In Rousseau and Critical Theory, Alessandro Ferrara argues that among the modern philosophers who have shaped the world we inhabit, Rousseau is the one to whom we owe the idea that identity can be a source of normativity (moral and political) and that an identity’s potential for playing such a role rests on its capacity for being authentic. This normative idea of authenticity brings unity to Rousseau’s reflections on the negative effects of the social order, on the just political order, on education, and more generally, on ethics. It is also shown to contain important teachings for contemporary Critical Theory, contemporary views of self-constitution (Korsgaard, Frankfurt and Larmore), and contemporary political philosophy.
Marx and Critical Theory examines Marx’s main philosophical, political and social theoretical ideas. Its purpose is twofold: making sense of the concepts and theses of Marx, and showing that they remain relevant for contemporary critical theory. Part 1 focuses on Marx’s conception of philosophy. Part 2 analyses the Marxian primacy of the practical. Part 3 is devoted to Capital and the critique of political economy. This book will be useful for those who want to deepen their understanding of Marx’s main ideas, as well as for those who want to clarify what is at stake in contemporary debates about the ways in which contemporary critical theory could or should refer to Marx.