Ritual, spirituality, and culturally varying standards of conduct and decency can come to play both instructional roles in the production and use of technical artifacts, as well as providing the incentives for their production and deployment. So far, to the extent that other modes of production can be envisioned beyond the current stage of consumer capitalism, I contend Marcuse has the upper hand. My criticisms can be summarised as follows:. As mentioned, his final major works: An Essay on Liberation, Counterrevolution and Revolt and The Aesthetic Dimension substantially differ from earlier writings in terms of their renewed optimism, but also in their almost playfully ironic tone and their bewildering categorial complexity.
The New Left and the s is the third volume of Herbert Marcuse's collected papers. In , Marcuse published a major study of advanced industrial society, . Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse, Vol. 3. The New Left and the s. Edited by Douglas Kellner. Introduction by Douglas Kellner. Preface by Angela Davis.
Within them Marcuse places a strong emphasis on nature both human and non-human variants and returns to the domain of the arts, especially literature, as a basis upon which to construct a renewed harmony between agents and things. Man would then form a living object. Further, given the highfalutin feature of his ideas in this context, it is hard to see how it would be convincing in practice, rather than of merely philosophical interest.
Instead, he tried out a whole series of unsatisfactory explanations for the concept of nature he derived from Marx. Whereas scientism on the one hand takes categories appropriate to nature and misapplies them to the social realm, what happens in Marcuse is that categories appropriate to the social realm get misapplied to the natural one. Domination and liberation are ethical categories that have to do with relations between people, and nature is not a person.
In defence of Marcuse, there is a hint of the Straw Man in this passage, as although he called for the treatment of nature as a subject, to my knowledge, he did not argue that it ought be treated as one would a person or a moral agent as such.
If it were demonstrable that the abolition of domination is biologically impossible, then I would say, the idea of abolishing domination is a utopia. I do not believe that anyone has yet demonstrated this. What is probably biologically impossible is to get away without any repression whatsoever. It may be self-imposed, it may be imposed by others. But that is not identical with domination. In Marxian theory and long before it a distinction was made between rational authority and domination.
The authority of an airplane pilot, for example, is rational authority. It is impossible to imagine a condition in which the passengers would tell the pilot what to do. The traffic policeman is another typical example of rational authority.
These things are probably biological necessities, but political domination, domination based on exploitation, oppression, is not. Of course, technical development itself can only but be directed toward a mastery of various elements of nature; those that are mastered in the production of the artifacts themselves, as well as those ends which they are set to perform. Indeed, addressing the question of technology in an environmental context is today of the utmost importance, however, again, it seems vanishingly likely that established economic motivations and incentives could be replaced by those from within nature, or the aesthetic realm any time soon, unless, that is, the worst were to occur.
Habermas, Afterword. Kellner ed. Wolin and J. Abromeit eds.
J Shapiro, Beacon Press, Boston, , p. Feenberg leaves this quotation unreferenced in his Questioning Technology Routledge, London, , p. See: J. Habermas, Toward a Rational Society , cit.
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For her, it was these new social forces that retained the revolutionary impulse and offered real alternatives in the dialectic of liberation. Title Author Advanced Search. The Political Thought of James Forman. Highlander: No Ordinary School, Add to Basket. A key reason for the subsequent defects in his analysis stem from this foundation in what is, essentially, Orthodox Marxist categories for understanding the transition to socialism.
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