From the agora to the coffee-house: Heller's Quest for philosophical radicalism

Critical Horizons 2 (2):255-282 (2001)
This paper considers Agnes Heller's attempt to construct a post Marxist radical philosophy. It examines the two main phases of this project: beginning with her late seventies A Radical Philosophy, it charts her development towards the position she now characterises as reflective post-modernism. It shows that despite a constant commitment to rational critique, Heller's concept of philosophical radicalism has shifted from an emphasis on total critique to that of maintaining balance between the rival technological and historical imaginations that exercise a 'double-bind' over the modern individual. The paper explains the rationale of this evolution, highlights the features of each phase and critically analyses their weaknesses. Finally it argues that Heller's contemporary position represents a sophisticated attempt to overcome the limitations of former left radicalism and address the continuing need for orientation in contemporary modernity.
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