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

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

Rousseau: The Second Discourse on Inequality

Rousseau’s second discourse on inequality builds from his first.  The second discourse contains his famous depiction of the noble savage, how man loses his freedom and equality through the establishment of property and society, and his ruminations about how reason corrupts human living and how knowledge is used as a tool of oppression and violence.  … Continue reading Rousseau: The Second Discourse on Inequality