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Topic State the main points of Marcuses critique of Sartre and consider the grounds on which Sartre might defend himself Could Sartre succeed Herbert Marcuses critique of Sartre in Existentialism Remarks on Jean-Paul Sartres LEtre et le Neant is based on the claim that Sartres method is ontologically impure in that its account of the nature of consciousness is in fact abstracted from historical factors This criticism was not specific to Sartre Marcuses approach is rooted firmly in the so-called critical theory developed in the thirties by Max Horkheimers Institute for Social Research of which Marcuse was a member prior to World War Two Horkheimer was concerned with providing a progressive response to what he saw as a growing recourse to antirationalist philosophies He believed that philosophy need not give up on rationalism but that in order to bring it up to date a materialist account of its nature condition and limits must be provided In addition he believed in preserving a strong distinction between true and false consciousness In this vein Marcuse takes issue with Sartres account of being-for-others which is based on a flip-flopping between two modes of interaction As beings in a social world according to Sartre an essential part of who we are has an independent existence in the form of other peoples perceptions and opinions of us We can either seek to dominate the others consciousness or be dominated ourselves but never both as the other can only exist for us in two forms if I experience him with evidence I fail to know him and hence myself if I know him if I act upon him I only reach his being-as-object and his probable existence in the midst of the world Marcuse points out that this conflict takes the same form as Sartres account of the fundamental project which states that all of our actions are underpinned by the dynamics of the desire
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