Herbert Marcuse

Herbert Marcuse

Overview
Herbert Marcuse (July 19, 1898 – July 29, 1979) was a German Jewish philosopher
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, sociologist
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 and political theorist
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

, associated with the Frankfurt School
Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...

 of critical theory
Critical theory
Critical theory is an examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism...

. Celebrated as the "Father of the New Left
New Left
The New Left was a term used mainly in the United Kingdom and United States in reference to activists, educators, agitators and others in the 1960s and 1970s who sought to implement a broad range of reforms, in contrast to earlier leftist or Marxist movements that had taken a more vanguardist...

," his best known works are Eros and Civilization
Eros and Civilization
Eros and Civilization is one of German philosopher and social critic Herbert Marcuse's best known works. Written in 1955, it is a synthesis of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Its title alludes to Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents...

, One-Dimensional Man
One-Dimensional Man
One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society is a book written by philosopher Herbert Marcuse, first published in 1964....

and The Aesthetic Dimension
The Aesthetic Dimension
The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics is a book by German born philosopher Herbert Marcuse which was published in 1978...

.

Herbert Marcuse was born in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 to Carl Marcuse and Gertrud Kreslawsky and raised in a Jewish family. In 1916 he was drafted into the German Army
German Army
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following the disbanding of the Wehrmacht after World War II, it was re-established in 1955 as the Bundesheer, part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Navy and the Air Force...

, but only worked in horse stables in Berlin during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.
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Quotations

By virtue of the way it has organized its technological base, contemporary industrial society tends to be totalitarian. For "totalitarian" is not only a terroristic political coordination of society, but also a non-terroristic economic-technical coordination which operates through the manipulation of needs by vested interests.

Contemporary industrial society is now characterised more than ever by "the need for stupefying work where it is no longer a real necessity."

Encyclopedia
Herbert Marcuse (July 19, 1898 – July 29, 1979) was a German Jewish philosopher
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, sociologist
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 and political theorist
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

, associated with the Frankfurt School
Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...

 of critical theory
Critical theory
Critical theory is an examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism...

. Celebrated as the "Father of the New Left
New Left
The New Left was a term used mainly in the United Kingdom and United States in reference to activists, educators, agitators and others in the 1960s and 1970s who sought to implement a broad range of reforms, in contrast to earlier leftist or Marxist movements that had taken a more vanguardist...

," his best known works are Eros and Civilization
Eros and Civilization
Eros and Civilization is one of German philosopher and social critic Herbert Marcuse's best known works. Written in 1955, it is a synthesis of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Its title alludes to Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents...

, One-Dimensional Man
One-Dimensional Man
One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society is a book written by philosopher Herbert Marcuse, first published in 1964....

and The Aesthetic Dimension
The Aesthetic Dimension
The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics is a book by German born philosopher Herbert Marcuse which was published in 1978...

.

Early life


Herbert Marcuse was born in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 to Carl Marcuse and Gertrud Kreslawsky and raised in a Jewish family. In 1916 he was drafted into the German Army
German Army
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following the disbanding of the Wehrmacht after World War II, it was re-established in 1955 as the Bundesheer, part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Navy and the Air Force...

, but only worked in horse stables in Berlin during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. He then became a member of a Soldiers' Council that participated in the aborted socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 Spartacist uprising
Spartacist uprising
The Spartacist Uprising , also known as the January uprising , was a general strike in Germany from January 5 to January 15, 1919. Its suppression marked the end of the German Revolution...

. He completed his Ph.D. thesis at the University of Freiburg
University of Freiburg
The University of Freiburg , sometimes referred to in English as the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, is a public research university located in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.The university was founded in 1457 by the Habsburg dynasty as the...

 in 1922 on the German Künstlerroman
Künstlerroman
A Künstlerroman , meaning "artist's novel" in German, is a narrative about an artist's growth to maturity. It may be classified as a specific sub-genre of Bildungsroman; such a work, usually a novel, tends to depict the conflicts of a sensitive youth against the values of a bourgeois society of his...

 after which he moved back to Berlin, where he worked in publishing. In 1924 he married Sophie Wertheim, a mathematician. He returned to Freiburg
Freiburg
Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. In the extreme south-west of the country, it straddles the Dreisam river, at the foot of the Schlossberg. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain...

 in 1928 to study with Edmund Husserl
Edmund Husserl
Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl was a philosopher and mathematician and the founder of the 20th century philosophical school of phenomenology. He broke with the positivist orientation of the science and philosophy of his day, yet he elaborated critiques of historicism and of psychologism in logic...

 and write a Habilitation
Habilitation
Habilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...

 with Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

, which was published in 1932 as Hegel's Ontology and Theory of Historicity. This study was written in the context of the Hegel renaissance that was taking place in Europe with an emphasis on Hegel's ontology of life and history, idealist theory of spirit and dialectic. With his academic career blocked by the rise of the Third Reich, in 1933 Marcuse joined the Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

 Institute for Social Research
Institute for Social Research
The Institute for Social Research is a research organization for sociology and continental philosophy, best known as the institutional home of the Frankfurt School and critical theory....

.

In 1933, Marcuse published his first major review, of Marx's Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. In this review, Marcuse revised the interpretation of Marxism, from the standpoint of the works of the early Marx. This review helped the world see that Marcuse was becoming one of the most promising theorists of his generation.

While a member of the Institute of Social Research, Marcuse developed a model for critical social theory, created a theory of the new stage of state and monopoly capitalism, described the relationships between philosophy, social theory, and cultural criticism, and provided an analysis and critique of German fascism. Marcuse worked closely with critical theorists while at the Institute.

United States


After emigrating from Germany in 1933, in 1934, Marcuse immigrated to the United States, where he became a citizen in 1940. Although he never returned to Germany to live, he remained one of the major theorists associated with the Frankfurt School, along with Max Horkheimer
Max Horkheimer
Max Horkheimer was a German-Jewish philosopher-sociologist, famous for his work in critical theory as a member of the 'Frankfurt School' of social research. His most important works include The Eclipse of Reason and, in collaboration with Theodor Adorno, The Dialectic of Enlightenment...

 and Theodor W. Adorno
Theodor W. Adorno
Theodor W. Adorno was a German sociologist, philosopher, and musicologist known for his critical theory of society....

 (among others). In 1940 he published Reason and Revolution, a dialectical work studying G. W. F. Hegel and Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

.

During World War II Marcuse first worked for the U.S. Office of War Information
United States Office of War Information
The United States Office of War Information was a U.S. government agency created during World War II to consolidate government information services. It operated from June 1942 until September 1945...

 (OWI) on anti-Nazi propaganda projects. In 1943 he transferred to the Office of Strategic Services
Office of Strategic Services
The Office of Strategic Services was a United States intelligence agency formed during World War II. It was the wartime intelligence agency, and it was a predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency...

 (OSS), the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

. His work for the OSS involved research on Nazi Germany and denazification. After the dissolution of the OSS in 1945, Marcuse was employed by the US Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 as head of the Central European section, retiring after the death of his first wife in 1951.

In 1952 he began a teaching career as a political theorist, first at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, then at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, then at Brandeis University
Brandeis University
Brandeis University is an American private research university with a liberal arts focus. It is located in the southwestern corner of Waltham, Massachusetts, nine miles west of Boston. The University has an enrollment of approximately 3,200 undergraduate and 2,100 graduate students. In 2011, it...

 from 1958 to 1965, where he taught philosophy and politics, and finally (by then he was past the usual retirement age), at the University of California, San Diego
University of California, San Diego
The University of California, San Diego, commonly known as UCSD or UC San Diego, is a public research university located in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California, United States...

. He was a friend and collaborator of the political sociologist Barrington Moore, Jr. and of the political philosopher Robert Paul Wolff
Robert Paul Wolff
Robert Paul Wolff is a contemporary American political philosopher and professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Wolff has written widely on many topics in political philosophy such as Marxism, tolerance , political justification and democracy. Wolff is also well known for his work on...

, and also a friend of the Columbia University sociology professor C. Wright Mills
C. Wright Mills
Charles Wright Mills was an American sociologist. Mills is best remembered for his 1959 book The Sociological Imagination in which he lays out a view of the proper relationship between biography and history, theory and method in sociological scholarship...

, one of the founders of the New Left
New Left
The New Left was a term used mainly in the United Kingdom and United States in reference to activists, educators, agitators and others in the 1960s and 1970s who sought to implement a broad range of reforms, in contrast to earlier leftist or Marxist movements that had taken a more vanguardist...

 movement.

In the post-war period, Marcuse was the most explicitly political and left-wing member of the Frankfurt School, continuing to identify himself as a Marxist, a socialist, and a Hegelian.

Marcuse's critiques of capitalist
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 society (especially his 1955 synthesis of Marx and Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

, Eros and Civilization
Eros and Civilization
Eros and Civilization is one of German philosopher and social critic Herbert Marcuse's best known works. Written in 1955, it is a synthesis of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Its title alludes to Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents...

, and his 1964 book One-Dimensional Man
One-Dimensional Man
One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society is a book written by philosopher Herbert Marcuse, first published in 1964....

) resonated with the concerns of the student movement in the 1960s. Because of his willingness to speak at student protests, Marcuse soon became known as "the father of the New Left
New Left
The New Left was a term used mainly in the United Kingdom and United States in reference to activists, educators, agitators and others in the 1960s and 1970s who sought to implement a broad range of reforms, in contrast to earlier leftist or Marxist movements that had taken a more vanguardist...

 in the United States", a term he strongly disliked and disavowed. His work heavily influenced intellectual discourse on popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

 and scholarly popular culture studies
Popular culture studies
Popular culture studies is the academic discipline studying popular culture from a critical theory perspective. It is generally considered as a combination of communication studies and cultural studies....

. He had many speaking engagements in the US and Europe in the late 1960s and 1970s. He became a close friend and inspirer of the French philosopher André Gorz
André Gorz
André Gorz , pen name of Gérard Horst, born Gerhard Hirsch, also known by his pen name Michel Bosquet, was an Austrian and French social philosopher. Also a journalist, he co-founded Le Nouvel Observateur weekly in 1964...

.

Marcuse defended the arrested East German dissident Rudolf Bahro
Rudolf Bahro
Rudolf Bahro was a philosopher, political figure and author who was a noted East German dissident and who became a leader of the West German party The Greens...

 (author of Die Alternative: Zur Kritik des real existierenden Sozialismus [trans., The Alternative in Eastern Europe]), discussing in a 1979 essay Bahro's theories of "change from within" http://www.opentheory.org/marcuse_ueber_bahro/text.phtml.

Jesuit Fr. James Chevedden made a written complaint to the Superior General of the Jesuit Order, Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, regarding the promotion of the ideology of the Marxist philosopher, Herbert Marcuse at the 1998 California Jesuit Province Social Pastoral Conference.

The New Left and radical politics



Many radical scholars and activists were influenced by Marcuse, such as Angela Davis
Angela Davis
Angela Davis is an American political activist, scholar, and author. Davis was most politically active during the late 1960s through the 1970s and was associated with the Communist Party USA, the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panther Party...

, Abbie Hoffman
Abbie Hoffman
Abbot Howard "Abbie" Hoffman was a political and social activist who co-founded the Youth International Party ....

, Rudi Dutschke
Rudi Dutschke
Alfred Willi Rudi Dutschke was the most prominent spokesperson of the German student movement of the 1960s. He advocated 'a long march through the institutions' of power to create radical change from within government and society by becoming an integral part of the machinery...

, and Robert M. Young
Robert M. Young (academic)
For other people with this name, see Robert Young ----Robert Maxwell Young, usually known as Robert M. Young or Bob Young , is a historian of science specialising in the 19th century and particularly Darwinian thought, a philosopher of the biological and human sciences, and a Kleinian...

. (See the List of Scholars and Activists link, below.) Among those who critiqued him from the left were Marxist-humanist
Marxist humanism
Marxist humanism is a branch of Marxism that primarily focuses on Marx's earlier writings, especially the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 in which Marx espoused his theory of alienation, as opposed to his later works, which are considered to be concerned more with his structural...

 Raya Dunayevskaya
Raya Dunayevskaya
Raya Dunayevskaya was the founder of the philosophy of Marxist Humanism in the United States of America. At one time Leon Trotsky's secretary, she later split with him and ultimately founded the organization News and Letters Committees and was its leader until her death.-Biography:Of Jewish...

, and fellow German emigre Paul Mattick
Paul Mattick
Paul Mattick Sr. was a Marxist political writer and social revolutionary, whose thought can be placed within the council communist and left communist traditions...

, both of whom subjected One-Dimensional Man to a Marxist critique. Marcuse's 1965 essay "Repressive Tolerance
Repressive Tolerance
Repressive Tolerance is the title of a 1965 essay by Herbert Marcuse. In the essay, Marcuse, a Marxist and social theorist, argues that "pure tolerance" favors the political right and "the tyranny of the majority"....

", in which he claimed capitalist democracies
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 can have totalitarian aspects, has been criticized by conservatives. http://www.marcuse.org/herbert/booksabout/haters/haters.htm Marcuse argues that genuine tolerance does not tolerate support for "repression", since doing so ensures that marginalized voices will remain unheard. He characterizes tolerance of repressive speech as "inauthentic." Instead, he advocates a form of tolerance that is intolerant of right wing political movements:

"Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left."


"Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc"


Marcuse later expressed his radical ideas through three pieces of writing. He wrote An Essay on Liberation in 1969 celebrating liberation movements such as those in Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, which inspired many radicals. In 1972 he wrote Counterrevolution and Revolt, which argues that the hopes of the 1960s were facing a counterrevolution from the right.

After Brandeis denied the renewal of his teaching contract in 1965, Marcuse devoted the rest of his life to teaching, writing and giving lectures around the world. His efforts brought him attention from the media, which claimed that he openly advocated violence, although he often clarified that only "violence of defense" could be appropriate, not "violence of aggression." He continued to promote Marxian theory, with some of his students helping to spread his ideas. He published his final work The Aesthetic Dimension
The Aesthetic Dimension
The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics is a book by German born philosopher Herbert Marcuse which was published in 1978...

in 1979 on the role of high art in the process of what he termed "emancipation" from bourgeois society.

Marriage and death


Marcuse married three times. His first wife was mathematician
Mathematician
A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

 Sophie Wertman (1901–1951), with whom he had a son, Peter (born 1928). Herbert's second marriage was to Inge Neumann (1910–1972), the widow of his close friend Franz Neumann
Franz Leopold Neumann
Franz Leopold Neumann was a German-Jewish left-wing political activist, Marxist theorist and labor lawyer, who became a political scientist in exile and is best known for his theoretical analyses of National Socialism. He studied in Germany and the United Kingdom, and spent the last phase of...

 (1900–1954). His third wife was Erica Sherover (1938–1988), a former graduate student and forty years his junior, whom he married in 1976. His son Peter Marcuse is currently professor emeritus of Urban Planning
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

. His granddaughter is the novelist Irene Marcuse
Irene Marcuse
Irene Marcuse is an American writer.Marcuse is the author of many mystery novels.She is the granddaughter of social philosopher Herbert Marcuse.She holds a BA in Literature and Creative Writing and an MSW in social work from Columbia University.-Books:...

 and his grandson, Harold Marcuse
Harold Marcuse
Harold Marcuse is an American professor of modern and contemporary German history. He teaches at the University of California, Santa Barbara.- Education :...

, is currently a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara
University of California, Santa Barbara
The University of California, Santa Barbara, commonly known as UCSB or UC Santa Barbara, is a public research university and one of the 10 general campuses of the University of California system. The main campus is located on a site in Goleta, California, from Santa Barbara and northwest of Los...

.

On July 29, 1979, ten days after his eighty-first birthday, Marcuse died after having suffered a stroke during a visit to Germany. He had spoken at the Frankfurt Römerberggespräche, and was on his way to the Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of the Scientific-Technical World in Starnberg, on invitation from second-generation Frankfurt School theorist Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'...

. In 2003, after his ashes were rediscovered in the USA, he was buried in the Dorotheenstädtischer cemetery
Dorotheenstädtischer cemetery
The Dorotheenstadt cemetery, officially the "Cemetery of the Dorotheenstadt und Friedrichswerder Parishes", is a landmarked Protestant burial ground located in the Berlin district of Mitte which dates to the late 18th century...

, Berlin.

Marcuse and capitalism


Marcuse’s analysis of capitalism derives partially from one of Karl Marx’s main concepts: Objectification., which under capitalism becomes Alienation. Marx believed that capitalism was exploiting humans; that the objects produced by laborers became alienated and thus ultimately dehumanized them to functional objects. Marcuse took this belief and expanded it. He argued that capitalism and industrialization pushed laborers so hard that they began to see themselves as extensions of the objects they were producing. At the beginning of One-Dimensional Man Marcuse writes, “The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment,” meaning that under capitalism (in consumer society) humans become extensions of the commodities that they create, thus making commodities extensions of people's minds and bodies and calling into question the notion of alienation.

Marcuse's early "Heideggerian Marxism"


During his years in Freiburg, Marcuse wrote a series of essays that explored the possibility of synthesizing Marxism and Heidegger's fundamental ontology, as begun in the latter's work "Being and Time" (1927). Though he eventually came to distance himself from Heidegger's thought, it has been suggested by thinkers such as Juergen Habermas that an understanding of Marcuse's later thinking demands an appreciation of his early Heideggerian influence.

Notable works

  • Reason and Revolution
    Reason and Revolution
    Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory, published by Herbert Marcuse in 1941, is a dialectical study of the social theories of Hegel and Marx...

    (1941) Presents the Hegelian Perspective along with a critique of Marxism and positivist philosophy.
  • Eros and Civilization
    Eros and Civilization
    Eros and Civilization is one of German philosopher and social critic Herbert Marcuse's best known works. Written in 1955, it is a synthesis of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Its title alludes to Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents...

    (1955) The use of Freud's ideas on life and death to critique how modern culture changes and isolates desire.
  • One-Dimensional Man
    One-Dimensional Man
    One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society is a book written by philosopher Herbert Marcuse, first published in 1964....

    (1964) Marcuse's concerns about modern capitalism restricting the possibility of opposition. He believed that the industrialization was creating a one-dimensional way of thought and behavior which decreased opposition towards capitalism.

See also

  • Neo-Marxism
    Neo-Marxism
    Neo-Marxism is a loose term for various twentieth-century approaches that amend or extend Marxism and Marxist theory, usually by incorporating elements from other intellectual traditions, such as: critical theory, psychoanalysis or Existentialism .Erik Olin Wright's theory of contradictory class...

  • Freudo-Marxism
    Freudo-Marxism
    Freudo-Marxism is a loose designation of several twentieth-century critical theory schools of thought that sought to synthesize the philosophy and political economy of Karl Marx with the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud....

  • Theodor Adorno
  • Walter Benjamin
    Walter Benjamin
    Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin was a German-Jewish intellectual, who functioned variously as a literary critic, philosopher, sociologist, translator, radio broadcaster and essayist...

  • Erich Fromm
    Erich Fromm
    Erich Seligmann Fromm was a Jewish German-American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was associated with what became known as the Frankfurt School of critical theory.-Life:Erich Fromm was born on March 23, 1900, at Frankfurt am...

  • Wilhelm Reich
    Wilhelm Reich
    Wilhelm Reich was an Austrian-American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, known as one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry...

  • André Gorz
    André Gorz
    André Gorz , pen name of Gérard Horst, born Gerhard Hirsch, also known by his pen name Michel Bosquet, was an Austrian and French social philosopher. Also a journalist, he co-founded Le Nouvel Observateur weekly in 1964...

  • Jürgen Habermas
    Jürgen Habermas
    Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'...

  • Max Horkheimer
    Max Horkheimer
    Max Horkheimer was a German-Jewish philosopher-sociologist, famous for his work in critical theory as a member of the 'Frankfurt School' of social research. His most important works include The Eclipse of Reason and, in collaboration with Theodor Adorno, The Dialectic of Enlightenment...

  • Georg Lukács
    Georg Lukács
    György Lukács was a Hungarian Marxist philosopher and literary critic. He is a founder of the tradition of Western Marxism. He contributed the concept of reification to Marxist philosophy and theory and expanded Karl Marx's theory of class consciousness. Lukács' was also an influential literary...

  • C. Wright Mills
    C. Wright Mills
    Charles Wright Mills was an American sociologist. Mills is best remembered for his 1959 book The Sociological Imagination in which he lays out a view of the proper relationship between biography and history, theory and method in sociological scholarship...

  • Sigmund Freud
    Sigmund Freud
    Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

  • Gerhard Stapelfeldt
    Gerhard Stapelfeldt
    Gerhard Stapelfeldt is a German sociologist. He was a university teacher at University of Hamburg until December 2010....

  • G. W. F. Hegel
  • William Friedrich

Further reading

  • John Abromeit and W. Mark Cobb, eds. (2004) Herbert Marcuse: A Critical Reader, New York, London: Routledge.
  • Harold Bleich (1977) The Philosophy of Herbert Marcuse, Washington, D.C.: University Press of America.
  • Paul Breines (1970) Critical Interruptions: New Left Perspectives on Herbert Marcuse, New York: Herder and Herder.
  • Alfred C. Fred (1985) Science and Revenge of Nature: Marcuse and Habermas, Gainesville: University of Florida Press.
  • Christian Fuchs (2005). Emanzipation! Technik und Politik bei Herbert Marcuse. Aachen: Shaker. ISBN 3-8322-3999-5.
  • Christian Fuchs (2005). Herbert Marcuse interkulturell gelesen. Interkulturelle Bibliothek Vol. 15. Nordhausen: Bautz. ISBN 3-88309-175-8.
  • Douglas Kellner
    Douglas Kellner
    Douglas Kellner is a “third generation” critical theorist in the tradition of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, or Frankfurt School. Kellner was an early theorist of the field of critical media literacy and has been a leading theorist of media culture generally...

     (1984). Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism. London: Macmillan. ISBN 9780520052956.
  • Herbert Marcuse (1998) Technology, War and Fascism, London: Routeledge.
  • Alain Martineau (1986). Herbert Marcuse’s Utopia, Harvest House, Montreal. ISBN 0-88772-027-7.

External links