Critical theory is situated theory with an emancipatory goal.
the goal of critical theory is not just to provide a true description of social reality. … Critical theory has a practical and political aim: it should reveal injustice in a way that informs action. And because … the world itself can become distorted, we need a critical vantage point not just on what we believe, but on what is.Haslanger (2020), 36
As this distortion is mainly caused by
critical theory aims to provide “a peephole to see through the
distortions of ideology so that we recognize them as distortions”.ibid.
One technique to provide such a “peephole” is Conceptual Engineering.
Importantly, critical theory in this wide sense is different from and more general than the more specific Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School of social theory and critical philosophy.
- Haslanger (2020), “Taking a Stand: Second-Order Social Pathologies or First-Order Critique”