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Philosophy and Critical Pedagogy

Insurrection and Commonwealth


Charles Reitz

Critical pedagogy, political economics, and aesthetic theory combine with dialectical and materialist understandings of science, society, and revolutionary politics to develop the most radical goals of society and education. In Philosophy and Critical Pedagogy: Insurrection and Commonwealth, Marcuse’s hitherto misunderstood and neglected philosophy of labor is reconsidered, resulting in a labor theory of ethics. This develops commonwealth criteria of judgment regarding the real and enduring economic and political possibilities that concretely encompass all of our engagement and action. Marcuse’s newly discovered 1974 Paris Lectures are examined and the theories of Georg Lukács and Ernest Manheim contextualize the analysis to permit a critical assessment of the nature of dialectical methodology today. Revolutionary strategy and a common-ground political program against intensifying inequalities of class, race, and gender comprise the book’s commonwealth counter-offensive.


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Chapter 2. The Dialectic of the Concrete Concept: Ernest Manheim


· 2 · the dialectic of the concrete concept: Ernest Manheim Ernest Manheim was born in Budapest in 1900 and served in the Austro- Hungarian army as a lieutenant in World War I. After the conclusion of combat in Italy, he volunteered with the Red Army of Béla Kún and was taken prisoner defending the Hungarian Soviet Republic. War and upheaval evoked his great interest in sociological matters, and in 1923 he under- took graduate work with German sociologists Ferdinand Tönnies and Hans Freyer at Kiel and Leipzig. He completed his doctoral dissertation, but with the advent of German Nazism, Manheim, of Jewish background, was forced to flee to London. There he studied further with the famed anthro- pologist Bronisław Malinowski, then joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1937. He was among the critical theorists who contributed to Horkheimer’s path- breaking Studien über Authorität und Familie, and in 1938 was selected as the founding chair of the sociology department at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where he served for fifty years. In that capacity he differentiated himself from other more reluctant academics by his willingness in the mid-1950s to deliver expert testimony on the deleteri- ous effects of racial segregation on student development and learning in the 42 philosophy & critical pedagogy Topeka, Kansas, civil rights case that became famous in U.S. educational history—Brown vs. The Board of Education.1 Manheim’s Leipzig doctoral dissertation, Zur Logik des konkreten Begriffs (On the Logic of the...

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