Marx and the Postmodernism Debates: An Agenda for Critical Theory

By Lorraine Y. Landry | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
An Agenda for Critical Theory

Central to Habermas's claim that Marx's paradigm requires radical reconstruction is his aim of wedding with his own theory the "best of Marxism and democratic theory." 1 Markus notes that Habermas's goal is "to reconstitute an organic link between 'socialism' and 'democracy.'" 2 The majority view is, of course, that this link, if not chimerical, has been lost or, at least, severely tested. 3 According to Habermas, this is not only because contemporary conditions have compromised much of Marx's critical theory but because features of Marx's theory itself have encouraged such a situation.

Benhabib, like Habermas, is emphatic that Marx's adherence to the philosophy of the subject is the root of epistemological and political difficulties which are ultimately antithetical to radical democracy. For Benhabib, the concept of reappropriation 4 embedded in the philosophy of the subject (or "work model") is questionable on two counts: (1) "the model of self-actualization operates with the assumption of an epistemologically transparent self, who seems to possess unequivocal knowledge for determining what would 'actualize' him/her," and (2) "it is assumed that what this agent accomplishes in doing is fundamentally independent of what others think or claim s/he is doing." 5

This model presents a self-transparent individual revealing and manifesting his/her essence in work and, as such, is an example of the

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Marx and the Postmodernism Debates: An Agenda for Critical Theory
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Notes xiii
  • Chapter 1 the Project of Modernity 1
  • Notes 23
  • Chapter 3 Derrida 45
  • Notes 58
  • Chapter 4 Foucault 67
  • Notes 76
  • Notes 95
  • Chapter 6 a Fruitful Tension Approach 105
  • Notes 126
  • Chapter 7 Marx and the Postmodernism Debates 141
  • Notes 156
  • Chapter 8 an Agenda for Critical Theory 169
  • Notes 191
  • Bibliography 207
  • Index 227
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