critical theory
The title is specifically applied to the philosophical approach of the Frankfurt school . This owed its philosophical background to Hegel and to Marx, seeing social and cultural imperfections as defects of rationality, and comparing them with an ideal to which the progress of reason, embodied in pure and undistorting social arrangements, would ideally tend. Critical theory works dialectically, that is by searching out ‘ contradictions ’ in social arrangements in which, for example, certain groups are systematically excluded from power or from the free access to information that structures rational debate (see also Habermas ).
More generally, critical theory may describe any attempt to understand practices of criticism, interpretation, and historical understanding of social action, including especially that of writing. An increased self-consciousness about the role of the critic, and the different social and historical circumstances that interfere with communication and translation, is characteristic of postmodernism, and this topic has been expressed in a variety of literary forms. However, it may be doubted whether the resulting reflections are always either critical or theoretical in any sense recognized in the philosophy of science . See also Derrida, Foucault.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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