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Radical Philosophy Review

Volume 21, Issue 2, 2018

Andrew Feenberg
Pages 271-298

Reason, Imagination, and Utopia

Marcuse argues that society must be evaluated in terms of its unrealized potentialities. Potentialities are formulated by the imagination, which has an essential cognitive function in revealing what things might be. Utopian thinking, thinking that transcends the given facts toward their potentialities, is thus rational in Marcuse’s view. His explanation for this claim draws on Hegel, Marx, and phenomenology. With Freud, Marcuse elaborates the historical limits and possibilities of the imagination as an expression of Eros. Utopia is the historical realization in a refashioned world of the rational contents of the imagination.

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