Critique, Action, and Liberation

By James L. Marsh

Subjects: Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Paperback : 9780791421703, 443 pages, December 1994
Hardcover : 9780791421697, 443 pages, December 1994

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Table of contents


The Communicative Subject: An Eidetics and Ethics of Action

1. Critical Theory: Method and Content

2. Understanding and Explanation

3. Theory and Practice

4. Rationality and Critique

5. Truth and Power

6. Violence, Nonviolence, and Action

7. The Right and the Good

8. Freedom as Communication and Self-Realization

9. Justice

The Historical Subject: An Interpretation and Critique of Action

10. Communicative Praxis and History

11. Modernity and Enlightenment

12. Life-World and System

13. Is Late Capitalism Rational?

14. Flexible Accumulation in Late Capitalism: Structure and Ideology

15. A Model of Democratic Socialism

16. On the Possibility of Democratic Socialism



Index >


Critique, Action, and Liberation is an original work in critical social theory that develops an approach to and method for social and political science. Drawing on the work of Habermas, Marcuse, Adorno, Offe, Marx, and David Harvey, Marsh develops an ethics and a social phenomenology of the self as communicative subject. He then advances an interpretation and critique of modernity, late capitalism, and state socialism.

James L. Marsh is Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University. He has written a number of books, including Post-Cartesian Meditations.


"This is a comprehensive, articulate, and readable account of the major controversies that presently divide two major groups of contemporary continentalist philosophers, critical theory and postmodernism. It argues clearly, uncompromisingly, and pointedly for a version of Habermasianism. This is a substantive scholarly and philosophical achievement that represents a major statement of critical theory—its prospects and possibilities—from a major thinker in American critical theory today. " — John D. Caputo, Villanova University

"Not only is Marsh's philosophical approach unique in combining usually disparate methods and sources, he contributes to the postmodernism debates by focusing on questions of justice. His development of Habermas's concept of colonization shows it to be much richer than Habermas himself sometimes suggests. Placing the notion of economic and political justice within recent debates in continental philosophy is an important contribution, since Marsh shows that there is no alternative to universalism and egalitarianism in issues of justice. He also gives a strong argument for the continuing importance of socialist ideals. " — James Bohman, St. Louis University