Conference: Weitermachen: The Task of Social Philosophy Revisited (Dublin and online, 24-25 November 2023)

Conference: Weitermachen: The Task of Social Philosophy Revisited (Dublin and online, 24-25 November 2023)

We are glad to give notice of the conference Weitermachen: The Task of Social Philosophy Revisited: An International Symposium in Commemoration of the Centenary of the Institute for Social Research (1923-2023), which will take place on 24-25 November 2023 at the University College Dublin and online.


The event is organized by Ranier Abengana, Haikyung Kwon, and Sam Ferns (School of Philosophy University College Dublin).

Below you can find the presentation and the program of the conference.


This year, as we mark the quasquicentennial of Herbert Marcuse’s birth (1898), the semicentennial of Max Horkheimer’s passing (1973), and the centenary of the Institute for Social Research (1923), among others, we are hosting an international symposium on critical social theory, with the broad theme of “Weitermachen” as our central focus.

The word “weitermachen”, engraved on Marcuse’s tombstone in Berlin, means ‘to carry on’ or ‘to keep on going.’ While the concept has played a significant role in the Frankfurt School’s commitments towards radical social change, the concept, nevertheless, has likewise been at the heart of a tension within the Institut für Sozialforschung. With the centenary of the Institute, one could inquire, adapting the title of Benedetto Croce’s oft-cited book on Hegel, what is living and what is dead in critical theory today? However, this would be to suggest a final settling of accounts, a forensic distance ill-suited to a tradition we take still to be of contemporary moment, and whose promise and potential, if they are to be realised, require that committed scholarship carry into the new the ideals of the old. Thus, in this upcoming two-day symposium, we endeavour to reflect on the contemporary significance of weitermachen against the backdrop of the broader project of critical social theory, now considering its developments within and beyond the Frankfurt School. More specifically, we intend to ask, what does it mean to keep on going today? This question not only examines the practical strategies of critical theory and social movements, insofar as the realisation of the normative claims of critical theory are concerned; it can also be deployed as a reflexive inquiry intended to examine the very commitments of contemporary critical social theory.


Whether you wish to attend in person or online, please register here.

Please direct your enquiries to the organisers: Ranier Abengana (, Haikyung Kwon (, or Sam Ferns (



Day 1: Friday, 24 November 2023 09:30–16:45 (GMT)

09:30 Registration
09:55–10:15 Welcoming Remarks: Brian O’CONNOR (University College Dublin)

Housekeeping: Organisers



Mit Adorno weiterzumachen trotz Habermas mithilfe Kants und Hegels. A new reading of Adorno’s subjectivity, Haikyung KWON (University College Dublin)

Critical Theory and the Emotions: Adorno on Impulse, David JAMES (University of Warwick)


11:30–11:45 Break


The Atrophy of Imagination and the Crisis of Critique: Preliminary Reflections, Ranier ABENGANA (University College Dublin)

Should Critical Theory Alleviate Pathologies of Reason or Pathologies of Critique?, Rik OUWERKERK (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)


13:00–14:00 Lunch


Disastrous Times. Weitermachen with and beyond Horkheimer, Maeve COOKE (University College Dublin)


A ‘Critical Humanism’ for the Anthropocene: A Tentative Idea for a Research Programme, John MCGUIRE (University College Dublin)


15:15–15:30 Break


Critical Education: From Hegel to Freire, Giovanna LUCIANO (Università degli Studi di Padova)


On Affirmative Culture, Simon GURISCH (Goethe-Universtiät Frankfurt am Main)


Day 2: Saturday, 25 November 2023 09:30–17:45 (GMT)


What is the Reflexive History of Critical Theory?, Sam FERNS (University College Dublin)

Not False-Consciousness but Epistemic Paralysis: Cases of ‘I know, but …’, Kelly AGRA (University College Dublin)


10:45–11:00 Break


Responsibility in Context: The Role of Critical Theory in Making Technological Innovation Processes Responsible, Lisann PENTTILA (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)


What Is to Be Done (with the City)? Reflections on the Urban Question in and for Critical Theory, Blake SCOTT (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)


12:15–13:15 Lunch


What it means ‘to carry on’ in the context of civil disobedience: reflexions on decoloniality and critical theory, Bárbara NASCIMENTO DE LIMA (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais / UCD)

Prison in the Postcolony: Hicham Marzouki’s In the Heart of a Moroccan Prison, Safae EL KHANNOUSSI (University of Amsterdam)


14:30–14:45 Break


Singing a New Song: On the Need for Local Critical Theory, Lena NOWAK-LAIRD (The New School for Social Research)


Epistemic Injustice and Recognition Theory, Danielle PETHERBRIDGE (University College Dublin)


16:00–17:30 Roundtable

17:30–17:45 Closing Remarks / Final Announcements


For more information, check the website.

Below you can download the program of the conference.

Download full pdf Printable Version