chapter  17
Philosophical sociology and sociological philosophy
Pages 10

In the previous chapter we saw, however, the danger of veering towards irrationalism or mythology if the unity of philosophy and science in critical theory is allowed to move more towards philosophy and away from a scientific appraisal of socio-historical reality. It was the stress on philosophy which gave critical theory its element of fantasy at the current stage of social development. And as theory it was the presence within it of philosophy as critique of the extent to which a specific society is ongoingly minimizing greater human selfdetermination which also constituted by established standards the element of precariousness in critical theory. In the age of unrealized social potential, Horkheimer maintained, the social function of philosophy as critique inevitably meant that the practice of social life “offers no criterion for philosophy; philosophy can point to no successes” .3 The opposition of philosophy to reality arises directly from its principles because

Philosophy insists that the actions and aims of man must not be the product of blind necessity. . . . Philosophy has set itself against mere tradition and resignation in the decisive problems of existence, and it has shouldered the unpleasant task of throwing the light of consciousness even upon those human relations and modes of reaction which have become so deeply rooted that they seem natural, immutable, and eternal.4