Strains of Critical Theory and the Tensions Between Them

Strains of Critical Theory and the Tensions Between Them

Larval Subjects .

I.  “Critical Thinking”

Within the field of theory and philosophy, the term “critique” is highly ambiguous, signifying a variety of different things.  No doubt this is the source of many disputes.  There is, of course, the facile term “critical thinking” that we hear bandied about by many mainstream educational institutions.  This, of course, is not what is being referred to when theorists talk about a “critical theory”.  Indeed, if Althusser was right in naming educational institutions (along with church, family, and media) as one of the main sites of ideology wherein a society reproduces the conditions for its production, then it’s unlikely that critical theory would be received warmly by those dignitaries of the State that preside over education policy and who call for “critical thinking” as a central part of the curriculum.  Critical thinking in their sense might very well serve at the behest of ideology in Althusser’s sense…

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