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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 4. The “Linguistic Turn” and Anti-Foundationalism

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THE “LINGUISTIC TURN” AND ANTI-FOUNDATIONALISM

 

1. Wittgenstein’s Evasion of Philosophy

The ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Friedrich Nietzsche stand at the threshold of the contemporary language and logic of postmodernism. Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations (PI) taught the postmoderns1 how to challenge objectivist theories of knowledge by deconstructing “metaphysics” into language, and how to debunk reflexivity and grand narration in speech in favor of a relativist epistemology and a banal functionalist analysis. This linguistic “turn” in social theory holds that the critical theory of society must first of all recognize that we use speech as a tool to get work done, and that our linguistic behavior primarily has a game-like character. Wittgenstein tells us we are to “look on the language-game as the primary thing” (PI 656). “Our ← 73 | 74 →mistake [has been] to look for an explanation where we ought…to have said: this language-game is being played” (PI 654).

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