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Heideggerian Marxism

Herbert Marcuse

Publication Year: 2005

The Frankfurt School philosopher Herbert Marcuse (1898–1979) studied with Martin Heidegger at Freiburg University from 1928 to 1932 and completed a dissertation on Hegel’s theory of historicity under Heidegger’s supervision. During these years, Marcuse wrote a number of provocative philosophical essays experimenting with the possibilities of Heideggerian Marxism. For a time he believed that Heidegger’s ideas could revitalize Marxism, providing a dimension of experiential concreteness that was sorely lacking in the German Idealist tradition. Ultimately, two events deterred Marcuse from completing this program: the 1932 publication of Marx’s early economic and philosophical manuscripts, and Heidegger’s conversion to Nazism a year later. Heideggerian Marxism offers rich and fascinating testimony concerning the first attempt to fuse Marxism and existentialism.
These essays offer invaluable insight concerning Marcuse’s early philosophical evolution. They document one of the century’s most important Marxist philosophers attempting to respond to the “crisis of Marxism”: the failure of the European revolution coupled with the growing repression in the USSR. In response, Marcuse contrived an imaginative and original theoretical synthesis: “existential Marxism.”

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Series: European Horizons


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

The idea for this volume evolved from a remarkable 1998 conference held at the University of California, Berkeley, and organized by John Abromeit and W. Mark Cobb in honor of Herbert Marcuse's centennial...

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Introduction: What Is Heideggerian Marxism?

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pp. xi-xxx

Since Habermas first wrote these words some thirty-five years ago, more information concerning Marcuse's youthful Heideggerian allegiances has come to light. But confusions and misunderstandings persist. By collecting the philosopher"s early...

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1. Contributions to a Phenomenology of Historical Materialism

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pp. 1-33

The object of the investigation must first be provisionally determined according to its givenness. Marxism, in whose epistemological context historical materialism enters into history, does not appear in the form of a scientific theory-as a system of truths whose meaning rests wholly in its...

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2. On Concrete Philosophy

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pp. 34-52

We begin our investigation with a consideration of philosophizing as the human activity in which philosophy constitutes itself.1 Philosophizing, if one takes the meaning of this word seriously, is a mode of human existence. Human existence is in all its modes subject to the question of its...

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3. On the Problem of the Dialectic

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pp. 53-85

In the framework of this journal, the full-length acknowledgment and review of a book with purely philosophical intentions is justified by the central position that the dialectic occupies within Marxism, and through the insights that...

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4. New Sources on the Foundation of Historical Materialism

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pp. 86-121

The publication of the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts written by Marx in 1844 must become a crucial event in the history of Marxist studies.1 These manuscripts could put the discussion about the origins and original meaning of historical materialism, and the entire...

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5. On the Philosophical Foundations of the Concept of Labor in Economics

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pp. 122-150

It has seemed superfluous to attempt a fundamental determination of the concept of labor ever since the tacit agreement was made in economic theory to avoid a "definitional" determination of labor as such and to conceive of labor only as economic activity, as praxis within the economic...

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6. German Philosophy, 1871-1933

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pp. 151-164

Between 1871 and 1933 the German philosophical tradition experienced a dramatic shift: with neo-Kantianism, it began with the attempt to renew philosophy by establishing it as an exact science (following the example of mathematics) and ended...

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7. Heidegger's Politics: An Interview

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pp. 165-175

Frederick Olafson: Professor Marcuse, you are very widely known as a social philosopher and a Marxist; but I think there are relatively few who know that Martin Heidegger and his philosophy played a considerable role in your...

8. Postscript: My Disillusionment with Heidegger

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pp. 176


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pp. 177-189


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pp. 191-222

Publication History

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pp. 223-224


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pp. 225-227

E-ISBN-13: 9780803250550
E-ISBN-10: 080325055X

Page Count: 228
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: European Horizons