At a time when critical thinking is co-opted by neoliberalism, it is urgent to ask: What is critique today? What lessons can we draw from the formative process of the Frankfurt School? How can a review of early writings help us answer the question of the role of theory in social change? With these questions, the philosopher Nicolás del Valle sets out to study the work of the German philosophers Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, founders of the Frankfurt School, to reconstruct the beginnings of critical theory. Through epistemology, social theory and the philosophy of history, this book contributes to the discussion on the status of “critique” in the role of philosophy and social studies for social transformation.

Nicolás del Valle, a researcher at the International Institute for Philosophy and Social Studies, has dedicated his life to studying local and international cultural policies centred on memory and human rights, analysing critical theory and the media in the public sphere. PhD in Philosophy, Master in Contemporary Thought and Bachelor in Political Science, has developed his professional profile in important positions as head of International Affairs at the Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage, as well as in a coordinating role in the Culture, Communication and Information Program of UNESCO.

At the recent launch of “Materialism and Criticism”, presented at the Gabriela Mistral Center, the book brought together leading academics and influential current political figures in Chile, generating an exciting conversation on the importance of the analysis of the origins of critical theory. Among the accolades, Cristóbal Bellolio, Irina Karanamanos and Valeria Campos shared comments and their perspectives, highlighting the relevance of the work.

“Materialism and Criticism” has emerged as a necessary work for those interested in the foundations of critical theory. The large audience at the book launch and the presentation of influential scholars underlines the relevance and impact of this research, consolidating an essential reading for those seeking to understand the foundations and evolution of critical theory.