Herbert Marcuse

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Marcuse, Herbert

(märko͞o`zə), 1898–1979, U.S. political philosopher, b. Berlin. He was educated at the Univ. of Freiburg and with Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer founded the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research. A special target of the Nazis because of his Jewish origins and Marxist politics, he emigrated (1934) to the United States and became a naturalized citizen in 1940. Marcuse served with the Office of Strategic Services during World War II and later taught at Harvard, Columbia, and Brandeis before becoming (1965) professor of philosophy at the Univ. of California at San Diego. He is best known for his attempt to synthesize Marxian and Freudian theories into a comprehensive critique of modern industrial society. In One Dimensional Man (1964), his most popular book, he argued for a sexual basis to the social and political repression in contemporary America; the book made him a hero of New Left radicals and provided a rationale for the student revolts of the 1960s in the United States and Europe. His other works include Reason and Revolution (1941), Eros and Civilization (1955), An Essay on Liberation (1969), and Counterrevolution and Revolt (1972).


See studies by A. MacIntyre (1970), P. Mattick (1972), J. Woddis (1972), C. Fred Alford (1985), and P. Line (1985); R. Wolin, Heidegger's Children (2001).

Marcuse, Herbert


Born July 19, 1898, in Berlin. German-American philosopher and sociologist.

With T. Adorno and M. Horkheimer, Marcuse founded the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research. He has lived in the USA since 1934. During World War II he worked in the news agencies of the American intelligence service, writing antifascist articles. Marcuse was an “expert” at the Russian Institute at Columbia University and at the Russian Center at Harvard University during the 1950’s. A professor at Brandeis University from 1954 to 1965, he has taught at the University of California since 1965.

Marcuse’s views were formed under the influence of the ideas of M. Heidegger and, especially, of Hegel and Freud. At the same time, he manifested an unflagging interest in the teachings of Marx, extensively utilizing his categories and certain of his ideas, which he often interpreted in the spirit of modern bourgeois philosophy and sociology. According to Marcuse, the development of science and technology makes it possible for the ruling class of contemporary capitalist society to form, through the mechanism of needs, a new type of mass, “one-dimensional man” with an atrophied capacity for social criticism. Thus, the capitalist ruling class is able “to restrain and prevent social changes.” Under the impact of “false” needs imposed on it, the working class of the developed capitalist countries enters the race to consume, becomes “integrated” into the social whole, and loses its revolutionary role. Thus, according to Marcuse, the revolutionary initiative in “developed” society passes to “outsiders” (members of the lumpenproletariat, persecuted national minorities, and the unemployed, for example), as well as to radical strata of the students and the humanitarian intelligentsia. On a worldwide scale the bearers of revolutionary initiative are the unfortunate masses of the “poor” countries, who stand in opposition to the “rich” countries, which, in Marcuse’s view, include both the imperialist and the developed socialist countries.

Viewing the institutions of bourgeois democracy as tools for the nonviolent suppression of opposition, Marcuse insists upon the “radical rejection” of legal forms of struggle as a “parliamentary game.” He denies the revolutionary role of the Marxist parties of the developed capitalist countries, as well as the revolutionary essence of their political programs. In objective terms, Marcuse’s Utopia, which is a manifestation of a variety of “post-industrial” romanticism, promotes the disunity and disorientation of anticapitalist forces.


Hegels Ontologie und die Grundlegung einer Theorie der Geschichtlichkeit. Frankfurt Am Main, 1932.
Reason and Revolution. London, 1941.
Eros and Civilization. Boston, 1955.
Soviet Marxism, a Critical Analysis. London, 1958.
One-Dimensional Man. Boston, 1964.
A Critique of Pure Tolerance. Boston, 1965. (With B. Moore and R. Wolff.)
Das Ende der Utopie. Berlin, 1967.
An Essay on Liberation. Boston, 1969.
Counterrevolution and Revolt. Boston, 1972.


Zamoshkin, Iu. A., and N. V. Motroshilova. “Kritichna li ’kriticheskaia teoriia obshchestva’ G. Markuze.” Voprosy filosofii, 1968, no. 10.
Batalov, E. Ia. Filosofiia bunta. Moscow, 1973.
Krasin, Iu. A. “Markuzianstvo v tupike protivorechii.” Voprosy filosofii, 1973, no. 6.
Steigerwald, R. Tretii put’ Gerberta Markuze. Moscow, 1971. (Translated from German.)
Woddis, J. New Theories of Revolution. London, 1972.


Marcuse, Herbert

(1898–1979) political philosopher; born in Berlin, Germany. Fleeing Hitler, he came to the U.S.A. in 1934 and was naturalized in 1940; much of his career was spent at Brandeis University (1954–65) and the University of California: San Diego (1965–70). A committed but critical Marxist, he made a synthesis of Marx and Freud in Eros and Civilization (1955). After the publication of One-Dimensional Man (1964), which criticized capitalist societies as repressive, he won notoriety as an inspiration to and apologist for the New Left movement of the 1960s. He retired in La Jolla, Calif., continuing to travel and lecture; in 1971 he was shouted down by European radicals, and he died in Germany where he had gone to lecture.
References in periodicals archive ?
Kellner D, 1984, Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism (University of California Press, Berkeley, CA)
While the collection presents essays on dominant figures, including the 'less optimistic' Adorno and Horkheimer and the 'hopeful and unsure' Herbert Marcuse, it also provides analyses and assessments of Walter Benjamin and Siegfried Kracauer, both of whom witnessed 'democratic moments and possibilities of emancipation' in cultural production (pp.
With the exceptions of Erich Fromm's influence on the rising New Left, Herbert Marcuse in the later 1960s, and the early Jurgen Habermas in Germany, critical theory has had little public effect, as Stephen Eric Bronner points out in an earlier work (Of Critical Theory and Its Theorists, 166).
Lemm encuentra afinidades entre el antagonismo identificado por Nietzsche entre civilizacion y cultura, propio de la Ilustracion, y la teoria critica de Theodor Adorno y Herbert Marcuse.
Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilisation, London, Abacus, 1972, p41.
Adorno, Marx Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Henrich Grossmann, Walter Benjamin, Franz Neumann, Otto Kirschheimer, Leo Lowental, Alfred Schmidt y Erich Fromm entre 1931 y 1973, y el nombre que, asociado a la ciudad de Francfort y a su universidad, exploran actualmente a su favor algunos "herederos innobles" del grupo original, quienes con Jurgen Habermas, Axel Honneth y Helmut Dubiel a la cabeza desde hace mucho tiempo abandonaron el programa y los postulados teoricos de la teoria critica--aunque aun se presentan socialmente como segunda o tercera generacion de la Escuela de Francfort--.
Therefore indication to this type of security threat, may also be in the function of hiding strong totalitarian, profit-motivated economic tendencies of the modern democratic society, the same company that Herbert Marcuse described as "pleasant, well established, sensible, democratic lack of freedom" (Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man).
She has also employed the writings of the mystic Marguerite Porete and the philosopher Herbert Marcuse.
Due reference is made to the active influence of the Frankfurt School, and Herbert Marcuse (Angela Davis' professor and mentor) in particular, on both the American and the German New Left.
En la BBC de Londres Bryan Magee dio una leccion de como hacer television de alta cultura, aunque nos suene contradictoria la expresion: fue conversando con filosofos de altura (como Berlin, Charles Taylor, Herbert Marcuse o Bernard Williams) y puso frente a los aspectadores una trama distinta que fundamentalmente exigia para su comprension un bagaje de conocimientos minimos y un buen animo, Los grandes temas de la filosofia fueron desfilando de esta forma ante un publico en nada reducido que fue enterandose de lo que es la filosofia y de su desarrollo mas notable, por ejemplo en las Ideas de Marx o en los avances del positivismo logico,
HERBERT MARCUSE WAS WIDELY REGARDED AS a leading intellectual figure of the "sexual revolution" that marked North American popular culture in the 1960s.
Ernst Bloch, William Morris, and Herbert Marcuse each get their own chapter.