The intricacies of the current crisis which is marked by market hegemony, declining political capacities for economic regulation, increasing fiscal problems, the financialization of capitalism and global complexity, clearly call for a systematic elucidation and critique, i.e. for a Critical Theory of the current predicament. But what exactly does such a task require? While originally developed as a variant of Western Marxism by the so-called Frankfurt School, today a wide variety of approaches goes by the name of Critical Theory. Hence, while social critique must draw on a plurality of theoretical resources in order to be convincing and effective, a range of substantial and methodological disagreements divide critical theorists: How normative does Critical Theory have to be? And where do the norms it employs in its critique come from? Or should those norms themselves be made objects of analysis and critique? How substantial does Critical Theory have to be? Does it rest on assumptions about human capacities, needs or interests, or is it solely anchored in the social and political struggles of its day? How radical is the critique of Critical Theory? Does it require a Utopian or revolutionary horizon or is it limited to the plurality of emancipatory struggles within the framework of the current social order? With a view to these and related questions, the first meeting of this new course on Critical Theory focuses on exploring alternative conceptions of social critique and discussing in how far they are compatible and may be combined. Subsequent meetings of this course in the following years will focus on substantive issues of social critique.