Adorno on Commodity Fetishism, Mass Culture, and Self-Enslavement

Theodor Adorno is probably the most important 20th century Marxist philosopher, sociologist, and social critic.  The fundamental crux of Adorno is his critique of the Enlightenment and mass culture—typified by places like Hollywood—as a form of self-enslavement and bourgeois imperialism.  But instead of the superstructure directly engaging in clamping its controls over people, Adorno argued … Continue reading Adorno on Commodity Fetishism, Mass Culture, and Self-Enslavement

The Two Sides of Liberalism

One of the most nauseating perennial questions is “what is liberalism”?  Ask a dozen people and you’ll probably get a dozen different responses.  But as Aristotle said, “To say of something which is that it is not, or to say of something which is not that it is, is false. However, to say of something … Continue reading The Two Sides of Liberalism

Antonio Gramsci: The Role of Intellectuals

Antonio Gramsci was an early 20th century Italian Marxist philosopher and writer.  Imprisoned, he wrote much of his work from the jail cell (Prison Notebooks).  His theory of the intellectual and of cultural hegemony are among his two most notable ideas.  Cutting through all the Gramscian verboseness, we’ll examine Gramsci’s understanding of the intellectual and … Continue reading Antonio Gramsci: The Role of Intellectuals

Francis Bacon’s Conquest of Nature

Sir Francis is the father of modern philosophy.  He has been described as the “greatest philosopher” by John Dewey, and considered one of the three greatest men by Thomas Jefferson (alongside Newton and Locke).  Bacon’s Novum Organum (or Instrument of the New Science, or just New Science) was a momentous change in the history of … Continue reading Francis Bacon’s Conquest of Nature

Marx’s Dialectical Historicism

One of the core elements to Karl Marx’s philosophy was his dialectical materialism and historicism, which come together in his dialectical historicism.  Most people are probably familiar with it.  There are five distinct stages (or epochs) of history: slavery, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and communism.  But the movement of history is not linear-progressive, it is cyclical; … Continue reading Marx’s Dialectical Historicism