Critical Theory and Democratic Vision: Herbert Marcuse and Recent Liberation Philosophies

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Lexington Books, 2009 - Philosophy - 188 pages
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The most broad and general description of critical theory (one of the most important movements in social and political philosophy in the twentieth and now twenty-first century) is that it is a synthesis of Marxist social critique and Freudian psychoanalysis with traces of German idealism. Farr argues that the goal demand for social change by critical theorists is rooted in a desire for the completion of the U.S. democratic experiment. There is too much exploitation, surplus repression, alienation, dehumanization, oppression, and gross economic inequality in the U.S. for us to believe that we have achieved a complete or finished democracy. Herbert Marcuse's form of critical theory provides us with important theoretical tools for addressing the ways in which our attempt to create a democratic society based on fairness, justice, and equality has been de-railed. While Marcuse experienced tremendous popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, his popularity has since waned in academic circles as well as in public political discourse. This book is an attempt to rescue from obscurity some of Marcuse's most helpful insights with respect to progressive, democratic social change. Its unique feature is an attempt to put Marcuse in dialogue with what Farr calls recent liberation philosophies such as feminism and African American philosophy. He takes all of these forms of philosophy to be driven by a democratic impulse whereby we are made to realize that there are many social groups that have been excluded from democratic decision-making processes.
 

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Contents

1 Liberation Philosophy and Democratic Struggles
1
The Early Marcuse
15
3 The Retrieval of Eros and the Quest for a New Sensibility
39
Beyond Drive Theory
63
5 OneDimensional Society and the Demise of Dialectical Thinking
77
Beyond OneDimensional Man
99
The Challenge of Race Class Gender and Sexual Orientation
119
8 Marcuse and Discourse Ethics Second Generation Critical Theory and The Paradigm of Discourse Ethics
137
Educating for a New Sensibility
161
INDEX
181
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About the author (2009)

Arnold L. Farr is associate professor of philosophy and director of the Africana Studies Program at Saint Joseph's University.

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