When, in Telos #55, we sought to evaluate the meaning and impact of French socialism in power, the verdict turned out to be peculiarly disappointing. The rhetorical question in the Introduction: “Beyond Reform or Revolution?” had already been effectively answered. As early as 1982 French socialism had revealed itself to be a “Gaullism with a Human Face” which did not have much to do either widi reform or revolution, and could provide nothing more -above and beyond the usual cliches—than a (...) continuation of the same berated but unsurpassed technocratic management of the given. Socialism had turned out to be a bad idea whose time had past. (shrink)
Functionalism in sociology has recently come under the critical scrutiny of philosophers of science who, by extending their analyses of the physical sciences, have attempted to examine its scientific credentials and resolve some of its basic methodological difficulties. These analyses, however, have tended to raise more problems than they solve and, in the process, they have sought to either trivialize or refute one of the main features of functionalism, viz., its teleology.
Critiques of liberalism are a dime a dozen. With every generation they come in and out of fashion like changing lipstick colors. This does not mean, however, that all is well in a context of perennial cyclic crisis alternating liberalism and conservatism. As Siegel shows in his account of liberalism's recent authoritarian involution, the latest developments mark a sharp departure from some of the better American political traditions. Specifically, the disintegration of pragmatism as a result of the Vietnam fiasco and (...) racial strife in the 1960s contributed to the concretization of what were at least latent anti-democratic tendencies into a procedural elitism oblivious to substantive realities and the human dimension. (shrink)
During the past decade it has become increasingly evident that the reception of European social theory within the remnants of the American New Left, by now installed in placid academic positions and out of the mainstream of any relevant political discourse, has not been a particularly fruitful experience. First, the rediscovery of Marxism-Leninism led to the internal disintegration of whatever was radical and original within the movement. Later, after this shock had been finally absorbed, and largely as a result of (...) it, the wholesale return to the previously despised liberalism has rendered the aging New Left a political sad-sack either begging at the door of the Democratic Party or desperately apologizing for new, but not improved, editions of Marxist-Leninist regimes. (shrink)
The passing away of Mitchell Franklin has meant not only the loss of a teacher and a friend, but also die dosing of a chapter in intellectual history which, in die U.S., was hardly ever opened. Franklin's persona was certainly “born in the U.S.A.” (he, on die odier hand, was bom in Montreal, Canada). Yet, he belonged to diat European generation of diinkers, who, confronted widi rising 20th century irrationalism, sought to vindicate an updated version of Enlightenment rationalism. In diis, (...) of course, he was in good company: diis is precisely die kind of trajectory one finds traced not only by most of diose intellectuals who came of age between die two World Wars (e.g., Lukács), but also, more recendy, by thinkers still confronted widi irrationalism as a national question (e.g., Habermas). (shrink)
Herbert Marcuse; Jürgen Habermas; Alfred Schmidt; et al., "Antworten auf Herbert Marcuse." Suhrkamp, 1968. Jean-Michel Palmier, "Présentation d'Herbert Marcuse." Union générale d'éditions, 1968. Tito Perlini, "Che cosa ha veramente detto Marcuse." Ubaldini Editore, 1968. Dieter Ulle; Ju. Zemoshkin; N. Motroshlova; et al., "E' rivoluzionaria la dottrina di Marcuse?" Borla, 1969.