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Philosophy and Critical Pedagogy

Insurrection and Commonwealth

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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 3. Liberating “the Critical” in Critical Theory

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LIBERATING “THE CRITICAL”IN CRITICAL THEORY

“Truth is ugly. We possess art lest we perish of the truth.”

—Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power #822

What is the relationship of truth to beauty, learning to art, political education to human flourishing? Philosophers from Confucius and Aristotle to John Dewey and Paulo Freire have investigated, as the axial human problem, how education is to help us in accomplishing our own humanization. The contemporary search for a genuinely critical theory and an authentically democratic society continues that project. But what can make theory critical, education liberating, society democratic?1

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