Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 32 (1):72 - 85 (1970)

The traditional philosophical treatises on culture, who mostly started from neohumanistic inheritance, recently got a serious, though revolutionary partner for discussion in the person of Herbert Marcuse. The ideas, which this thinker launches on culture and society, are not loose propositions or emotionally determined interpretations, but form a structural theory, that earns further consideration. This article tries to give a survey of his opinions on this theme as well as a critical look at their suppositions and coherence. Eventually are discussed Marcuse's concept of the prevailing culture as an affirmative culture, i.e. an attitude in which one accepts the existing social conditions and resigns to them. After that it discusses Marcuse's deepened interpretation of culture as a civilisation, in which the repression of the truely human needs and impulses is so to say institutionalised, and finally his matured judgement on the recovery of culture by means of the play-impulse and sufficient space for speculative and practical negation in a non-operational dimension. Retrospecting we stated that Marcuse is taking back now something of his original, marxistic aversion of the theoretical attitude, that is inaugured by the Greeks. One must also criticise his unilateral reviewing of the technical and social acquisitions of mankind. But his realising and objectifying of the old spiritual ideal of culture is no doubt a profit in relation to the neo-humanistic philosophy of culture
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