Marcuse, human nature, and the foundations of ethical norms

Philosophy and Social Criticism 34 (3):267-286 (2008)
Abstract
The article is a critical examination of Marcuse's speculations about the possibility of determining a biological foundation for ethical norms. It considers three key objections to this project: that Marcuse fails to adequately define needs, that he misinterprets Freud, and that, details aside, he fundamentally misunderstands what a `biological' foundation for ethics would entail. The objections are accepted, to varying degrees, as regards the content of Marcuse's argument. The article concludes, however, with a different account of biological foundations designed to rescue the deeper aims of Marcuse's project. Key Words: biology • ethics • foundation • Herbert Marcuse • needs • socialism.
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DOI 10.1177/0191453707087253
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