Existentialism and Post-modernism


Zizek in Manhattan: An intellectual charlatan masquerading as “left”

By Bill Van Auken and Adam Haig, 12 November 2010

The Slovenian academic Slavoj ‌‌Zizek spoke in New York Monday, wandering frenetically between complacent observations about austerity in Europe, warnings of ecological catastrophes and digressions into sado-pornographic facets of popular culture.

A letter and reply on Theodor Adorno

By Stefan Steinberg, 9 November 2009

This letter was written in response to the article, “German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk defends racist remarks by central banker.” It is followed by a response from the author of the article, Stefan Steinberg.

Another front in the attack on education

Prominent academic offers modest proposal for reorganizing universities

By Emanuele Saccarelli, 9 June 2009

In an opinion column published in the New York Times, Professor Mark C. Taylor, chairman of the religion department at Columbia University, takes as his point of departure a series of real problems that affect the university system in the United States.

Letters on Steiner, Brenner and Neo-Marxism: The Marcusean Component

9 January 2009

A selection of letters sent to the WSWS on “Steiner, Brenner and Neo-Marxism: The Marcusean Component,” an essay by Adam Haig.

Steiner, Brenner and Neo-Marxism: The Marcusean Component

By Adam Haig, 2 January 2009

As a supporter of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) who has been following the political and philosophical charges of Alex Steiner and Frank Brenner, the author of this paper is interested in addressing their embrace of critical theorist Herbert Marcuse.

Letters on “The Frankfurt School vs. Marxism”

8 November 2008

The WSWS received the following letters on “The Frankfurt School vs. Marxism: The Political and Intellectual Odyssey of Alex Steiner” and “Marxism and Science: An addendum to ‘The Frankfurt School vs. Marxism’”

Marxism and Science: An addendum to “The Frankfurt School vs. Marxism”

By Ann Talbot and Chris Talbot, 28 October 2008

This essay supplements “The Frankfurt School vs. Marxism: The Political and Intellectual Odyssey of Alex Steiner” by David North, recently published by the WSWS.

The Frankfurt School vs. Marxism:

The Political and Intellectual Odyssey of Alex Steiner—Part 2

By David North, 23 October 2008

In the autumn of 1978, as the Workers League was in the final stages of moving its political headquarters from New York to Detroit, Alex Steiner left the party without any explanation. Steiner had previously resigned from the movement in 1973, during a political crisis in the Workers League that culminated in the resignation of its national secretary, Tim Wohlforth. Steiner rejoined the party in the summer of 1974. But his second departure in 1978 brought his career in the revolutionary movement to an end. In his last discussion with me prior to his departure, Steiner said, “Life is very grim.” I often recalled these words, because they articulated not simply the personal dejection of an individual, but also the pessimism and demoralization of the broader milieu of petty-bourgeois radical intellectuals. Nevertheless, I regretted Steiner’s departure from the Workers League. Particularly after he rejoined the Workers League in 1974, we had collaborated on several theoretical projects. However, Steiner’s intellectual abilities were undermined by his extreme emotional volatility, susceptibility to discouragement when confronted with problems, and pessimistic view of life.

The Frankfurt School vs. Marxism:

The Political and Intellectual Odyssey of Alex Steiner—Part 1

By David North, 22 October 2008

In May-June 2006, I wrote Marxism, History & Socialist Consciousness, a reply to an attack on the International Committee of the Fourth International by Alex Steiner and Frank Brenner, two former members of the Workers League (predecessor of the Socialist Equality Party) who had left the revolutionary socialist movement in the late 1970s. Unabashed by the many years that they had spent in political retirement, Steiner and Brenner, in a document entitled Objectivism or Marxism, denounced the theoretical work, political activity, and organizational practices of the SEP and ICFI. Steiner/Brenner claimed that the International Committee was opposed to dialectics and failed to conduct a struggle against pragmatism.

The post-modernist wonderland: Intellectual Impostures by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont

By Stefan Steinberg, 1 July 2000

Intellectual Impostures should be read by all those who have an interest in modern ideological trends, in particular, the various somewhat nebulous schools of thought included under the hybrid term “postmodernism”.

A postmodernist attack on science

The End of Science, Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age by John Horgan, Little Brown and Company, 1996

By Chris Talbot, 18 May 1999

John Horgan is a science journalist who writes for Scientific American. His book was originally published in 1996, updated in 1997 and recently brought out as a paperback. It is a collection of interviews with dozens of leading scientists, to which Horgan has added also his own reflections and opinions on the state of modern science. Whilst many of the interviews are interesting in their own right, the book's main significance is Horgan's attack on science from a postmodernist standpoint. It is symptomatic of an anti-science trend which has emerged in the last decade or so.

The Jefferson-Hemings controversy

In defense of history

By Helen Halyard and Shannon Jones, 31 December 1998

Substantial debate and controversy have accompanied the science journal Nature's release of genetic test results supporting the claim that Thomas Jefferson fathered children by one of his slaves, Sally Hemings.