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1. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Osha Neumann Who's Winning--Eros or Thanatos?: Eros and Civilization and the Death of Nature
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Freud speculated that the course all living beings travel from birth to death is determined by a contest between a life instinct (Eros) and a death instinct (Thanatos). He believed that instinctual repression required by civilization tended to strengthen Thanatos. Herbert Marcuse argued that civilization did not require quite as much repression as Freud assumed. This joyous suggestion was greeted with enthusiasm by the countercultural political movements of the 1960s. I ask whether Marcuse was overly optimistic, given the fact that humanity appears to be hell-bent on destroying itself due to its inability to deal with global warming.
2. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Arnold L. Farr In Search of Radical Subjectivity: Rereading Marcuse after Honneth
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I will address Axel Honneth’s critique of the early Frankfurt School and his apparent omission of Marcuse. I will defend Marcuse against some of the criticisms of early Frankfurt School critical theory made by Honneth. I will then argue that Marcuse was always in search of radical subjectivity, even as he warned against the ongoing one-dimensional mechanisms of subject production. Finally, I will show that Honneth also builds his project around the search for radical subjectivity but approaches the problem through a theory of intersubjectivity which complements Marcuse’s project.
3. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
David Roediger A Note on Psychoanalysis and the Critical Study of Whiteness: Response to John Abromeit's "Whiteness as a Form of Bourgeois Anthropology?"
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This brief response to John Abromeit’s “Whiteness as a Form of Bourgeois Anthropology?” takes up the ways in which, beyond Horkheimer, the Frankfurt School and psychoanalysis have shaped Roediger’s historical writings on whiteness. In particular, it considers as inspirations for those writings the work of Herbert Marcuse, Wilhelm Reich, George Rawick, and the surrealist tradition.
4. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
James McMahon Aesthetics, Technology, and Democracy: An Analysis of Marcuse's Concept of the New Sensibility
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This paper will analyze Marcuse’s theorizations about a new sensibility. While many of Marcuse’s commentators have correctly emphasized the importance of aesthetics as a foundation of the new sensibility, this concept is strong because it is also tied to arguments for a new democracy. The democratic foundation of the new sensibility is crucial because the technological foundation of a new society will not, according to Marcuse, satisfy all of the wants and desires that were promised in repressive societies. Rather, a new sensibility is meant to allow for radically democratic processes that question what, in fact, true needs are.
5. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Arnold L. Farr, Douglas Kellner, Andrew T. Lamas, Charles Reitz Herbert Marcuse's Critical Refusals
6. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Herbert Marcuse From Marx to Freud to Marx: Letter to Martin Jay; Remarks to Sidney Lipshires
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Sidney Lipshires, a Marxist scholar, considered Marcuse’s shift “from Marx to Freud” problematic. Marcuse’s legitimate criticism of the conformist/adjustment elements of psychoanalytical practice seemed to Lipshires to require a recognition of theoretical weakness in Freud’s philosophical metapsychology, but this is in fact what Marcuse admires most—as explained in Eros and Civilization. Marcuse responds that Freud’s mythological material serves to recall the possibility of a nonrepressive culture! The anthropological research of Margaret Mead operates likewise. Marcuse steadfastly regards practice as political praxis, aiming at changing society as a whole, and says that Mead’s work and Freud’s work has helped him bring social theory back to Marx.
7. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Christian Garland Negating That Which Negates Us: Marcuse, Critical Theory, and the New Politics of Refusal
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Marcuse’s thought is significant for the renewal of a critical theory with a basis in radical praxis or what can be defined as a politics of refusal: the negation of that which negates us. To be sure, refusal and resistance should not be mistaken as simply passive withdrawal or retreat but the active form of a radically different mode-of-being and mode-of-doing: Marcuse’s own definition of “the Great Refusal.” It is thus possible to speak of a negative ontology, and this paper—with extensive reference to Marcuse’s thought—will aim to be a small contribution to that project.
8. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Lucio Angelo Privitello Teaching Marcuse: A Critical Pedagogy of Aesthetic Dimensions
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In “The Aesthetic Dimension” (Eros and Civilization), Marcuse envisions an aesthetic pedagogy as a crucible of the potentialities of human existence. A review of Marcuse’s use of Schiller and Otto Rank highlights Marcuse’s middle-period reflections on aesthetics—signaling the call for an aesthetic ethos where “technique would . . . tend to become art, and art would tend to form reality” (An Essay on Liberation). A reexamination of various interpretations of Marcuse’s insights on aesthetic education precedes the proposal of a critical pedagogy of aesthetic dimensions that would enhance “creative receptivity” and foster a “third way” in teaching Marcuse’s “The Aesthetic Dimension.”
9. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Russell Rockwell Marcuse's Hegelian Marxism, Marx's Grundrisse, Hegel's Dialectic
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Herbert Marcuse noted early on in his writings on social theory the importance of both Hegel’s and Marx’s development of the dialectic of necessity and freedom to conceptualize the possibility of a postcapitalist society of freedom emerging from the actually existing capitalist societies. Marcuse was not only the first Marxist to analyze all of Hegel’s philosophic works, he also recognized the significance of and provided analyses of lasting importance of previously unpublished works of Marx, principally the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and the Grundrisse. We reexamine Marcuse’s work guided by the dialectical concepts of freedom and necessity, capitalist and postcapitalist society.
10. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Andrew Feenberg From Psychology to Ontology
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Marcuse’s philosophy of nature is closely bound up with his concepts of the erotic and the aesthetic. This paper discusses the connection and shows how themes from the early Marx, Heideggerian phenomenology, and Hegel come together in his work. Marcuse’s early writings under the influence of Heidegger focus on the unity of the living human subject and its environment. The later works develop a similar conception in terms of the aesthetic relation to nature and technological transformation.
11. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Mark O'Brien Marcuse and the Language of Power: The Unfair Discourse of "Fairness" in the Coalition Government's Policy Presentation
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This paper considers the political manipulation of language in the UK governmental fairness agenda. It employs Marcuse’s analytical notion of the suppression of the transitive meaning of “the word” within “the sentence.” Further to this it links the operationalizing of language with positivist and uncritical policy epistemologies used by the UK coalition government. Using this theoretical framework the paper draws out the two broad meanings of the term “fairness” used to legitimate public-sector cuts on the one hand, and by researchers concerned with issues of structural inequality on the other.
12. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Harry van der Linden A Note from the Editor
13. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Peter-Erwin Jansen, Charles Reitz Mobilization of Bias Today: The Renewed Use of Established Techniques; A Reconsideration of Two Studies on Prejudice from the Institute for Social Research
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Racial animosities are being mobilized today by right-wing voices in the US media. Resurgent racism requires intelligent analysis and societal intervention. This essay discusses how the classic, five-volume series Studies in Prejudice, undertaken by Max Horkheimer and others in the Frankfurt School, including Herbert Marcuse, furnishes a critical foundation. The mobilization of bias with regard to historical anti-Semitic abuses was seen to depend in definite ways upon an authoritarian type of personality structure. Herbert Marcuse strengthened the analysis by emphasizing that prejudice formation must be understood as well within concrete socioeconomic conflicts and the requirements of repressive political forces.
14. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Robespierre de Oliveira Aesthetics and Politics in Today's One-Dimensional Society
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Marcuse emphasizes a dialectical relationship between aesthetics and politics. Art promotes liberation through the education of sensibility and critique of reality—the Great Refusal—while still embodying elements of the ideological system of domination. Thus, although art itself cannot change the world, it can move people to social change. In this respect, the Great Refusal serves an important political role in challenging the Establishment. This paper argues for the continued theoretical relevance of the Great Refusal and for its practical possibilities in transforming society.
15. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Aaron Pinnix Unending Fries: Mechanical Repetition in Joe Wenderoth's Letters to Wendy's
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Joe Wenderoth’s Letters to Wendy’s (2000) brings fast food under poetry’s interrogational gaze, revealing a strange world of idealized hamburgers and erotically infused Frosties. Through a close reading of four poems and aided by Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man (1964) I explore the implications of a mechanized repetition and idealized imagery which asserts itself at every stage in Western capitalism, from production to consumption. Poetry, in its engagement with the ambiguities of language, has the ability to question this process not by denying it, but rather by assuming the claims which arise out of this method of production and displaying their incongruities from within. Therefore poetic works like Letters to Wendy’s serve as important critical texts where no critique currently exists.
16. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Tyson E. Lewis A Genealogy of Life and Death: From Freud to Marcuse to Agamben
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In this paper, Tyson E. Lewis theorizes an alternative genealogy of biopolitics that enables us to historicize three distinct phases of the dialectic of life and death within overall transformations of the social and material relations of production. Freud, Marcuse, and Agamben each signal decisive transformations from death to life, life to death, and now the indistinction of death and life in a state of exception. In conclusion, Lewis argues for a new politics that does not simply champion one concept over the other but rather dwells precariously in their mutual exhaustion.
17. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Stefan Bird-Pollan Critiques of Judgment: A Kantian Reading of Marcuse
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I argue that Marcuse follows Kant’s critical distinction in mapping three basic forms of judgment: cognitive, moral, and aesthetic, all united by the underlying structure of purposiveness. Marcuse argues in Eros and Civilization that psychoanalysis has falsely identified repression as moral judgment with material need. With the gradual disappearance of material need, however, the authority of repression disappears, creating the possibility for freedom. However, the vacuum left by moral authority is replaced by cognitive and aesthetic judgments seeking to take morality’s place.
18. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Bradley J. Macdonald Marcuse, States of Exception, and the Defense Society
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Marcuse’s brief comments on the “defense society,” if suitably elaborated with selected works by Giorgio Agamben and Judith Butler, offers an unparalleled analysis of the current social and political dilemmas confronting the United States. Marcuse’s notion of a “defense society” implies a provocative framework from which to understand the way in which the “society of total mobilization” works via increased neoliberal emplacements in which all citizens’ lives are determined to be not worth living in the eyes of capitalism and in which all life needs to be framed within contexts of violence and aggression.
19. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Imaculada Kangussu Marcuse on Phantasy
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This paper elucidates the role of phantasy in comprehending the “real world.” Drawing on Marcuse’s synthesis of the Freudian definition of phantasia—an intellectual capacity and psychic activity that maintains the highest degree of autonomy from reality—and the Kantian concept of imagination (Einbildungskraft), it uses the name “Brazil” to illustrate the phantasy of an earthly paradise.
20. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Nina Power Marcuse and Feminism Revisited
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This paper examines Marcuse’s complex relationship to feminism, both in his own time and today. It examines Marcuse’s celebration of and comments on the feminism of his time alongside Ellen Willis’s criticisms of Marcuse’s characterization of consumerism as “feminized.” The paper suggests that the widespread “one-dimensionality” of Marcuse’s 1964 diagnosis remains an apt diagnostic tool when the continued exploitation of women in many ways includes their mass entry into the workforce—once seen as a liberation from the domestic sphere—and the continued pushing of consumerist models of existence as supposedly characterizing the “good life.”