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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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.
"The scholarly care and political mindfulness of Javier Sethness Castro’s study may stimulate a return to Marcuse. The reward that awaits is more than insight into Marcuse’s ideas and humanity: it may help us become more fully acquainted with our own historical-political context and our own emancipatory potential today." - Charles Reitz, in: Radical Philosophy Review 24/1 (2021)

1. Introduction: Marcuse, the Utopian
Idealism, Materialism, Romanticism, and Judaism
Marcuse's Importance for Radical Politics Today


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)


7. Nature and Revolution
Nature, Evolution, and Morality
“Repressive Tolerance” and Radical Struggle for Animal and Earth Liberation Today

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


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

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.