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Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory 2nd Edition

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1573926140
ISBN-10: 1573926140
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 439 pages
  • Publisher: Humanity Books; 2 edition (August 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573926140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573926140
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,574,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Irony Proof on June 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
I don't think the negative review above is entirely fair. My reading of Reason and Revolution is that Marcuse is saying Hegel's methodology betrays his conservative politics. Marcuse hides nothing of Hegel's conservatism, he certainly doesn't ask us to ignore it. Rather, he charges Hegel with either being inconsistent, or not realizing the full implications of his own vision. What he is really doing, more than anything, is trying to establish Marx as the dialectically necessary heir to Hegelianism. He is trying to locate historical materialism as the negation of contradictions in Hegel's own idealist system. Whether he is successful or not, probably depends on your own politics more than anything.

The stuff on Nazism is somewhat interesting. But what is probably more contemporarily important are Marcuse's attacks on positivist sociology. Throughout the second part of this book you find the genesis of many central Frankfurt School ideas. The crisis of ideology, the rise of instrumental rationality, the break in the dialectic: Marcuse anticipates much that will reappear later in Dialectic of Enlightenment and his own works. For that alone, as a bridge from humanist Marxism to the thought of the later Frankfurt School, this book is indispensable.
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Format: Paperback
Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) was a German philosopher, sociologist, and political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory, until he moved to the United States in 1934. (He was even briefly one of the "darlings" of the Student Movement of the 1960s.# He wrote other books, such as One-Dimensional Man, Eros and Civilization, An Essay on Liberation, Five Lectures: Psychoanalysis, Politics and Utopia, Negations: Essays in Critical Theory, The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward A Critique of Marxist Aesthetics, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to the 1960 edition, “This book was written in the hope that it would make a small contribution to the revival, not of Hegel, but of a mental faculty which is in danger of being obliterated: the power of negative thinking. As Hegel defines it: ‘Thinking is, indeed, essentially the negation of that which is immediately before us.’” He said in the Preface to the original (1941) edition, “In our time, the rise of Fascism calls for a reinterpretation of Hegel’s philosophy.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Condor on February 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
I agree with the previous review. However, when you pick Marcuse, you should know you are selecting no "right wing" theorist. His lore is historically significant and should be considered as an expose of a particular stream of thought, which had originated with the Enlightenment philosophy and has not ceased wielding influence over us today.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By CB on August 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Marcuse's goal in Reason and Revolution is to demonstrate that Hegel was not as right wing as people believe him to be, and that there is no excuse for using him to vindicate Nazi practice. The later is true, but the former is not. Marcuse is certainly a deeper Hegel scholar than I am, or ever will be, but page after page it's clear he's reading his own Marxism into Hegel, and not the other way around. In passages that most people would find to be reactionary, and repressive, Marcuse ask that we ignore what he's actually saying, and dwell on Hegel's method as a revolutionary method. While the method may be revolutionary, why are Hegel's results always so authoritarian?

His Chapter on Marx is interesting, but hardly worth picking the book up over, and he spends too little time defending Hegel from Kierkegaard (8 pages). In short, he concludes Kierkegaard must be wrong because Kierkegaard wants to find man's solace in religion, and despises socialism. It's not a very philosophical argument, but more of a presumptuous one, where Marcuse just presumes the reader is a socialist and/or not a christian, and therefore won't see any wisdom in Kierkegaard.

Overall a mixed bag of a book, I'm not sure I'd recommend it to anyone though.
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