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Critical theory and utopia

Grant number: 14/03610-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 28, 2014
Effective date (End): April 27, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Marcos Severino Nobre
Grantee:Maria Érbia Cássia Carnaúba
Supervisor: John D. Abromeit
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: State University of New York, Buffalo State (SUNY), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:12/23830-6 - Critical theory and Utopia, BP.DR


The objective of this project is to show the contradictions of utopia in the critical theory. Thus, we argue that a new conception of utopia, previously marginalized, arises from the text. The authors of first generation had to deal with a reality in which the disenchantment with their first experience of socialism in the Soviet Union, the experiences of European fascism and the destruction of the Jewish communities of Europe mined every hope of a revolutionary transformation of capitalism. The Critical Theory was faced with the task of thinking the "radically other". This meant, for Horkheimer, to have a clear distinction between philosophical truth and scientific truth. The first generated the utopia that strengthened the hope of another world and the second considered that this utopia was unattainable. Marcuse as Adorno and Horkheimer agrees on the diagnosis of blocked praxis, but in addition, they agree that the Critical Theory can not regress to "utopian socialism". The socialism advocated by these authors came to be called "utopian socialism", because of its theorists expounded the principles of an ideal society without specifying the means to achieve it. They believed that the establishment of a socialist system would occurs slowly and gradually, based on pacifism, including the goodwill of the bourgeoisie itself. They are still heavily based on ideas of the Enlightenment thought and, accordingly, are frontally as opposed to Critical Theory, as these thinkers continued to pursue rationalism in the output generated by the contradictions within the capitalist thinking. Moreover, they did not a radical critics of capitalism, since they still defended the maintenance of their most elementary practices. Marcuse, Horkheimer and Adorno and the first generation of Critical Theory perpetuated Marx's critique of the "utopian socialism". However, another different conception was perpetuated by Marcuse predominantly through Ernst Bloch.I think that the first step to understand the various criticisms of utopia begins with the criticism of Marx. Indeed, in his criticism Marx initially recognizes the complexity of the critical utopias and, in consequence, the chapter of the Communist Manifest is devoted solely to it provides the findings of a long and difficult theoretical work. He also indicates the deviation to be made, the passage by the theoretical works, especially Poverty of Philosophy and principles of reading to be performed, particularly in consideration of such immediate problems, which seem to have no relation to the critical utopias. He insists, finally, the double movement that criticizes. (AU)

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