Towards a theory of action: ontology and politics as foundations of Herbert Marcuse’s dialectical phenomenology




dialectics, Herbert Marcuse, historical materialism, ontology, politics


This article seeks to analyze the modes of composition of the so-called dialectical phenomenology, proposed by Herbert Marcuse in 1928. It is one of his first writings, in which the author seeks to think of a theory of action whose starting point are the historical analyses derived from the historical materialism of Marx and Engels, orchestrated with the existential analytic provided by Being and time, by Heidegger. In order to interpret this pioneering philosophical architecture, (1) we will first show how Marcusean method establishes the understanding of a historical situation. (2) In the second section, we analyze how Marcuse interprets, in a very original way, the ontological aspects of Dasein. (3) In the last part, it is about showing how Marcuse operates a junction of both analyses in order to argue the need for a transforming action on the unveiled social alienation. Together, these three movements seek to emphasize the social concern that has always occupied Herbert Marcuse’s philosophical reflections.

= 963 veces | PDF
= 72 veces| | HTML
= 61 veces|


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Juliano Bonamigo Ferreira de Souza, Catholic University of Louvain

Holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of São Paulo (2014) and a Master’s degree in Philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain (UCLouvain, 2017), having defended a dissertation on the role of historicity [Geschicklichkeit] in the writings of young Marcuse. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Philosophy of Law (CPDR) at the Catholic University of Louvain, tracing the implications between aesthetics and epistemology, from Kant and the early Romanticism [Frühromantik], to the ecological and technological thinking of Herbert Marcuse.


Bundschuh, S. (1998). “Und weil der Mensch ein Mensch ist…”. Anthropologische Aspekte der Sozialphilosophie Herbert Marcuses. Lüneburg: zu Klampen.

Casati, F. (2019). Heidegger and the contradiction of Being: a dialetheic interpretation of the late Heidegger. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 27(5), 1002-1024.

Duménil, G., Löwy, M. & Renault, E. (2009). Les 100 mots du marxisme. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Farías, V. (1987/1989). Heidegger and Nazism (J. Margolis & T. Rockmore, Eds.). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Feenberg, A. (2005). Heidegger and Marcuse: The Catastrophe and Redemption of History. New York: Routledge.

Goldmann, L. (1973). Lukács et Heidegger (Fragments posthumes établis et présentés par Y. Ishaghpour). Paris: Denoël/Gonthier.

Haase, U. (2019). Approaching Heidegger’s History of Being Through the Black Notebooks. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 51, 95-109.

Habermas, J. (1971/1974). Profils philosophiques et politiques (F. Dastur, J.-R. Ladmiral & M. de Launay, Trans.). Paris: Gallimard. Habermas, J. & Bovenschen, S. (1978/2016). Gespräche mit Herbert Marcuse (2 Auflage). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Heidegger, M. (1927/1967). Sein und Zeit (11 Auflage). Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Immanen, M. (2018). Revisiting Marcuse’s “Habilitation Odyssey” in the Light of Heidegger’s “Black Notebooks”. New German Critique, 45(3), 129-154.

Jay, M. (1973/1996). The Dialectical Imagination. Boston: University of California Press.

Kangussu, I. (2008). Leis da liberdade: a relação entre estética e política na obra de Herbert Marcuse. São Paulo: Loyola.

Katz, B. (1982). Herbert Marcuse and the Art of Liberation. London: New Left Books.

Kellner, D. (1984). Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism. London: Macmillan.

Korsch, K. (1923/2008). Marxisme and Philosophy (F. Halliday, Trans.). New York: Monthly Review Press.

Kuhn, G. (Ed.). (2012). All Power to The Councils! A Documentary History of The German Revolution of 1918–1919. Oakland: PM Press.

Liangkang, N. (2018). The Phenomenological-Ontological Dimension of Philosophy of History: The Problem of History in Husserl and Heidegger. Comparative and Continental Philosophy, 10(1), 7-20.

Lukács, G. (1923/1972). History and Class Consciousness. Studies in Marxist Dialectics (R. Livingstone, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Marcuse, H. (1928a/1978). Beiträge zu einer Phänomenologie des Historischen Materialismus. Schriften, band 1 (pp. 347-384). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Marcuse, H. (1928b/2005). Contributions to a Phenomenology of Historical Materialism. In R. Wolin & J. Abromeit (Eds.), Heideggerian Marxism (pp. 1-33). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Marcuse, H. (1929a/1978). Über konkrete Philosophie. Schriften, band 1 (pp. 385-406). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Marcuse, H. (1929b/2010). Sobre filosofía concreta. En Marcuse y los orígenes de la teoría crítica (J. M. Romero Cuevas, Trad.) (pp. 131-158). Madrid: Plaza y Valdés.

Marcuse, H. (1933/2005). German Philosophy, 1871–1933. In R. Wolin & J. Abromeit (Eds.), Heideggerian Marxism (pp. 151-164). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Marcuse, H. (1979). The Reification of the Proletariat. Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory, 3(1), 20-23.

Marcuse, H. (2011). Entre hermenéutica y teoría crítica. Artículos 1929–1931 (J. M. Romero Cuevas, Trad. & Ed.). Barcelona: Herder.

Marx, K. & Engels, F. (1845a/2010). Marx and Engels Collected Works, vol. 5. Marx and Engels 1845-47. S. l.: Lawrence & Wishart.

Marx, K. & Engels, F. (1845b/2014). L’idéologie allemande (J. Quétier & G. Fondu, Trad.). Paris: Les Éditions Sociales.

Olafson, F. (1977/2007). Heidegger’s Politics: An Interview with Herbert Marcuse. In A. Feenberg & W. Leiss (Eds.), The Essential Marcuse: Selected Writings of Philosopher and Social Critic Herbert Marcuse (pp. 115-127). Boston: Beacon Press.

Palmier, J.-M. (1983). Heidegger et le national-socialisme. Les Cahiers de l’Herne, 45, 333-353. Peter-Erwin, J. (Ed.). (1999). Zwischen Hoffnung und Notwendigkeit: Texte zu Herbert Marcuse. Frankfurt am Main: Neue Kritik.

Raulet, G. (1992). Herbert Marcuse. Philosophie de l’émancipation. Paris: PUF.

Reitz, C. (2000). Art, Alienation, and the Humanities: A Critical Engagement with Herbert. Albany: SUNY Press.

Romero, J. M. (Ed.). (2011). Introducción: ¿Entre Marx y Heidegger? La trayectoria filosófica del primer Marcuse. Entre hermenéutica y teoría crítica. Artículos 1929-1931 (pp. 9-35). Barcelona: Herder.

Romero, J. M. (2013). La problemática de la historicidad en el primer H. Marcuse. Pensamiento, 69(259), 331-350.

Schmidt, A. (1968). Existential-Ontologie und historischer Materialismus bei Herbert Marcuse. In J. Habermas (Ed.), Antworten auf Herbert Marcuse (pp. 17-49). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Spiegelberg, H. (1994). The Phenomenological Movement: a historical introduction. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Valentim, M. (2016). Fora do mundo: lugar e sentido da não-humanidade na ontologia fundamental. Discurso, 46(2), 287-334.

Wiggerhaus, R. (1986/1995). The Frankfurt School: Its History, Theories, and Political Significance (M. Robertson, Trans.). Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Wolin, R. & Abromeit, J. (Eds.). (2005). Heideggerian Marxism. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.




How to Cite

Ferreira de Souza, J. B. (2020). Towards a theory of action: ontology and politics as foundations of Herbert Marcuse’s dialectical phenomenology. Estudios De Filosofía, (62), 97–118.



Original or Research articles

Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.