Herbert Marcuse

Herbert Marcuse [ marku zə ː ] ( born July 19, 1898 in Berlin, † July 29, 1979 in Starnberg ) was a German - American philosopher, political scientist and sociologist.

Life and work

Training and early research

Herbert Marcuse was born the son of a Jewish textile manufacturer from Pomerania. 1916, after the Notabitur, he was drafted into the imperial army. In 1917, he joined the SPD. After the military collapse of Germany, he was elected in 1918 in the Soldiers in Reinickendorf, from which he resigned claims to be, as former generals were elected into.

Marcuse 1918 began with the study of German literature and the more recent history of German literature in the main compartment, philosophy and economics with a minor in first four semesters in Berlin, then four semester in Freiburg. After the assassination of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxembourg Marcuse left in early 1919 the SPD. At this point it was clear to him, he said in 1977 in an interview with Jürgen Habermas, that his political attitude could only be uncompromising directed against the policies of the SPD and was revolutionary in that sense.

Marcuse in 1922 received his doctorate with a thesis on the German novel of the artist. He then worked in the book trade and publishing in Berlin. In 1924 he married Sophie Wertheim. In 1928 he continued his studies of philosophy continued with Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. On the one hand he admired Heidegger's " Concrete philosophy," but at the same time criticized the individualism and ahistorical approach. His intention to habilitation with Heidegger in Freiburg on Hegel's Ontology and the Theory of Historicity did not materialize. The work was published in 1932 yet.

This year, Marcuse also dealt with the first published as part of the first complete edition of Marx-Engels- Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of Karl Marx. Marx's early writings in 1844 influenced Marcuse's philosophy greatly. He wrote in 1932 first interpretations of the manuscripts in the journal Society. There he criticized Marx capitalism as the ultimate crisis of the human being. Under capitalist conditions träten essence and existence of man apart, the man is " alienated " and could not unfold its options accordingly. Although the " nature philosophy " later receded into the background in Marx or, according to another reading was abandoned, they remained for determining Marcuse also in later works.


After the transfer of power to Hitler Marcuse left Germany in 1933 and went to Switzerland. In Geneva, he joined the emigrated from Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, which was led by Max Horkheimer. In the short term Marcuse also worked for the Paris branch of the Institute, before he finally emigrated to the United States in 1934.

In the journal of the Institute for Social Research in 1934 Marcuse's essay appeared in The struggle against liberalism in the totalitarian view of the state, in which he dealt among other things with Heidegger's position to Nazism. He lectures in particular Heidegger's rectorial address that is running in that science should be devoted to the service of the people. The spiritual movement has power to preserve the " soil and blood adhere to the" forces of the people; Moreover, he quotes a phrase of Heidegger from the Freiburg student newspaper of November 1933: "The Führer himself and alone is the present and future German reality and its law. " On Heidegger, Marcuse turned in 1947 and urged him to distance himself publicly from National Socialism what this however refused.

In übergesiedelten to New York Institute for Social Research Marcuse received a permanent position. He was the first followed Horkheimer in May 1941 to the West Coast to Los Angeles, to take with him planned by Horkheimer Dialectic book in attack. But Adorno was intended obviously. Hoped Horkheimer initially, from Marcuse, Adorno, and " to make a good team " himself, Marcuse saw himself but by the economic situation of the institution and the urge Max Horkheimer compelled, in 1942 a new position in Washington, DC the Office of Strategic Services (OSS ) to accept. Here he worked in a group that included, among other things, the intellectuals H. Stuart Hughes and Franz Neumann. For an OSS successor organization he worked after the war until 1951 also at times when Europe Sectional ladder. 1951 to 1954 he worked at the Russian Institute of Columbia University and Harvard to studies of the Soviet Marxism.

Marcuse in 1954 received his first professorship of philosophy and political science at Brandeis University in Waltham (Massachusetts ). In 1964 he became a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego. In addition to his teaching there, he took 1965 as an associate professor at the Free University of Berlin.

Influence on the student movement

In the U.S., his two major works Eros and Civilization, published in 1955, One- Dimensional Man 1964. Both works and the writings of Repressive Tolerance in 1965 and to the anthology Studies on Authority and the Family from 1936 are among the most important works of critical theory and were among the standard works of the student movement in the world, mainly in the USA and Germany. 1967 and 1969 he spent several months in Europe. Marcuse gave lectures with discussions to students in Berlin, Paris, London and Rome.

Herbert Marcuse put a critical look at the Soviet - Marxism. He raised the question of whether Marxism was transformed in Stalinism beyond recognition. Shortly before his death, he called the book The Alternative. For a critique of actually existing socialism of Rudolf Bahro as one of the most important works of immanent criticism from the Soviet sphere of influence. In 1955 he led a controversy with Erich Fromm.

Marcuse died from the effects of stroke during a visit to Germany with Jürgen Habermas in Starnberg. After his death, the body was cremated in Austria and transferred to the urn of his wife in the United States, the ashes were not buried, forgotten and arrived only in 2003 in the possession of his son Peter and his grandson Harold. The descendants finally decided to let bury Marcuse in his native city. The funeral took place in the summer of 2003 with great sympathy of the media on the Dorotheenstädtischer Cemetery in Berlin, where Bertolt Brecht, Heinrich Mann, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel are buried. On the day before the Philosophical Institute of the Free University of Berlin hosted an event for the timeliness of the philosophy of Herbert Marcuse from the Auditorium Maximum of the University of Berlin, where Marcuse in 1967 his famous lecture held The end of utopia.



  • Herbert Marcuse: Fonts. 9 volumes. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1978-1989, ISBN 3-518-57997-5 (reprinted in this issue: To Cleats publisher, Springe 2004, ISBN 3-934-92046-2 ).
  • Herbert Marcuse: Posthumous writings. Edited by Peter - Erwin Jansen. 6 volumes. Dietrich to cleats, Lüneburg / Jump from 1999 to 2009. Vol 1: The fate of bourgeois democracy. From the American by Michael Main, introduction by Oskar Negt. To Cleats publisher Jump 1999, ISBN 3-924245-83-5.
  • Vol 2: Art and liberation. Translated by Michael Main and Stephan Bundschuh, introduction by Gerhard Schweppenhäuser. To Cleats publisher Jump 2000, ISBN 3-924245-84-3.
  • Vol 3: philosophy and psychology. From the American Cornelia deletion, introduction by Alfred Schmidt. To Cleats publisher Jump 2002, ISBN 3-924245-85-1.
  • Vol 4: The student movement and its consequences. From the American Thomas Laugstien, introduction by Wolfgang Kraushaar. To Cleats publisher Jump 2004, ISBN 3-924245-86- X.
  • Vol 5: Enemy analyzes. About the Germans. From the American by Michael Main, introduction by Detlev Claussen. To Cleats publisher Jump 2007, ISBN 978-3-924245-86-3.
  • Vol 6: Ecology and social criticism. From the American and French by Thomas Laugstien, introduction of Iring Fetscherplatz. To Cleats publisher Jump 2009, ISBN 978-3-924245-87-0.

Individual works ( by year of publication of the German EA)

  • Hegel's Ontology and the foundations of a theory of historicity. Vittorio Klostermann Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1932 -. ( 3rd edition, 1975, ISBN 3-465-00309-8 ).
  • Herbert Marcuse: The struggle against liberalism in the totalitarian view of the state. In: Journal of Social Research 3, 1934, Issue 2, pp. 161-194.
  • Authority and the Family in German sociology until 1933. In: Studies on Authority and the Family. Research Reports from the Institute for Social Research. Paris 1936.
  • Eros and Civilization. A philosophical contribution to Sigmund Freud. From the American translated by Marianne von Eckardt Jaffe. Klett, Stuttgart, 1955 ( original edition. Eros and Civilisation in 1955, new edition under the title: Eros and Civilization A philosophical contribution to Sigmund Freud Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1965, 17th edition 1995, ISBN 3-518-01158-8. . ).
  • Culture and Society 1 Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1965.
  • Culture and Society 2 Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1965.
  • One-Dimensional Man. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1967.
  • Psychoanalysis and politics. European publishing house, Frankfurt am Main, 1968 ( 6th edition 1980, ISBN 3-434-30071-6, four lectures: drive theory and Freedom The idea of ​​progress in the light of psychoanalysis in 1956, The problem of violence in the opposition The end. .. of utopia., 1967).
  • Ideas to a critical theory of society. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1969.
  • Repressive tolerance. In: Robert Paul Wolff, Barrington Moore, Herbert Marcuse: Critique of Pure Tolerance. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1970. ISBN 3-518-10181-1.
  • Essay on Liberation. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1973. ISBN 3-518-10329-6.
  • The social doctrine of the Soviet Marxism. Luchterhand, Darmstadt / Neuwied 1974, ISBN 3-472-61182-0 (Original Title: Soviet Marxism - A critical Analysis 1958.. ).
  • The permanence of art. Against a certain Marxist aesthetics. Hanser, Munich 1977, ISBN 3-446-12200-1.
  • Proto socialism and late capitalism - attempt at a revolution theoretical synthesis of Bahro's approach. In: Criticism No. 19, Edited by Ulf Wolter, ISSN 0170-4761, published by Olle & Wolter, Berlin, 1978 ( Also in: Herbert Marcuse: Traces of liberation, Edited by Detlev Claussen, Luchterhand, Darmstadt / Neuwied 1981 english in: Ulf Wolter (ed.): Rudolf Bahro - Critical Responses MESharpe, White Plains, NY 1980, ISBN 978-0-87332-159-4 online on opentheory.org ). .