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Marcuse’s Theory of the Technological-rationality Criticism and its Contemporary Significance

Author: LiuNian
Tutor: WangPing
School: Shanghai Jiaotong University
Course: The philosophy of Marxism
Keywords: Marcuse the technological-rationality criticism alienation eros non-depressive civilization aesthetic redemption
CLC: B712.59
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2013
Downloads: 75
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With the inheritation and transcendence of Hegel’s conception ofrationality, by absorbing the essential spirit of Marx’s alienation theory,with the help of the reification theory of Lukacs, starting from MaxWeber’s instrumental-rationality theory, and the absorption of Frued’sinstincts theory, Herbert Marcuse forms the unique technology-rationalitycriticism theory.The technological-rationality criticism theory of Marcusepoints out that the technological-rationality has become the rulingrationality in contemporary capitalist society. Having been merged intothe existed social system, the individual becomes the“Single-Dimensional Man” who has lost the spirit of negativity,transcendence and criticalness. In order to break the tether of thetechnological-rationality, the “new-consciousness” must be rebuilt and“new–technology” must be created. The actual realization of theliberation of human eros can only be achieved through the rebuilding of“non-depressive civilization” by transcending the principle of reality,transforming work to recreation and sublimating sexuality to eros.The technological-rationality criticism theory takes a holisticcriticism to the capitalist modernity,reveals the social function of scienceand technology in the developed industrial society and lays emphasis on the aesthetic redemption of art, figuring out the irreplaceability of artisticdimensions. While the theory fails to grasp that thetechnological-rationality is the combination of theinstrumental-rationality and the value rationality. It only focuses on thenegative social effect of the usage of science and technology and fallsinto technology pessimism as a result. Moreover, the theory wronglymistakes the technology as the political ideology and imputes thenegative social effect of the usage of science and technology to scienceand technology itself. However, hoping to rebuilt the “non-depressivecivilization” by the unrealistic eros, the theory turns out utopian for itsfantastic imagination.The technological-rationality contains significant social value, thenegative effect of its usage is caused by human themselves. Therefore, inorder to rescue humanbeings from being trapped bytechnological-rationality alienation, it is necessary to regain the valueproperty of the technological-rationality, to establish the people-orientedprinciple of the technological-rationality, to rebuild the value of humanculture and to dig deeper into the aesthetic redemption function of art, soas to realize the harmonious development of the material and spiritual ofhumanbeings.

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CLC: > Philosophy, religion > Inter-American philosophy > North American philosophy > American Philosophical > The philosophy of the twentieth century > Other
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