The learned essay,l not the treatise, is the authentic genre of critical theory, the term adopted by scholars at the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research to encompass both their philosophy and their social theory. The term connotes an intention to oppose general social theory, which in its classical exemplars generates positive categories from which the propositions of social science may derive. Thus, in contrast to the treatise which, typically, sets forth definitions from which a series of empirical hypotheses may be tested, the essay form, which is both more discursive and more speculative, is employed because critical theory is suspicious

of the application of norms of physical and biological sciences to human relations.