently, be understood as a life long struggle against Hegelianism. One might argue, for example, that Hegel offered Heidegger the primary model of onto-theology and as early as 1919 Heidegger states of his work, and that of phenomenology in general, that  “…in one of the most difficult confrontations, we stand on the front against Hegel.” (Towards the Definition of Philosophy, p. 91). Along this front the primary enemy was neo-Kantianism, particularly in the form of the work of Paul Natorp, which had accepted the "absolutetization" of mediation such that immediacy became an abstraction. From this view, and Hegelianism in general, truth is arrived at through an ongoing process of mediation and, for Natorp, rational reconstruction. Against this the early Heidegger posits the availability of the immediacy of life through its own process of coming to terms with itself. Language and thought, far from being primarily mediation, seemingly paradoxically become themselves examples of life's immediate nature. This insight ground's Heidegger's turn to social practice and history as the immediate characteristics of human existence. Social practice, traditions, and the history they embody will be immediacy at least when seen in their authentic form. This "authentic form" will be one which reenacts the living immediate (if finite) disclosure of reality these ways of acting, speaking or tradition made available before they passed over into an empty echoing, a mere playing with words or actions without disclosure, which Heidegger describes as their being delivered over into self-evidence. 

It is in this sense, then, that I said earlier that standing-reserve is only in a sense a mediation passing itself off as the immediate. Enframing in its authentic form, traced back to its origins, will have offered an authentic disclosure but its own claim to absoluteness, its reductive claim to reveal things entirely as they are a-historically and naturally, are common forms of the deliverance into self-evidence that occurs when traditions become simply a practice of aping certain actions or words. There is a lot more to say here, particularly in order to increase the nuance of this view with an eye to changes in Heidegger's thought from the time of Being and Time to that of "The Question Concerning Technology" over which I have skated here far too smoothly, but it will have to suffice for now. 

The key aspects of the previous discussion that matter now are Heidegger's obvious unease when it comes to inescapable mediation and the future oriented nature of the process of dialectic. To put it flat-footedly, for Heidegger history is a history of drifting away from truth which can only be countered by a return and/or a re-beginning while for Hegel, Marx and the critical theorists of the Dialectic of the Enlightenment history is (potentially for Adorno and Horkheimer and inevitably for Hegel and Marx) a process of progress through determinate negation and ongoing mediation rather in the style of Natorp's views on science as the rational reconstruction through which supposedly immediate experience (which is always already mediated) arrives more and more at its truth. In relation to this Heidegger's discussion of Marx and Hegel within the "Letter on Humanism" is particularly useful for there he understands both thinkers as representing important moments in the history of metaphysics but moments which, nonetheless, fundamentally help to lead to enframing. A thinking which escapes enframing won't, therefore, be dialectical. 

We can see, perhaps, what I am getting at when we consider Heidegger's own response to technological enframing. In agreement with Adorno and Horkheimer, we certainly do need to recognize the brute nature revealed be late capitalism as nonetheless arising from history and social practice. The meaning of the standing reserve is certainly a ", historical, and human meaning.'' But these, and all meanings, are to be understood as, at least potentially, immediate revelations on the part of reality itself in the form of practices, traditions and ways of speaking. To escape calculative thought and enframing is not, then, just to return to history or to dialectically think them through determinate negation to what follows after, but rather to achieve both through an openness to the world and a destructuring of the history from which they arose (the history of metaphysics for Heidegger) a new immediate relation to reality. It is a new disclosure or redisclosure of what is that is needed. Enframing covers-over, and the extent to which it does so is also the extent to which it can be thought as mediation pretending to be the immediate, but it also maintains an element of authentic disclosure through which it can be escaped. But locating this element of authentic disclosure (the nature of which Heidegger suggests is actually, through attention to enframing, a disclosure of the nature of disclosure itself) is more a return than an overcoming. We see, then, an immanent critique still at work here but one grounded in an ontology very different from Marx's or Hegel's with a goal that is also interpreted different.


  1. One facet of the Dialectics of Enlightenment is its tracing to Classical Greece the cause of the Holocaust.

    But the Enlightenment itself was a rejection of Classical Antiquity. Thomas Paine saw that when he writes this in his Agrarian Justice:

    "A revolution in the state of civilisation is the necessary companion of revolutions in the system of government."
    "It is a revolution in the state of civilisation that will give perfection to the Revolution of France."

    As a person who is familiar to Classical Antiquity, what about their charge in the book?

    Furthermore, in the Gorgias, Socrates stated that "Philosophy always holds to the same". Well, true philosophy never holds to "freedom and equality". Marx, Adorno and Horkheimer are Sophists, not philosophers. The Dialectics of Enlightenment is a book of ideology not of philosophy. I am suprised you are reading this. What does ancient true philosophy have to do with the Frankfurt School and their design to destroy Western Culture and Civilization?

  2. Certainly they trace the cause of the Holocaust, in some sense, to Classical Greece but, as you suggest, only to the extent that the Enlightenment itself grew out of possibilities present in Ancient Greece and the Holocaust grew out of the Enlightenment. To fully address this a much more nuanced discussion of their understanding of the dialectic of history would be necessary. Such a discussion would have to recognize that, to the extent that freedom is possible, it is also dialectically an outgrowth of both the Ancient world and the Enlightenment.

    I am not sure that we can so simply state that the Enlightenment was a rejection of Classical Antiquity. The motivations for the Enlightenment had to have come from somewhere, and I tend to agree with the reading of history that sees them as arising out of elements and possibilities already present within the Medieval and Ancient context. I do not always side with a continuist view of history, but in this case I would. The question of the Enlightenment's relationship to the Holocaust, however, is a much larger one that I don't want to weigh in on right now. The reading they present of ancient texts, particularly Homer, is very interesting. There are elements I agree with and elements I don't. Again, however, that would be the subject for another post or an entire paper. I may say a bit more on the subject having given myself some time for thought.

  3. When it comes to the last paragraph of your comment, let me work backwards. My concerns, and those expressed in this blog, are not only related to ancient philosophy. Indeed most of my academic work concerns Heidegger. I do have an interest in ancient philosophy, and I do work on the subject, but I am also concerned with contemporary philosophy generally. Looking over this blog you will find discussions of Wittgenstein, Foucault, Badiou, Zizek, Nietzsche, McDowell and many more. So my engagement with the Frankfurt School at the moment need have nothing to do with ancient philosophy, although I may consider a future post concerning their reading of Homer.

    As for your discussion of "true" philosophy in opposition to ideology and sophistry, I am very suspicious of such distinctions. We could discuss why you find the work of Marx, Adorno and Horkheimer inadequate or mistaken (and indeed we have already briefly touched upon such a discussion) but expelling them from the realm of philosophy seems only to serve ideological purposes itself. It saves us the time of having to think carefully through what they are doing. When we consider their influence upon so much work that was to follow after them such careful thought seems very important.

    You state "...true philosophy never holds to 'freedom and equality'." I am not entirely sure how I am to interpret this comment, mainly because I am not sure how we are to understand "holds to" in this context. Some philosophy certainly takes these topics as its primary concern, and in doing so most likely also traces these topics to an origin in the "same" Socrates was concerned with. But putting aside this topic, if we were to accept that true philosophy "never holds to 'freedom and equality'" the briefest response might be to say "So much the worse for 'true' philosophy." (It is worth noting that this is indeed one of Adorno and Horkheimer's criticisms of enlightenment, that its model of reason detaches reason and philosophy from any grounding in values.) However, we can do better than that. Certainly Socrates was concerned with justice and, whether you like what they do or not, Marx, Adorno and Horkheimer are themselves concerned with little else. And, as such, they certainly didn't understand themselves as attempting to destroy "Western Culture and Civilization", rather they understood what they were working towards as the achievement of the promise of such a culture and civilization, in some sense its crown and completion. So they had no conscious "design" to destroy culture and civilization, Western or otherwise. Now, does their work press towards such destruction despite what they may have thought themselves? The answer to this would depend on very carefully asking what is essential, best or most important about western culture and civilization. Coming from a Hegelian vein they suggest it is freedom, although interpreting this word will never be easy. You seem to disagree. Perhaps you think it is reason? But the reduction of reason to purely instrumental reason (one of Adorno and Horkheimer's main criticisms of late capitalism, and one with which Heidegger agrees) seems precisely, then, to be a destruction of western culture and civilization. Perhaps it is something else entirely which is the most important aspect of the culture and civilization in question, but in any case a lot more would have to be said for me to even understand what the destruction of western culture and civilization could mean.

  4. I found your blog because it was identified as an Ancient Philosophy blog on the search engine. I thought for the longest time you were into ancient philosophy. Thanks for clearing that up.

    To tell the truth, I tried reading DofE and was overwhelmed by the arcane language and torturous path it took. I'm an armchair philosopher; I'm pretty simple minded.

    First off, the home of Greek philosophy is the Doric Greeks of Laconia (the Spartans) and the Cretans. This is where Plato's Republic came from. Heirarchy was central to their society. They taught equality in class or station or equality within heirarchy. Marx hated the division of labor and wanted to end it. So this is why Socrates would have said that.

    The so-called "Enlightenment" was a rejection of the warrior cultures of Antiquity and the heirarchy that superintended them. The Enlightenment was a rejection of Christendom that had heirarchy. Furthermore, the Enlightenment championed capitalism/mercantilism. Montesqueiu pushed capitalism because it undermined religion. Christendom was a carryover of the Roman Empire. There is a continuity between Classical Antiquity and Christendom where Christendom baptized the Roman style of things both in the West and in the East under Byzantium.

    For instance, Thomas Jefferson responding to a letter, wrote, "the introduction of the new principle of representative democracy has rendered useless almost everything written before on the structure of government; and, in a great measure, relieves our regret, if the political writings of Aristotle or of any other ancient, have been lost, or are unfaithfully rendered or explained to us."

    The FFofA purposely rejected the teachings of Classical Antiquity. For instance, Socrates, (in a paraphrase) in the Republic said "Where Money is prized, Virtue is despized". The ancient republics were built on sumptuary laws which the Enlightenment rejected. America is purposely built to be a so-called capitalist state. Furthermore, the Spartans forbid their citizens to participate in the market. These philosophers already rejected capitalism. Socrates did. Plato in the Laws rejects the banavsic culture. The Enlightenment turned that all around 180 degrees so the Enlightenment was NOT a continuation of European culture.

    The Frankfurt School seeks to turn Marxism from economics to culture. It is about transforming European culture through a process of "Critique".

    Philosophy "Holds always to the same" because all the precepts of philosophy are derived from Nature. Man's reasoning is predicated upon the Laws of Nature. Nature doesn't change. For instance, throughout nature, hierarchy is throughout. Nature does not teach egalitarianism. There is throughout Nature the division of labor. Xenophon repeating a Doric teaching said, "Does not nature teach righteousness". Therefore, philosophy always teaches the same thing. The Spartans were the first philosophers. Then to say Karl Marx wanted to end the division of labor is against what is "according to nature" which that phrase is throughout the Platonic dialogues.

  5. If you read the Platonic dialogues, the battle over the term "philosophy" was already going on. Socrates and Plato use the adjective "true" before the term philosophy. This was part of the battle Plato was engaging in against the sophists, materialists, and atheists. In the Laws, Plato calls atheism a 'malady'. Most of the Enlightenment thinkers were Atheists the rest Deists. The whole of the Enlightenment was the Atheist platform.

    The sophists were not philosophers. This was the point Plato was getting at.

  6. The whole point, thesis, hypothesis, foundation of Adorno's and Horkeimer's book Dialetics of Enlightentment was that Western Culture and Western Civilization was responsible for the Holocaust. That is the raison d' etre of the book.

    The so-called Atheist movement called "The Enlightenment" was not an enlightenment at all but a cultural revolution. As the quote from Thomas Paine makes clear. The Atheist Enlightenment was the cause of the Holocaust and no further and Western Culture and Western Civilization was NOT responsible at all for the Holocaust.

    This is my point. The Dialectic of Enlightenment is discredited. It is of no value. It's thesis is wrong and so the whole book is wrong.

    Philosophy is not ideology. Philosophy deals with "What does Nature Teach".

  7. I will share a few thoughts on your comments, starting with the first one since my last response and working my way down.

    I am afraid I don’t at all agree with your Doric focused understanding of Greek philosophy. Most of the Pre-Socratic philosophers were Ionians and by the time of Socrates philosophy had a reputation for being rather Ionian and thus not really appropriate for properly manly aristocrats. The Ionians, of course, tended to be considered a little too influenced by the Persians who themselves were themselves considered not appropriately “manly” in an Athenian, let alone Laconian, sense. In this regard it is very telling that Thucydides has Pericles state in his “Funeral Oration” that Athenians can pursue philosophy without becoming effeminate. It was only because philosophy had the reverse reputation that such a statement was necessary. Finally, while Socrates as found in Plato is certainly resisting the Pre-Socratic heavily Ionian understanding of philosophy he does not at all exemplify the virtues most connected to traditional Greek hierarchy of either an Athenian of Laconian type. He has no money and no job, he mixes with every level of society speaking as freely with aristocrats as with craftsmen, he speaks like a craftsman constantly about unseemly things like horse raising or table making. He is concerned with constant questioning and minute explaining rather than more traditional aristocratic rhetorical speech giving. Socrates’ philosophical practice seems dramatically to demonstrate that what he proposes is an overturning of traditional ideas of social hierarchy.

    While we are mucking about in the Socratic context let’s think about your discussion of sophistry. I am well aware of the way Plato formulates the war over a specific understanding of philosophy between the sophists and Socrates. My point is that we need not take Plato’s formulation of these issues as law. Many, though not all, of the sophists were offering philosophical positions Socrates, or at least Plato, did not agree with. Consider, for example, Protagoras’ supposed claim that “man is the measure of all things”. In this regard the distinction between philosophy and sophistry is often a way to foreclose a consideration of different philosophical positions. It is an early war within philosophy described as a war between philosophy and something else. We would be unwise, then, to take the distinction as formulated by Plato to be one offering binding necessary conditions for what we are to consider philosophy.

  8. Certainly some folks we consider Enlightenment thinkers understood what they were part of as a dramatic break from the medieval and ancient context. But again, I don’t think we need to take this self-understanding as either shared by all members of the Enlightenment nor as necessarily accurate. To do so we would have to ignore things such as the following. First, the role of the Renaissance with its self-understanding as a rediscovery of ancient humanism in influencing the Enlightenment. Second, the religiously oriented thought of many of the Enlightenment or important Pre-Enlightenment thinkers (depending on where you want to mark off the start of the Enlightenment). Consider for example Descartes, Leibniz, Berkeley and Kant all of whom arguably have a religious orientation that maintains distinct ties to medieval Christianity. As for the increased secularizing power of Enlightenment politics, check out Charles Taylor’s “The Secular Age” for an excellently detailed tracing of the secularizing motivation from medieval religious social developments. As for the role played by capitalism in the founding of Enlightenment-inspired states like America, check out Max Weber’s “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” for a classic grounding of capitalism in Protestant theology which, in turn, understood itself as grounded in a return to original ancient Christianity while, if we follow Taylor, in fact coming out of various medieval social movements within Catholic societies. Long story short, “the whole of Enlightenment was the Atheist platform” seems demonstrably wrong and, where it is right, the atheist platform arises as a development, to a large extent, of non-atheist elements within earlier periods. Note that this doesn’t at all undermine the atheist position, but viewing it as a total break with what came before seems historically inaccurate.

  9. Let me take a moment to voice some confusion on my part. Your last two comments leave me confused. You state that philosophy consists in attention to what nature teaches, but you also state that Plato was engaging in a war with materialism and atheism. When you speak of more modern sophistry, then, am I to take you to be including atheists and materialists in that camp? Am I to take your position to be that philosophy is “a non-atheist or materialist study of nature’s laws”? This was not, generally, where I thought you were going with your points. Furthermore, am I to take you to be distinguishing between authentic “western culture and civilization” and the Enlightenment insofar as the Enlightenment was atheist? Further, are you saying that atheist Enlightenment led to the holocaust but not authentic “western culture and civilization”? If this is right let me say a bit about this.

    First, it is a mistake in my view to equate what might get translated as atheism in an ancient text to what our contemporary understanding of atheism is. As such, saying that Plato was fighting against atheism and materialism seems incredibly ahistorical. The ideas at stake in the ancient context would be very different from our contemporary understanding in the same way that focus on “natural laws” would be a very ahistorical way of understanding what Plato was doing. Within the Ancient Greek context the division between natural and supernatural that was to become so central to later European culture hadn’t really been formulated at all. As such there was no break between the natural and the divine. This is one reason why Socrates in the Apology can state that it seems crazy to call him an atheist because obviously he thinks the sun is divine. The same goes for “natural law”, the concept of which wouldn’t become formulated in the way we recognize without the Christian framework of a creator god and lawgiver. There is obviously a lot more to be said about the concepts of nature and divinity in the ancient context, but suffice it to say the topic is for from simple and it can’t be honestly served by just replacing our ideas for those of the ancients when we read their texts. Finally, it seems wildly limiting to state that philosophy must be focused on natural laws. There are naturalist and non-naturalist philosophers, there are realist and non-realist philosophers, and there are philosophers to whom these various distinctions cannot be applied. The concept of natural law or nature in general represents a certain philosophical position (or, better, many divergent such positions) but nowhere near the whole of philosophy.

    I hope that my too brief comments have made clear some of why I think one can’t draw a line between authentic “western culture and civilization” and atheist Enlightenment or between the medieval/ancient context and the Enlightenment. This in turn suggests why I would reject the claim that the Enlightenment might have been responsible for the Holocaust but western culture was not. My thus far continuist reading of history would also fit fairly well (though perhaps not in terms of the details) with the claims offered in the Dialectic of the Enlightenment. Enlightenment is an achievement of the ancient and medieval world, but that achievement through internal contradictions (not least of which is its previous grounding in religion, as Nietzsche saw very well) leads to its own self-destruction, for example in the form of the Holocaust or mass society in late capitalism. However, these same contradictions when overcome could lead to a further achievement of the historical dialectic, one in which the horrors of fascism and late capitalism might be overcome. From the perspective, then, of Adorno and Horkheimer the point of the critique wasn’t a dismissal of all of western history but rather an attempt to free it of some of its, often bloody and horrific, contradictions.

  10. Let me conclude by saying that the entire discussion of western culture and civilization makes me very uncomfortable. I have been using that framework since you placed the discussion in those terms, but I am not sure we can say anything very interesting or accurate about the entity “western culture and civilization”. It seem to me that it is in no way a homogenous thing nor can a line be feasibly drawn between its many divergent manifestations and its Other, say non-western culture and civilization. If we take ideology to be the attempt to make something that is artificial or non-existent appear natural and obvious (this is one way to understand the meaning of the word in Althusser at least) then the most ideological concept we have been dealing with has been that of “western culture and civilization”. If we take ideology to mean the attempt, for political or cultural purposes, to use rhetoric to evade thought, discussion or philosophical investigation then, again, talk of this culture and civilization seems to fit the bill. Like the distinction between philosophy and sophistry, the distinction between western culture and something else seems to serve the purpose of dismissing ideas or cultural developments we would be better off carefully considering.

  11. All very interesting points.

    I have written an article that was peer reviewed: "Doric Crete and Sparta, the home of Greek philosophy"; the abstract is here

    My email is wheelerplatsis(at)hotmail(dot)com. I can email you the pdf as a courtesy if you want. This article sets out the proof that the Doric Greeks and not the Ionians were the founders of Greek philosophy. Both Pythagoras and Thales visited Crete.

    The Doric Greeks of this community were very pious people. This first philosophy was entwined with the belief in divine beings. Plato is one who is bringing Doric philosophy to bear upon the Athenians and with that, that "God is the measure of all things". Pico della Mirondola resurrected the Protogorean "Man is the measure of all things" and thus began the split in Western Culture or bringing back the Athenian/Spartan dichotomy which was between the capitalist mercantilist society of the Ionians and the religious warrior culture of the Dorians.

    You may be right in that Western Culture and Civilization has always been split between these two views. Western Culture was homogenous to some extent under Christendom until the rise of Atheist Enlightenment. For me, I see that the Peloponnesian War has never ended in Classical Departments but that in the last three hundred years, Athens has been winning the war and has an overwhelming influence.

    The sophists of Plato's time would be the atheists and materialists. The same would hold for modern times. Protagoras was an atheist if I remember my reference right.

    In my research, I find Fascism as an aberration of Marxism. Another term for Fascism is national socialism. Without International socialism which is Communism/Marxism/democratic socialism, there would have been no fascism/national socialism. If there was no Marxism, there would have been no Fascism! The National Socialist Workers Party was egalitarian. Hitler said himself that the National Socialist party was a fulfillment of the French Revolution. All forms of communism committed atrocities. Italian Fascism never did. So in the historical record of Socialisms, Fascisms are at least half better than the communisms.

    Politics follows the culture. Monarchy is central to European culture, especially that of Christendom which was "Throne and Altar". This was destroyed. So the culture that formed that was destroyed. And now with the teaching of "multiculturalism" there is no more Western Culture. Multiculturalism is replacing Western Culture.

  12. Has not Communism been discredited? Who has committed more murder and bloodshed? ...the horrors of Fascism? What about the horrors of communism? Why pick and choose?

    Secondly, Adorno and Horkheimer really don't know the cause of the Holocaust. How can a doctor prescribe medication, if he doesn't know the cause? or the right cause. Hitler wrote a second book where he does lay out why the genocide of the Jews will occur. Yet that reasoning is nowhere in any history book and most certainly Adorno and Horkheimer don't know it.

    Ask yourself this question, Why were the Freemasons also murdered? This fact undermines the whole conventional wisdom on this subject. Why were the Freemasons murdered as well?

    The Freemasons were strictly an Enlightenment movement. Another facet of the Enlightenment is the influence of the Kabbala on many thinkers and especially in Freemasonry. So why is Western Culture and civilization blamed for the Holocaust by Adorno and Horkeimer?

    Adorno and Horkeimer are not philosophers. Somehow, philosophy in modern times has morphed into ideology. It was the Doric Greeks that coined the term "philosophy" and so do we really know ""why"" it was coined that way. Do we really know the foundational meaning of that term? What is THEIR meaning of the term.

    Why this is important is because an integral part of philosophy is logic. Logic, coming from the word, Logos, is derived from Nature itself and entails realism. One part of that is Paramenides principle of non-contradiction. This is why Socrates said, "Philosophy always holds to the same". It can't do otherwise. Philosophy must hold to its own principles and one of them is "the principle of non-contradiction". Philosophy must then be a hypocrite if it doesn't follow its own teachings.

    You may ask What is Western Culture?

    Central to Western Culture is the principle of non-contradiction. This is not Asiatic thought paradigm. One can be a good Hindu and a Christian at the same time. That is impossible in Western Culture. The principle of non-contradiction is the symbol of the Black/White mind. So to say that there are all sorts of philosophers is a misnomer, a fallacy.

    I blame Diogenes Laertius of this mistake when he labelled everybody a "philosopher" and some of these folks were sophists. The Stoics were not philosophers, neither were the Epicureans, nor the Skeptics.

    We do have a problem on our hands.

  13. I am afraid our positions are pretty dramatically divergent and there is no way we are going to be able to cover the differences here, especially not without going wildly off topic as we have already at points done. So I will leave this conversation where it is at feeling that we have, at least, fairly well traced the differences between out positions. Thanks for the paper, I will be sure to look at it.