Eros and Revolution

The Critical Philosophy of Herbert Marcuse


In Eros and Revolution, Javier Sethness Castro presents a comprehensive intellectual and political biography of the world-renowned critical theorist Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979). Investigating the origins and development of Marcuse's dialectical approach vis-à-vis Hegel, Marx, Fourier, Heidegger, and Freud as well as the central figures of the Frankfurt School—Horkheimer, Adorno, Neumann, Fromm, and Benjamin—Sethness Castro chronicles the radical philosopher's lifelong activism in favor of anti-capitalism, anti-fascism, and anti-authoritarianism together with Marcuse's defiant revindication of global libertarian-socialist revolution as the precondition for the realization of reason, freedom, and human happiness. Beyond examining Marcuse's revolutionary life and contributions, moreover, the author contemplates the philosopher's relevance to contemporary struggle, especially with regard to ecology, feminism, anarchism, and the general cause of worldwide social transformation.
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Biographical Note

Javier Sethness Castro, MSc. (2008), London School of Economics, is the author of Imperiled Life: Revolution against Climate Catastrophe (Institute for Anarchist Studies/AK Press, 2012) and For a Free Nature: Critical Theory, Social Ecology, and Post-Developmentalism (Lambert Academic Press, 2013). He contributed to Multidimensional Marcuse: Radical Thought/Action Today (Palgrave-MacMillan, forthcoming) and has participated in several International Herbert Marcuse Society conferences.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements 1. Introduction: Marcuse, the Utopian Idealism, Materialism, Romanticism, and Judaism Marcuse's Importance for Radical Politics Today PART I: MARCUSE'S LIFE, 1898-1979 2. Early Years: Childhood and Youth, War and Revolution, Romanticism, Utopian Socialism, Hegel, Marx, and Heidegger Childhood and Youth, War and Revolution Post-War Investigations: Aesthetics, German Romanticism, and Hegel Friedrich Schiller and Charles Fourier: Utopian Socialism Marcuse's Torturous Relationship with Heidegger Heideggerian Marxism Hegel's Ontology and the Theory of Historicity (1932) Hitler's Accession and Flight of the Marcuse Family and the Frankfurt School 3. Militant Theorizing in Resistance to Fascism, 1933-1945 Negations (1934-1938) Studies on Authority and Family Marcuse's Direct Investigations of Nazism Early Theories of Social Change The Progression of Marcuse's Thought on Art's Functions Under Fascism Reason and Revolution (1941) 4. State, Freud, and Orphic Marxism: 1945-1960 Post-War Studies: “33 Theses,” Francis Bacon, Lukács, Goethe, Friedrich Hölderin, and Erasmus Continued Investigations of Historical Progress, Russian Studies, and the Trajectory of Communism and Reason during the Early Cold War Communism and Reason during the Early Cold War On Sartre's Existentialism Orphic Marxism and the Struggle of Eros against Thanatos Lectures on Freedom and Progress in Freud's Theory of the Instincts Marcuse's Debate with Fromm on Freud, Therapy, and Adjustment Soviet Marxism: A Critical Analysis (1958) The Ideology of Death 5. Radical Struggle in the 1960s Marcuse on Cuba Continued Engagement with Critical Theorists and Lecture on Weber Humanism, Feminism, and Revolution Critical Reflections on Science and Technology One-Dimensional Humanity: Diagnosis, Reflections, and Recommendations Marcuse on Marx, Louis Napoleon, and Benjamin Justification of Revolutionary Praxis: “Repressive Tolerance,” “Ethics and Revolution,” Guerrilla Warfare, “The Question of Revolution,” and “Thoughts on the Defense of Gracchus Babeuf” Psychoanalytical Interventions Activism against the Vietnam War Summer 1967 Lectures before the German SDS and Congress of the Dialectics of Liberation: On Utopia, Radical Opposition, and Violence 1968: A New Dawn for Humanity? An Essay on Liberation (1969) Other Interventions from 1969: On Student Protest, “The Relevance of Reality,” Qualitative Change, and Self-Determination The 1969 Debate with Adorno on Theory and Praxis Revisiting “Repressive Tolerance” and Civil Rights with the ACLU and Fred Schwarz of the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade “Marxism and the New Humanity: An Unfinished Revolution” “Freedom and the Historical Imperative” 6. Marcuse's Final Decade: Continuities, Discontinuities, and Intensification (1970-1979) Marcuse's Assessment of the State of the Radical Opposition in the Early 1970s: “Cultural Revolution,” “The Movement in a New Age of Repression,” and “A Revolution in Values” Revolution or Reform? Marcuse's Debate with Popper Counterrevolution and Revolt (1972) Marcuse's Late Championing of Feminism International Relations: Vietnam and Israel/Palestine Continued Engagement with Aesthetics “It is Right to Revolt” and “Theory and Politics”: Late Discussions with Sartre and Habermas Marcuse's Final Interventions in Life: On Political Violence, the New Left, the U.S.Bicentennial, “The Reification of the Proletariat,” Rudolf Bahro, Technology, and Ecology The Aesthetic Dimension (1978) PART II: REFLECTIONS ON MARCUSE 7. Nature and Revolution Nature, Evolution, and Morality “Repressive Tolerance” and Radical Struggle for Animal and Earth Liberation Today Conclusion 8. Critique of Marcuse The Limits to Integration The Problem of Sources: Political Philosophy and Empirics Marcuse the Edelkommunist Marcuse the Zionist? Feminism, Gender, Eros Conflicts with Poststructuralism and Postmodernism Marcuse on Authority and the Transition: Between Jacobinism and Anarchism PART III: CONCLUSION 9. Marcusean Politics in the Twenty-First Century Radical Ecological Politics Feminist Socialism and Anarcha-Feminism The “World Mind” in International Relations: Global Anti-Authoritarianism Means and Ends: The Question of Counter-Violence Close: Eros and Revolution References Index


All those interested in Critical Theory, Marxism, anarchism, social and political psychology, radical philosophy, existentialism, Romanticism, feminism, ecology, anti-militarism, and revolutionism: academic and public libraries, specialists, undergraduate and graduate students.