Herbert Marcuse


Herbert Marcuse was a recognized and important original sociologist and philosopher born in Berlin, Germany , in 1898. He was mainly recognized for his different critical thoughts regarding capitalist society , which made it one of the most relevant personalities of the first generation born and raised from the Frankfurt School .

  • When was he born:  07/19/1898
  • Where he was born:  Berlin, Germany
  • When he died:  07/29/1979
  • Where he died:  Starnberg, Germany

Who is Herbert Marcuse?

He was a philosopher , sociologist and theorist politician origin German , who was linked to the School of Critical Theory of Frankfurt . He was a leading figure at the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, which later became known as the Frankfurt School .

  • Herbert Marcuse Biography
  • Thought of Herbert Marcuse
  • Contributions
  • Sociological theory of Herbert Marcuse
  • Importance
  • Plays
  • Phrases

Herbert Marcuse Biography

Herbert Marcuse was born in Berlin in 1898 to a Jewish family. He worked in the German army during World War I , tending horses in Berlin. After the war, he was a member of a council of soldiers that participated in the failed Spartacist uprising of January 1919.


He attended the University of Freiburg , where he studied Marxism and joined the Social Democratic Party . He completed his doctoral thesis in 1922, written in German literature, and returned to Berlin, where he worked on publications. He studied philosophy with Martin Heidegger and was greatly influenced by Heidegger’s existentialism.

In 1933, Herbert Marcuse joined the Frankfurt School . After Adolf Hitler came to power, he left Germany, finally settling in New York . He became a naturalized US citizen in 1940 and remained in the United States for the rest of his life. In 1940 , he published his first work in English, Reason and Revolution , a dialectical work that studies Hegel and Marx .

He taught at Columbia University , Harvard, and Brandeis University where he was a professor of philosophy and political science . During this time, he published his two most important works, Eros and Civilization (1955) and One-Dimensional Man (1964). He died on July 29, 1979 after suffering a stroke during a visit to Germany, where he was invited to give a speech.

Thought of Herbert Marcuse

His thinking was always based on elements that came from Marxism and Freudism and was a criticism against industrial society , whose repressive and alienating character ended up incorporating the working class into society , turning it into an indirect exploiting class of the marginalized classes. from other poorer countries. His thinking influenced the creation of the new left in the United States and he established himself as the main ideologist of the student revolutions that occurred in the sixties.


Herbert Marcuse was considered one of the people who contributed the most ideas to the protests carried out in France by students of the left, a movement which was later joined by a large number of French workers, unions and communists. In fact, he is considered to be the forerunner of the leftist movement in many parts of the world.

Sociological theory of Herbert Marcuse

The phenomenology , the existencialismo and Marxism were the main theories and they did synthesis then would examine other, such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Merleau – Ponty . In his theory he made a series of criticisms of capitalism which gave him the nickname “The father of the new left.”

Herbert Marcuse’s theory was mainly marked by the conception of the existence of a method of social domination that exerted oppression on the individual that was one-dimensional , but that also had the sufficient potential to free himself from said oppression, an idea that he differentiated as early capitalism . In his theory he thought that in advanced capitalism the proletariat had a better level and that revolutionary movements were accepted by society.


Its importance lies in the large number of social and political ideas that founded the different transitions that occurred between thoughts and research , mainly among intellectuals , since their theories began the development of other critical reasoning that were carried out by thinkers of equal relevance within the ambit.

His ideals of emancipation and Protestant youth and student movements helped spread the leftist trend in Europe , the United States, and Latin America .  Herbert Marcuse taught us to ask ourselves questions regarding what is established and why it does not have to be this way, so that in this way the individual wants to seek freedom through the study of his own consciousness with the weapon of philosophy .


Among his most important works we can mention the following:

  • The one-dimensional man : an essay on critical theory related to the emancipatory social commitment of modern society. In this essay he included topics such as totalitarianism, the logic of domination and double distancing.
  • Between hermeneutics and critical theory.
  • About Marx and Heidegger .
  • About the philosophical foundations of the scientific-economic concept of work.
  • The Struggle Against Liberalism in the Totalitarian View of the State.
  • Reason and revolution .
  • The end of Utopia .
  • Industrial society and Marxism .
  • An essay on liberation .
  • Psychoanalysis and politics .
  • Ethics of the Revolution.
  • The Oppressor Society .
  • Counterrevolution and Revolt.
  • The Aesthetic Dimension .


Some of the most recognized phrases of Herbert Marcuse were the following:

  • Under the rule of a repressive totality, freedom can become a powerful instrument of domination.
  • The literature and art were a rational force cognitive revealing a dimension of man and nature that was repressed and rejected in reality.
  • The domination has its own aesthetic and democratic rule has its democratic aesthetic.
  • The more important the intellectual , the more compassionate he will be with the rulers.
  • The entertainment and learning are not opposed; Entertainment can be the most effective way to learn.
  • Only thanks to those without hope is hope given to us .
  • The judgment that human life deserves to be lived, or rather that it can be and should be done.

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