Department of Sociology
Kenyon College
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(Click on the jacket cover image for more information about the Table of Contents and Introduction)




(Click on the jacket cover image for more information about the Table of Contents and Introduction)




Hardbound Cover                     2018                           Frontispiece
                                                                                      by Devin S. McCarthy

Greek goddess of Justice
balancing and integrating the Ancients and the Moderns --
Athenian justice and beauty with modern labor and industry --
as the classical inspiration and imaginative vision of Karl Marx's
(Longing for Ancient Greece)
(Fusion of Horizons and Traditions).
with the purpose of creating a classical
vision of workers' associations, economic
democracy, and self-government
"of the people, by the people"
The Paris Commune
of 1871

150th anniversary of Marx's Capital (2017) and
200th anniversary of Marx's birth (2018)



Paperback Jacket Cover                       2019                          B&W Frontispiece
                                                                                                     by Devin S. McCarthy

Following closely Aristotle's definition of social justice based on universal and particular justice,
human needs and economic reciprocity, and a critique of the structures and contradictions
of a trade economy (chrematistike), Marx's theories of abstract labor, surplus value,
exchange value, economic crisis theory, overproduction of capital, tendential fall
in the rate of profit, and high unemployment in the Grundrisse and Capital
are an essential part of his modern theory of ethics and social justice.
Marx rewrites and reconfigures Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
(morality and virtue) and Politics (political economy and democracy)
into the language of German Idealism of Kant and Hegel, classical political
economy of Smith and Ricardo, and French socialism of Fourier,
Saint-Simon, and Proudhon. Both Aristotle and Marx argue for
the beauty and dignity of a rational and virtuous life -- moral
and intellectual virtue -- within a democratic polity and
moral economy based on self-determination, human need,
reciprocal fairness, equality, and the common good.
This new book on Marx's theory of social justice
attempts to show how he applies and makes
relevant Aristotle's ethics and economics
to an understanding and transformation
of the class institutions and structures
of modern society and industrial capitalism --
Marx portrays how classical Greece provided
the Moderns with their lost ideals, vision,
and inspiration for social justice.


Chinese Translation

Marx and the Ancients:
Classical Ethics, Social Justice, and
Nineteenth-Century Political Economy
Ma ke si yu gu ren:
Gu dian lun li xue, She hui zheng yi he
19 shi ji zheng zhi jing ji xue

Japanese Translation

Classical Horizons:
The Origins of Sociology
in Ancient Greece
Kodai girishia to shakaigaku:
marukusu veba dyurukemu

Chinese Translation

Marx and Aristotle:
Nineteenth-Century German Social Theory
and Classical Antiquity
Ma ke si yu ya li shi duo de:
Shi jiu shi ji de guo she hui li lun yu gu dian de gu dai





           Professor George E. McCarthy is an American and Irish philosopher and sociologist who teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century European philosophy, classical and contemporary social theory, ethics and social justice, philosophy and sociology of science, and critical political economy at Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Manhattan College (1968), an M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston College (1972), and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the Graduate Faculty, New School for Social Research (1979). At a particular stage early in his academic career, there was a time when he was enrolled simultaneously in two different universities, in two different graduate programs, in two different academic disciplines -- Philosophy and Sociology -- in two different cities, in two different states, while he was also under federal indictment, prosecution, and trial at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, New York City for draft evasion and moral resistance to the Vietnam War. And, in between these two American graduate school experiences, he spent two years studying the critical social and political theory of the Frankfurt School at the University of Frankfurt and the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt/Main, Germany (1973-1975).

           Academic Experience, Study, and Research in Germany: McCarthy has been a DAAD Research Fellow (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität (University of Frankfurt) and the Institut für Sozialforschung in Frankfurt am Main. He has also been a guest research professor at the Geschwister-Scholl-Institut für Politikwissenschaft at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, the Katholische Sozialwissenschaftliche Zentralstelle in Mönchengladbach, and the department of Philosophie und Erziehungswissenschaft-Humanwissenschaften at the Gesamthochschule, Universität Kassel, Germany. In 1994-1995, he was a Senior Fulbright Research Fellow in Germany.

          In the spring of 2000 he received the National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professorship in Sociology at Kenyon College. More recently, he has been the recipient of a twelve-month National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship (2006-2007) for his project, "Aristotle and Kant in Classical Social Theory," which examined the relationship between nineteenth-century European social theory and Greek and German philosophy.

          His main educational goals are: (1) to investigate the philosophical foundations of nineteenth- and twentieth-century European social theory with a special focus on the integration of the Ancients (ancient Hebrews, Hellenes, and Hellenists) and the Moderns (German Romantics, Idealists, Historians, and Critical Materialists); (2) to help rediscover the nature of sociology as an empirical/historical and practical/ethical science; (3) to reintegrate Philosophy, History, and Political Economy back into a Critical Social Theory; (4) to expand the nature of 'social science' beyond traditional quantitative and qualitative methods to include the full range of critical social science, including interpretive and hermeneutical science ( Hermeneutische Wissenschaft or verstehende Soziologie), cultural science (Kulturwissenschaft), historical science (Geschichtswissenschaft or sociology of social institutions and structures), human or moral science (Geisteswissenschaft), historical materialism (political economy), dialectical or critical science (Kritische Wissenschaft: immanent critic of the values, logic, and dialectic of capital), and depth hermeneutics (Tiefenhermeneutik: neo-Freudian analysis), while rejecting the methodology of the natural sciences: positivism, empiricism, naturalism, and nominalism; (5) to develop a critical social theory that incorporates classical and contemporary European social theory -- philosophy, history, and political economy -- into a comprehensive theory of social justice; (6) to integrate the vision and ideals of philosophy with the structures and historical reality of economic and social theory; (7) to expand quantitative and qualitative methods while liberating them from the narrowness of analytic philosophy and positivism (scientism and naturalism); and (8) to interpret Marx's labor theory of value, abstract labor, surplus value, and exchange value, as well as his theory of the structural contradictions (Widersprüche) and economic crises of capitalism in his later writings, not as part of a theory predicting the inevitable breakdown of the economic system, but as a critical theory of ethics and social justice. The main goal of these eight points in education and scholarship is to revive the spirit of nineteenth-century and twentieth-century European social theory and their classical horizons at a time of the decline and "eclipse of reason" in the American academy.

          More specifically, his goal is to draw the connections between Ancient philosophy and the Greek polis and Modern social theory and political economy in order to reconfigure and reinterpret Aristotle's major works Nicomachean Ethics (Philosophy: happiness and the good life of moral and intellectual virtue from courage, moderation, and wisdom to friendship and citizenship) and The Politics (Sociology: institutions and structures of political economy, moral economy, and political democracy) for the modern age. This rewrite will take the form of joining together Ethics, Social Theory, and Social Justice. The main academic goal behind this effort is to fuse the intellectual horizons (Horizontverschmelzung) of Philosophy and Sociology, Ethics and Social Theory, Virtue & Natural Law and Political & Economic Democracy, and Social Justice and Social Science, thereby creating a critical and dialectical discipline or Science with Heart (Herz: ethics, virtue, and moral/social principles) and Spirit (Geist: politics, reason, social institutions, and empirical/historical research). The future of a democratic, egalitarian, and just society within a moral economy is open to those who can dream with critical insight and practical vision, while also looking back to the Ancients for inspiration, compassion, and hope (Griechensehnsucht).

Marx and Social Justice: Ethics and Natural Law in the Critique of Political Economy

          There have been a number of social theorists within the Analytical Marxist and Anglo-American traditions during the 1980s who have argued that Marx did not have an ethical or moral philosophy or a theory of social justice, at least comparable to Rawls and Nozick. They offered a number of different reasons built on the famous Tucker-Wood thesis for this idea that Marx rejected moral thought: (1) there is no need for the liberal ideals of justice in socialism since justice was an ideological concept of the capitalist economy; (2) justice was simply a juridical category applicable only within liberalism and capitalism and referred mainly to issues of the state (historical materialism); (3) Marx's goal was to leave behind the old ideals of liberalism and by rejecting natural rights and medieval natural law he also was rejecting the use of the idea of justice -- in the process, they separated ethics and politics or civic morality, moral economy, and the democratic polity; (4) moral philosophy was viewed as ahistorical and therefore was incompatible with the principles of relativism and historicism in historical materialism; (5) justice did not refer to issues of worker's self-determination, creative freedom, moral community, the laws of beauty, and human need; (6) they reduced justice, rights, and liberties to legal and civil rights; (7) justice was a form of religious or false consciousness and moral ideology justifying capitalism; (8) following neo-classical economics and rational choice theory, they thought that the market was ultimately fair, wage labor was not exploitative or unjust, and that surplus value was necessary for economic expansion -- in the process they missed the ethical importance of the distinction between labor and labor power by maintaining that profits came from the exchange process and not production and labor exploitation; (9) by rejecting justice, Marx was simply reduced by some Analytical Marxists to demanding fair wages and fair economic distribution -- others argued that because of his criticisms of Proudhon and Lassalle he also rejected distributive justice; (10) Marx was focused more on developing a positivistic and naturalistic science of economics and the prediction of the structural crises and inevitable collapse of capitalism -- science in the form of naturalism and nominalism is contradictory to ethics. They denuded Marx of his critical and dialectical theory of capital, his labor theory of value, secular natural law, theory of work, human potentiality, and human need, historical materialism, theory of exploitation, alienation, and surplus value, and his theory of economic democracy; (11) the Analytical Marxists replaced German Idealism (which they saw as speculative and false metaphysics), German and British Romanticism, French Socialism, and Classical Economics with neoclassical economics and critical rationalism (Popper) -- they reduced Marxism to a form of neoliberalism and positivism; and, finally, (12) they thought Marx's ideal was "beyond justice" and in a socialist society, there would be no need for justice.

           Marx concluded his famous work Capital not with an analysis of the historical and economic inevitability of the breakdown of capitalism as is generally believed, but with the recognition of the structural, logical, and ethical contradictions (Widersprüche) of the capitalist system that cannot be negated or overcome. His writings ended where they began in the mid-1840s with an emphasis on Aristotle and Hegel and an ethical critique of the moral and political failures of modern society -- the economic system is alienating and exploitative, irrational and immoral. In the final analysis, the analytical tradition mistook his rejection of isolated and ahistorical moral philosophy and their separation of Ethics and Politics for a critique of social justice. They eliminated any theory of justice in Marx by misreading and misinterpreting his critique of ideology and moralism and his theories of science, dialectics of ideals and economic structures, the logic of history, historical materialism, and political economy. Finally, and perhaps their most serious error, was to forget the Ancient and Modern traditions upon which Marx developed his theory of modern industrial society. And in so doing, they lost the soul (Ancient Hebrews and Early Christians), the heart (Ancient Greeks), and the spirit (Modern French and Germans) of his social theory, ideals, and vision -- they lost his ability to imagine and dream. As an alternative to this analytical perspective, Professor McCarthy recently published a book outlining Marx's six-point theory of social justice (see below) while integrating the latter's early and later writings into an ethical and political whole. Marx's understanding of the nature and breadth of social justice includes issues of democracy, rights, fairness in distribution, individual freedom, human creativity, self-determination, and dignity in work, and the elimination of class oppression, alienation, and exploitation of unnatural wealth acquisition. An outline of the various Forms of Justice in Marx's writings include the following:

PART I: Marx's Theory of Social Justice Based on Aristotle's Ethics and Theory of Happiness, Practical Wisdom, and Moral and Intellectual Virtue

(1) Civil and Legal Justice and Political and Human Rights: Critique of Political Alienation: human emancipation and the political "rights of the citizen" of free speech, assembly, public participation, and political democracy as articulated in the French Constitution and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which was originally drafted by Abbé Sieyès and the Marquis de Lafayette in consultation with Thomas Jefferson in 1789 and then expanded in 1791, 1793, and 1795. At the same time that Marx accepts these political freedoms and human "rights of the citizen," he rejects the corresponding economic and bourgeois "rights of man" found in these same French documents which included the narrow and egoistic rights of property, liberty, equality, and security of civil society and a market economy (On the Jewish Question, 1843). Some of the political ideals and human rights of socialism arise from within liberalism itself in dialectical fashion as these very principles push beyond the contradictions and limits of the old social system to call for greater freedom and human emancipation. The "rights of man" and the "rights of the citizen" -- the economic and political rights of the French Revolution -- are incompatible with each other leading Marx to move beyond them to a greater understanding of the political potential of humanity. The economic "rights of man" are chrematistic rights of a market economy, whereas the "rights of the citizen" provide us with the beginnings of the foundation for the political institutions of a moral economy (oikonomike). This critical social theory at the early stage of his philosophical development represents a dialectic of culture and ideas as Marx rejects central elements of the French Declaration of Rights in order to reveal the internal ethical contradictions between market rights and democratic rights. Later he will apply this same method to the empirical and historical study of industrial and class production to reveal the internal, structural contradictions of capitalism leading to the irrationalities of economic exploitation, overproduction of capital, unemployment, and economic crises in an expanding economy. Marx's focus is on the ethical and rational conditions of economic development.
(2) Workplace Justice, Workers' Control, and Civic Virtue: Critique of Economic Alienation: worker ownership of private property and the means of production along with revised and inclusive economic and human rights, equality and freedom, and the civic and moral virtues of a species being (Gattungswesen) which include concern for the common good, general welfare, individual human dignity, self-determination, and worker creativity and beauty in a moral community of artisanship and industrial production. These ethical principles and political ideals were derived from the traditions of Aristotle to Kant, Schiller, and Hegel in his early writings (listen to the 5-H lecture from the course "Social Justice"). Marx's early philosophical writings continue where Hegel's Objective Spirit in the Phenomenology of Spirit left off -- with the French Revolution and Kantian philosophy but within a new and expansive interpretation of historical materialism and a new theory of legal and workplace justice (Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844).
(3) Ecological Justice and Nature: Critique of the Alienation of Nature: non-exploitative, non-alienated, organic, and ethical view of nature based on Aristotle's Physics and Metaphysics. Marx views the physical environment as a reflection of the deeper problems of capitalist production and class oppression requiring a radical transformation of society to overcome the alienation of nature and its corresponding ecological crisis.

PART II: Marx's Theory of Social Justice Based on Aristotle's Politics, Economics, and Theory of Democracy and Political Wisdom

(4) Distributive Justice and Human Needs: from the Paris Manuscripts of 1844 to the Critique of the Gotha Program of 1875, Marx responds to the French socialists' call for distributive justice with his own theory of wealth distribution, economic reciprocity, fairness, and redistribution based on human needs within a moral economy.
(5) Political and Economic Justice and Democracy: decentralized politics, workers' communes, producer cooperatives, economic democracy, and self-government "of the people, by the people" expressed in the Paris Commune of 1871 (Civil War in France, 1871).
(6) Economic Justice, Dialectics, and the Irrationality and Immorality of Unnatural Wealth Acquisition and Capitalist Production: critique of the structures of political economy, the logic of capital, and the political incoherence, ethical immorality, and economic contradictions of the alienation, class exploitation, and human misery of a market economy and capitalist production in his later writings of the Grundrisse (1857), A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859), and Capital (1867, 1885, and 1894). Traditionally, these later economic writings have been misinterpreted through the positivist prism of naturalism and scientism that predict economic crises and the historically inevitable breakdown of the capitalist system. However, on closer investigation, these writings reveal that, when viewed from within the framework of the German Idealism of Hegel and Schelling and the political and economic theory of Aristotle, they expose the structural irrationality, social immorality, and dialectical contradictions of capitalism. For Marx, the logic, structures, and contradictions of capital or unnatural wealth acquisition, as with Aristotle, are incompatible with a society based on virtue, practical wisdom, freedom, equality, self-determination, and democracy, that is, they are morally incompatible with Ethics and Politics.

Liberalism and capitalism are incompatible and inconsistent with the ethical values and political ideals of the Ancients and the Moderns. With its materialism, consumerism, market morality, class oppression, workplace alienation and exploitation, political authoritarianism, global colonization and militarism, and racism, modern industrial society offends the heart, soul, spirit, and reason of humanity and democracy. Marx used his early and later ethical, political, and economic theories, along with his historical and empirical research, in a manner similar to Aristotle -- they were to provide the foundations for his theory of social justice, and not the foundations for a positivistic, Enlightenment, and economic science. Note: Corresponding to each chapter and aspect of social justice, there is a different understanding of the nature of social science and social research methods -- historical science, hermeneutical or interpretive science, human or moral science (universal humanism), phenomenological science (historical materialism and the history of Western consciousness and ideas), critical science (immanent critique), dialectical science (contradictions in the structures, logic, and ethics of political economy), etc. -- that goes beyond the boundaries, questions, and methods of modern positivism and contemporary American sociology and that integrates Science and Social Justice.

Marx's theory of justice follows closely Aristotle's broad theory of social justice found in his Nicomachean Ethics and The Politics:

PART I: Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Happiness, and the Virtuous Life

(1) Rectificatory Justice: Civil Law and Politics
(2) Ethics, Virtue, Love, Friendship, and Practical Wisdom
(3) Environmental Justice: Physics and Metaphysics of Organic Nature

PART II: Aristotle's The Politics, Political Economy, and the Democratic Polity

(4) Particular Justice: Economic Reciprocity and Fair Distribution in the Oikonomike
(5) Universal Justice: Politics and Democracy
(6) Chrematistike and Critique: Critique of a Market Economy of Private and Unnatural Wealth Acquisition

Summary: Marx was a nineteenth-century critical social theorist who redefined and retranslated Aristotle's theory of virtue, natural law, moral economy, democracy, and social justice for the modern age. Comparing Marx and Aristotle using a hermeneutical mapping system from a distance (compare to archaeological mapping and terrestrial laser scanning using LiDAR) provides the analyst with a broad survey and outline of the general landscape and depth structures of their views of social justice that are not immediately visible on the surface -- Outline of the Various Forms of Justice. The historical and social content of Marx's theory of social justice comes from a critical understanding of the history of the Western intellectual traditions from the Ancients to the Moderns. By this means the broader outlines of the various Forms of Justice are integrated into the historical and political economic Content and Substance of Justice. However, with the alienation, disenchantment, repression, and eclipse of reason, these traditions and connections (Horizontverschmelzung) have been lost and must be imaginatively and systematically reconstructed for the modern audience. In order to accomplish this task, Marx integrates and expands Aristotle's ancient theory of ethics (happiness and virtue), and politics (rectificatory, particular, and universal justice) into his modern theory of socialism and social justice. Socialism is an economic and political democracy characterized by the following: a democratic and egalitarian social system grounded in the ethical principles of a moral economy and secular and historical natural law that was to be based on universal human and political rights; productive worker creativity and spirituality, individual freedom and self-determination, respect for the dignity and productive contributions of each person as a species being, and individual fulfillment of sovereign artisanship and the aesthetic laws of beauty in the workplace; political and economic democracy grounded in workers' associations, and the self-government of the people, by the people, political decentralization, and general participation in public, rational discourse; fair economic redistribution, reciprocity, equality, and the realization and satisfaction of fundamental human needs and the common good; and, finally, respect for the integrity and being of the natural environment.

Socialism represented a critique and rejection of the isolated, lonely, and lost individualism of liberal society; the existential crisis of a disenchanted and meaningless world based on alienated, powerless, and exploited labor, and the free choice of consumer goods and personal utility in a market economy; limited market legal rights protecting class and corporate power and privilege; possessive individualism based on a distorted notion of meritocracy, legal ownership, and individual effort and freedom of choice, work, and accomplishment; false liberal democracy which only hides, represses, and protects the irrationality, waste, dehumanization, and poverty of capitalism; the logical (dialectical) and structural contradictions and continuous crises of capitalist production; consumer economy based on false consciousness, distorted human needs, and corporate advertisement; centralized and authoritarian state that undermines true democracy; state militarism, war, and colonialism; and the further abuse and exploitation of nature, class and racial differences, foreign populations, and the human potential for true political and economic freedom and self-realization. The rights of life and liberty in a moral economy are reduced to the market rights of property, wealth, self-interested competition, mindless consumption, and the limitless acquisition of political and economic power (Bellum omnium contra omnes). True democracy is fundamentally contradictory to the principles, values, ideals, and institutions of modern liberalism; natural law and natural rights are incompatible ethical and political doctrines, just as a moral economy and market economy are incompatible social systems; and individual freedom within a market economy is impossible and ultimately destructive of the potentialities of human life. According to the ethics of socialism, human life should mean more than price, profits, power, and consumption.

Marx and the Traditions: Social Justice and the Politics of the Ancient Hebrews, Hellenes, and Hellenists

Karl Marx creates a theory of social justice grounded in an historical and secular natural law that evolves over time by reconstructing a materialist theory of the phenomenology of spirit in which the Ancient Hebrews, Hellenes, and Hellenists, Medieval Scholastics, and Modern German Romantics and Idealists, along with the Classical French and British political economists and socialists, are integrated into a critical theory of history, society, and the spirit. The goal of this social ethics and phenomenology is a dialectical understanding, moral critique, and political emancipation of human work, political economy, and economic democracy. Thus, Marx's theories of Natural Law and Ethics are framed within the history of Western consciousness and reason and integrated into a search for the moral principles of social justice and the social institutions of the good life and ideal community (Objective Spirit):

(1) Ancient Hebrews, Moses, and the Prophets in the Old Testament: The Covenant, Tzedakah, and Mishpat in Torah, Jubilee, and the Sabbath express the ideals of love, kindness, and compassion for the poor and weak espoused by Moses and the Hebrew prophets in the Old Testament. Their principal ethical goal was to maintain the integrity and institutions of an egalitarian and moral community based on the economic and social principles of helping the poor and the stranger, mercy and loving kindness (hesed), equality and primacy of the community, care of people and stewardship of nature, righteousness, compassion for the weak and needy, adherence to fair price and fallow land, the call for the timely redistribution of wealth and property, the right of release, redemption, and return of property to the original owner, freeing of slaves, and the forgiveness of debts [Genesis 1:26-27, Exodus: 22: 19-27 and 23: 10-11 (Sabbath Year); Leviticus 25: 8-13 (Jubilee Year) and 25: 25, 27, and 28 (Jubilee Year and Priestly Code); Deuteronomy 15: 1-4 (release of debts), 24: 14-15 (fair wages and against oppression of workers); Proverbs 22: 22-23 and 29-7 (rights of the poor); Amos 2: 6-8 and 5: 21-24; Jeremiah 7: 4-7 and 22: 15-16; and Ezekiel 16: 48 (sin of Sodom -- lack of compassion for the stranger, the poor, and the needy).
(2) Early Christian Followers of the "Way" and the Ethics of Primitive Communism in the New Testament: The Hebrew tradition was followed by the Early Christians (the Nazarenes) of the Hellenistic period in the New Testament. These first century Christians of the Synoptic Gospels continued the ethical ideals of the Old Testament in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, who taught "the good news to the poor" which is the central moral doctrine of early Christianity that maintained that the ultimate and most important criteria for the Final Judgment rested on "feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and protecting the most vulnerable" (Matt 25: 31-46). They focused their attention on the following issues of political economy: giving up wealth, providing for the poor, fair distribution of wealth and power, wealth distribution based on human needs, the rejection of foreign oppression and military occupation by the legions of the Roman Empire, and the return to the ethical principles of the Torah and the Jubilee and Sabbath Year as they were reinterpreted in early Christian socialism and "the kingdom of God on earth" with its denunciation of idolatry and the worship of the god of money: Luke 2: 1-20 and Matthew 2: 1-2; Luke 6:17-26 and Matt. 5:1-10; Luke 8: 26 and Matt. 8:28; Luke 6: 26 and Matt. 8:28; Luke 12-16 and Matt. 10:1-4; Luke 11:2-4 and Matt. 6: 7-15; Luke 12:49-53, 22:35-38, and 47-51 and Matt. 10:34 and 27::27-31; Luke 16: 19-31, 18:18-27, and 20: 19-26 and Matt. 22:15 and 19:16; Matt. 25:31-46; Luke 19:28-38, 22: 35-38 and Matt. 21: 1-16 and 10: 34-39)]; and James 5:1-6. By the end of the fourth century under the influence of Platonism, the Constantinian Revolution, and the creation of an Imperial Church, Christianity had changed from its early emphasis on social justice, political economy, and helping the weak, poor, and dispossessed into an institutional religion with a focus on spiritual and ritual sin, metaphysics, salvation, and a heavenly kingdom of God. In the process, it lost its earlier focus on justice, wealth redistribution, and the kingdom of God within us on earth (story of Lazarus and the rich man, Luke 17:21).
(3) Ancient Greeks and the Athenian Ideals of the Polis and Oikonomike: Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and the Politics -- his moral philosophy, political economy, and social theory -- outline the heart of Athenian justice of virtue, love, wisdom, happiness, the household economy, grace, reciprocity, and democratic polity. These ideas continue into the Scholasticism of the Middle Ages and the social philosophy of Thomas Aquinas and his theories of property, community, ethics, and value of human labor.
(4) German Idealism of Kant and Hegel and German Romanticism of Goethe and Schiller: They create a new Copernican Revolution and transform our understanding of knowledge and the physical universe as subjectivity -- subjectivity (consciousness) creates the objectivity of the external world in perception and experience for Kant and self-consciousness and reason create the social world as the Objective and Absolute Spirit for Hegel. Just as in epistemology, moral philosophy is defined by the subjectivity of the categorical imperative for Kant, whereas, for Hegel, the social ethics of the System der Sittlichkeit is defined by the ethical community and public virtue of the family, civil society, and the state. German Idealism stressed the importance of consciousness and human creativity in knowledge, ethics, and society which Marx then joins together with the art, poetry, and literature of German Romanticism in the writings of Goethe, Schiller, Heine, and Hölderlin to form his ideas of the centrality of aesthetic beauty, harmony, self-determination, and ethical dignity in the creativity of human labor. Further building upon German Idealism, Marx creates his own theory of consciousness. ideology, historical materialism, dialectics and critical science, and the structural and logical contradictions of industry, private property, and capitalism.
(5) Modern French Socialism of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Charles Fourier, Henri de Saint-Simon, and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: This was a working class movement which rejected the abuse, exploitation, inequality, and poverty of human labor and workers under capitalism. Its representatives called for a more egalitarian society based on the ethical principles of communalism, fairness, the common good, and the economic redistribution of wealth, power, and production based on workers contribution, workers control over production, and the end to private property. The fundamental values of equality, community, fairness, and economic justice are found throughout the Ancient and Modern worlds in the shared principles of economic distribution based on human caring, dignity and need embedded in the Old Testament: Genesis 1:26-27 (imago Dei), Exodus, and Deuteronomy (Jubilee) and the New Testament: Luke 18 and Acts 2 and 4.
(6) Modern British Classical Economic Theory in the 18th and 19th Century: The nineteenth-century French socialists provide an important counterbalance to the classical British economics of Adam Smith and David Ricardo with the latter's understanding of the Industrial Revolution and capitalism articulated in the relationship between production and distribution; the rational balance among industrial production, individual consumer choice, and market price; the new mechanization of factory production and the technical division of labor; and the labor theory of value which some have argued has its origins in Aquinas' Summa Theologica. Marx will integrate these two modern economic traditions with the Ancients and German Idealism to develop a critical and ethical analysis of the inherent possibilities and social and economic contradictions (Widersprüche) contained within the labor theory of value and capitalist production itself -- alienation, exploitation, dehumanization, and the existential meaningless of human life all framed within the structural, ideological, and logical incoherence of capitalism itself. It is here that Marx is using Hegel's dialectic, adjusted in view of Friedrich Schelling's criticisms, and applying it to reveal the moral bankruptcy of capitalism (Aristotle's Ethics) and the structural and historical limits along with the internal and logical barriers of capitalist production to stability, expansion, and rationality itself (Aristotle's theory of household and moral economy [Oikonomike] and the rejection of immoral, irrational, and unnatural wealth acquisition [ Chrematistike]).
(7) Marx and the Phenomenology of the Social Spirit: The Ancient Hebrews, Hellenes, Hellenists, and Medieval Scholastics (Aquinas: Summa Theologica, especially in Second Part and Prologue to Pt. II) all played a central role in the development of Marx's critical social theory from his early Paris Manuscripts of 1844 to his later Grundrisse, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, and Capital. Both Hegel and Marx reject the alienation of modern liberalism, utilitarianism, and the Enlightenment, but it is only Marx who creatively blends together classical ethics, political economy, and critical science in his moral critique of modern capitalism to create a new theory of social justice for modern society. In order to accomplish this Herculean task, he supplies the missing elements in Hegel's alienation of the Objective Spirit -- Ethics, Social Consciousness, and Politics -- by replacing his false idealism and second unhappy consciousness of the Absolute Spirit of philosophy, religion, and art with Aristotle's objective materialism and social theory of classical ethics and politics. Marx retranslates and restructures Greek political and moral philosophy into German critical social theory, thereby creating the modern Germanic form of "Aristotle with an Umlaut" -- Aristötle. In the process, metaphysics and idealism are replaced by historical materialism and critical science. The end product of this imaginative synthesis of historical and intellectual movements is a theory of social justice which integrates the classical ideals of the Ancient and Modern traditions by fusing together ethics, politics, and political economy in order to help the poor, weak, and dispossessed within a communal economy. This is accomplished by building the institutional framework for a moral economy and political democracy, workers control and economic democracy, the working conditions that respect the dignity, creativity, and beauty of human labor, a balanced social and natural ecology of production and nature, and a critical and ethical science. In the final analysis, liberalism, as a modern political and economic ideology, is fundamentally at odds with the central themes, principles, and traditions of social justice in the whole of Western thought.

Silence of Reason and the Flight of Theory from the Academy: Transition from Social Theory to the Primacy of Research Methods and Technical Reason

By the end of the twentieth century, classical and contemporary social theory in the American academy had been replaced by the scientific methods of natural science (Naturwissenschaft) and formal rationality (Zweckrationalität) as theory became a convenient and conventional afterthought and a rationalized research tool. It now serves as a technical utility and validation for the questions and problems to be resolved in research designs and techniques, hypothesis creation, deductive and causal analysis, and the formation of intervening variables and predictive inferences in empirical research as it supports a particular naturalistic logic, theory, and methodology of science, its narrow and specialized questions, and its limited conclusions. Theory can frame a particular problem or issue under scientific investigation; it can confirm and legitimate the problem; it can provide an overview of similar investigations within the history of sociological thought; it can expand the variables and our understanding of the constructed hypothesis; it can actually help create, articulate, and validate the objects of investigation; and it can make the history of social concepts and traditions operational and functional in order to explain contemporary issues and problems. The focus then is on the present and not the past. The central and crucial point here is that social theory helps create the objects of inquiry but is itself not the object of inquiry. The goal of social theory is not historical, exegetical, hermeneutical, or interpretive, but rather, its goal is the illumination and application of social traditions to the explanation and clarification of contemporary problems. Social theory is no longer based on Understanding, Hermeneutics, and Critique, but now rests upon Explanation, Utility, and Application. It is no longer part of the neo-Kantian and neo-Hegelian philosophical tradition, but the Anglo-American tradition of naturalistic science. The emphasis is not on the understanding of ideas of the past or their explication, but its technical and utilitarian application to contemporary social problems and issues. Theory creates social objects and questions within the paradigm of positivism. That is, it doesn't expand theory or our understanding of social theory. It only uses theory for the purposes of creating or articulating a problem or the variable of an hypothesis. Its ultimate goal is the justification of positivism; theory has limited value in itself because its true worth lies in aiding the scientistic and naturalistic method. Theory is only an introduction or prelude to Method. It is a way of stating a problem in order to construct an hypothesis based on a universal law and particular circumstances that can empirically test the problem in order to confirm or falsify the original thesis and universal law. Theory has lost its broad and comprehensive critique of modern society; it has lost its dreams, imagination, and critical traditions to initiate a movement toward social justice.

What is rarely done is to investigate the historical and hermeneutical context of the theory itself as a way of understanding and broadening it. Although much of social theory lies beneath the surface and takes an enormous amount of time and energy to reconstruct its archaeological foundations in the intellectual history of Western thought, this is rarely undertaken. It is a forgotten art form since the traditions that feed into the theory are unknown and lost. European social theory, in particular, has a complex integrated web of different theories, methods, epistemologies, traditions, and approaches that are not recognized or viewed as legitimate from the naturalistic perspective. In reality, theory has little value in itself since it real contribution is to validate and aid the positivist method of inquiry. Since theory is only used as a mechanism of justification for particular methods and research. The history of theory, the content of theory, and its application for social critique and social justice are lost. Even when taught, European social theory is reduced to a formal, mechanical, and uninspiring history of isolated and particular ideas, literature review, or simple content analysis which act only as a prelude or introduction to the perceived legitimate questions and methods of an explanatory and deductive science. Ideas and issues are cherry picked from traditional theories for those concepts helpful in expanding research problems and technical methods; the alternative and critical substance and methods of the theories themselves are ignored and forgotten. In the process, the history of social theory's varied and distinctive methods, different approaches to epistemology and science, connections to ethics and philosophy, and its comprehensive critique of the values, culture, and institutions of modern society are lost and forgotten. And, in the end, there is only silence. We live in a post-theoretical, voiceless universe unable and unwilling to conceptualize or understand the grand traditions from the Ancients to the Moderns. And without theory, there are no dreams; without dreams, there is no justice; and without justice, there is no future -- no way to think about or act against injustice in the world or to reflect upon the possibilities of alternative forms of political economy and social systems. Unfortunately, theory is rarely taught and understood in the American university system today because philosophy has been replaced by observation, theory by methods, reflective thought by science, and ideas by the accumulation of empirical data. And because sociology is so tied to observation, data collection, prediction, and natural science, it cannot generate the social theory that is holistic, integrative, historical, and critical that could generate ideas for social change and social justice.

Now into the third decade of the twenty-first century, theory is no longer a serious consideration or intellectual focus in the lecture halls of our academic institutions resulting in the loss of reason, collective consciousness, and the ancient ideals of Western society. One can only sadly recall Max Horkheimer's fears in his lecturers at Columbia University in the spring of 1944 about the eclipse of reason, the fragmentation of the academy, the decline of the critical traditions, the rise of fascism in the United States, and the inability to recognize or resist these dramatic changes. Due to its acceptance of this positivism, scientific naturalism, and cultural nominalism resulting in the disenchantment of reason and moral nihilism, sociology as a discipline is in a precariously existential crisis and visionless state -- a concern anticipated by the classical social theorists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. And even more problematically, it is only the latest of the disciplines to go down this self-destructive, dark, and perilous path. This is the contemporary social variant of Dante's and Camus' Inferno -- silence in the face of unspeakable political and economic oppression with its corresponding abuse, degradation, and exploitation of humanity -- silence in the face of an infinite and impenetrable void of moral, spiritual, and theoretical emptiness creating an unimaginable intellectual wasteland with no focus or future. These are the academic conditions that provided the fertile ground for Horkheimer's reasonable and terrifying fears years ago that have only intensified and become more real and more dangerous today.

Aristotle was the first true social theorist who combined the study of virtue, happiness, wisdom, moral philosophy, and ethics in the Nicomachean Ethics with the historical and empirical analysis of the structures of a moral economy, forms of the best and worst governments, and political democracy in The Politics. Following closely centuries later, Marx combined his early inquiry into philosophical anthropology, social ethics, and human need in The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 with the critical examination of industrial production, labor theory of value, economic exploitation, and political economy in his later economic writings in A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy and Capital. In the twenty-first century this integration of the humanities and social sciences must continue to combine the moral and social values which give meaning and purpose to human life with the social institutions which make them concrete, real, and possible. A failure to integrate classical Greek Politics with Ethics or integrate modern Sociology with Ethics creates real problems for the development of a critical social theory: Sociology without Ethics makes Sociology blind, irrelevant, and meaningless since it is unable to understand or challenge the given reality of the times, whereas Ethics and Philosophy without Sociology are metaphysically speculative, theoretically abstract, and politically empty. In both cases a critical theory of social justice becomes impossible since one has ideals without an historical and economic context to make them alive and relevant or has a detailed empirical and historical understanding of social reality without ethical and political ideals to serve as the basis for an incisive social critique and a call for comprehensive, structural social change.

With the narrow fragmentation and scientization (naturalism, nominalism, and positivism) of the American academy, this integration seems unlikely and difficult in the near future. The academy has truly become an iron cage of thought and imagination; this situation of the closed and abandoned mind is a result of the dark shadows of the Enlightenment. It is not simply a question of interesting and competing theories and ideals of social reality that can be articulated and publicly debated within the academy. Rather, the very ability to articulate and discuss differences are made impossible since many of the concepts, methods, and orientations of classical and contemporary European social theory have been repressed into a social unconsciousness or state of collective amnesia. Those intellectual traditions spanning the ancient and modern thinkers within sociology that are grounded in different epistemologies, philosophies of science, methodologies, and social theories are lost and forgotten because they do not conform to the accepted standards and textbook definitions of social science and research methods today. And if these social traditions cannot be reassembled and incorporated into a naturalistic and positivistic science, they are left behind and forgotten resulting in the loss of a number of critical schools of thought that could help us better understand and explain the world we live in. This specialized and scientific paralysis keeps us publicly and academically speechless as we are unable to ask substantive and informative questions about the structures and morality of contemporary political economy.

Liberal Arts have been transformed into a defense of the given institutions and values of liberalism, resulting in an unfortunate and unavoidable continuation of classical disenchantment, moral nihilism, alienation, and the eclipse of reason, logic, and science. Without these critical traditions, ideas, and concepts and without our moral, ethical, social, and political values, reason is silenced, thought is lost, and reflection remains mechanically and causally reflexive. Horkheimer has insightfully written that the rise of positivism and the displacement of the humanities has resulted in a situation within the academy and the public sphere where "reason has liquidated itself as an agency of ethical, moral, and religious insight." And it is clear from history that the liquidation of reason precedes the liquidation of human beings. Heinrich Heine presciently wrote in 1820-21: "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen" -- "Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people." This is true today even when the idea of "burning of books" becomes more subtle, complex, and metatheoretical as it is transformed into the repression of ideas and the exile of thoughts, theories, and traditions from consciousness. And, with the loss of these principles and ideals, we lose our heart, spirit, and intellect, along with our ability to change history and society for the better. This liquidation of reason has produced both the iron cage and the holocaust of the mind and the body. In the end, silence is an ethical and political betrayal of humanity, our inherent dignity, our ultimate purpose and meaning in life, and, finally, our dreams and future. There is only existential nothingness and the end of our hopes for true enlightenment, justice, and democracy as we descend deeper and deeper into the morass and confusion of authoritarianism and plutocracy.

           More recently, Professor McCarthy has turned his attention to the interaction among science, nature, and society as he attempts to integrate issues of ecological justice with social justice. To date, he has published ten books mainly in the area of 19th- and 20th-century German social theory. Three of these books have been translated into foreign languages -- Chinese and Japanese.

The goal of education is to help students
recall the emancipatory ideals of the
past as they critically think and
imaginatively dream beyond to a new life
of equality, freedom, and human dignity,
not to adapt to an old one of
capitalism, militarism, and racism.

To dream is to join together the beauty and
elegance of classical horizons with the
critical insights and historical
vision of modern social theory.
To act morally in history is to
make real the principles and
institutions -- the ethics and
politics -- of social justice.
And to do both should be
the desire and destiny of
all humanity.

The serious problem today is that contemporary
society is being torn apart by the evils of
capitalism and plutocracy, at the same
time we no longer have the critical
concepts, language, and traditions
in the academy or politics to see
and understand it -- this is the
real danger of the eclipse of
reason and social justice.
And, as a result, we are
silent in the face of
oppression and




Manhattan College
4513 Manhattan College Parkway
Riverdale, New York  10471
B.A. in Philosophy, honors
June 1968

Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts  02467
M.A. in Philosophy, August 1969
Ph.D. in Philosophy, June 1972
Dissertation: The Social Anthropology of Hegel and Marx

Summer 1972  
U. S. Department of Justice
United States District Court
Southern District of New York
Foley Square, Manhattan, NY 10007
Indictment, Arrest Warrant, and Federal Trial
for Resistance to Vietnam War and Draft Evasion
Felony Indictment: Failure to Report for Armed Services Induction

Summer 1973  
Goethe Institute in Language Study
Blaubeuren, Baden-Württemberg, near Ulm
(2 months)
Brannenburg-Degerndorf, Bavaria, near Munich
(2 months)
West Germany
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst
(DAAD) Language Fellowship

Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität
Universität Frankfurt am Main
Institut für Sozialforschung
(The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory)
Bockenheim, Frankfurt am Main, West Germany
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst
Research Fellowship (DAAD)
in Philosophy and Sociology

Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science
The New School for Social Research
66 West 12th Street
New York, New York  10011
M.A. in Sociology, June 1973
Ph.D. in Sociology, June 1979
Dissertation: Systems Theory and the Engineering of Utopia:
Urban Technology and Planning in the Post-Industrial City


Marx' Critique of Science and Positivism:
The Methodological Foundations of Political Economy

"Sovietica Series," vol. 53
Institute of East-European Studies
University of Fribourg, Switzerland
edited by T. J. Blakeley, Guido Küng, and Nikolaus Lobkowicz
(Dordrecht, Netherlands; Boston, Massachusetts; and
London, England: Kluwer Academic Publications, 1988)

Marx' Critique of Science and Positivism:
The Methodological Foundations of Political Economy

"Sovietica Series," vol. 53
edited by T. J. Blakeley, Guido Küng, and Nikolaus Lobkowicz
new publisher and reprint paperback edition
(Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Publishing, 2012)

Marx and the Ancients:
Classical Ethics, Social Justice, and Nineteenth-Century Political Economy

(Savage, Maryland; London, England: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1990)

Marx and the Ancients
Chinese translation
Ma ke si yu gu ren:
Gu dian lun li xue, She hui zheng yi he 19 shi ji zheng zhi jing ji xue

translated by Wennan Wang
"Western Tradition: Classics and Interpretation -
Marx and the Western Tradition Series"
edited by Liu Forest
paperback edition
(Shanghai, China: East China Normal University Press, 2011)

Eclipse of Justice:
Ethics, Economics, and the Lost Traditions of American Catholicism

with Royal W. Rhodes
hardcover edition
(Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1992)

Eclipse of Justice:
Ethics, Economics, and the Lost Traditions of American Catholicism

with Royal W. Rhodes
new publisher & reprint paperback edition
(Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2009)

Marx and Aristotle:
Nineteenth-Century German Social Theory and Classical Antiquity

collection of essays
edited by George E. McCarthy
"Perspectives on Classical Political and Social Thought Series"
(Savage, Maryland; London, England: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1992)

Marx and Aristotle
Chinese translation
Ma ke si yu ya li shi duo de:
Shi jiu shi ji de guo she hui li lun yu gu dian de gu dai

translated by Hao Yichun, Deng Xianzhen, and Wen Guiquan
"Western Tradition: Classics and Interpretation -
Marx and the Western Tradition Series"
edited by Liu Senlin
commentary by Chen Kaihua
paperback edition
(Shanghai, China: East China Normal University Press, 2015)

Dialectics and Decadence:
Echoes of Antiquity in Marx and Nietzsche

(Lanham, Maryland; London, England: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1994)

Romancing Antiquity:
German Critique of the Enlightenment from Weber to Habermas

(Lanham, Maryland; Oxford, England: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1997)

Objectivity and the Silence of Reason:
Weber, Habermas, and the Methodological Disputes in German Sociology

(New Brunswick, New Jersey; London, England: Transaction Publishers, 2001)

Classical Horizons:
The Origins of Sociology in Ancient Greece

Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award, January 2004
(Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2003)

Classical Horizons:
The Origins of Sociology in Ancient Greece

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic
(Princeton, NJ: Audiobook on Compact Disk, 2003)

Classical Horizons:
The Origins of Sociology in Ancient Greece

Japanese translation
Kodai girishia to shakaigaku:
marukusu veba dyurukemu

(Japanese title)
Ancient Greece and Sociology:
Marx, Weber, and Durkheim
translated by Tatsuo Higuchi & Daisuke Tagami
paperback edition
(Tokyo, Japan: Shogakusya Publishers, 2017)

Dreams in Exile:
Rediscovering Science and Ethics in Nineteenth-Century Social Theory

(Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2009)

Marx and Social Justice:
Ethics and Natural Law in the Critique of Political Economy

"The Historical Materialism Book Series," vol. 147
hardcover edition
(Leiden, The Netherlands; Boston, Massachusetts:
Brill Publishers, 2018)

Marx and Social Justice:
Ethics and Natural Law in the Critique of Political Economy

"The Historical Materialism Book Series," vol. 147
new publisher & reprint paperback edition
Haymarket Books at the
Center for Economic Research and Social Change
(Chicago, Illinois: Haymarket Books, 2019)

Shadows of the Enlightenment:
Critical Theory of Science, Technology, and Nature

(New York, New York: Monthly Review Press,


Justice Beyond Heaven:
Natural Law and Economic Democracy in
U.S., German, and Irish Catholic Social Thought

co-authored with Royal W. Rhodes
(Amherst, New York: Humanity Books,
forthcoming: the first three chapters on German
Catholic social thought have been completed)

Classical Antiquity and Social Theory:
The Greek Inspiration for Marx, Weber, and Durkheim

edited collection of essays
(future project)

Existentialism and Classical Social Theory:
The Foundations of Sociology in the European Crisis of Meaning

(future project)

Prose Poem Meditations on the
Dreams of Reason

Sociology as the Wings of Philosophy
Dreams of Ithaca and Social Justice

Sociology, when at its best, is philosophy with wings in search of Ithaka,
theory with praxis, ideas with application, values with facts,
ethics with politics, virtue with political economy, and justice with social science;
that is, it makes ideas and ethics historically and empirically concrete and relevant
to understanding and resolving today's complex social and environmental problems.
Philosophy without Sociology is theoretically speculative, meaningless, and empty --
without Content and Spirit,
whereas Sociology without Philosophy is overwhelmingly factual, visionless, and blind --
without Concepts and Heart.
However, together they offer unlimited horizons, creative visions, and hopeful futures.
(Durkheim regarded both Plato and Aristotle as the first sociologists
in his essay, "Sociology in France in the Nineteenth Century," 1900)

Social Theory, when integrating sociology and philosophy, is the poetry of the mind and
soulful yearning for human dignity, beauty, and justice
articulated in the political, economic and cultural institutions of society
that, unfortunately today, is lost in a positivist world of
disciplinary fragmentation, surface phenomena, and alienated consciousness.

Philosophy helps give sociology ethical and social purpose, meaning, and ideals --
it encourages sociologists to dream and hope for a better future,
whereas Sociology helps make philosophy historically and socially
real, alive, and practical --
it encourages philosophers to implement and actualize their thoughts in the modern world.
A clear vision and broad range of classical ideals also help make empirical research possible.
They provide the horizons and focus, the breadth and depth for research and science.
Without the integration of sociology and philosophy into a comprehensive and critical
social theory, one only produces a disenchantment and eclipse of reason -- that is,
an endless spinning of metaphysical ideas and mindless accumulation of
empirical facts accompanied by the loss of ethical reason and the
ideals of social justice. This is then followed by a crippling
inability and political unwillingness to resist the distortions
of public and private language and the rise of fascism.
(G. E. M., April 2019)

"Thoughts without Content are Empty,
Intuitions without Concepts are Blind."
(Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, p. 93)

For of the last man in the iron cage, it may truly be said:
"Specialists without Spirit, sensualists without Heart."
(Weber, The Protestant Ethic, p. 182)

Without Content and Spirit -- Without Science: empirical, interpretive, and historical research
Without Objective Spirit or Justice: reason, beauty, and self-determination expressed
in objective social, economic, and political institutions
(Hegel, Marx, and Durkheim)
Without Concepts and Heart -- Without Ideas: substantive reason and social ideals
Without Morality: virtue, sentiment, compassion, and the common good
(Hume, Kant, Hegel, and Weber)


The true power and grace of nineteenth-century Classical Social Theory
lies in its integration of Social Science with Social Justice --
Political Economy and History with Moral Economy and Ethics
Economic Structures, Contradictions, and Crises
with Virtue, Politics, and Democracy
European Sociology with German Philosophy
Classical Social Theory with Classical Greece
English Factory with the Parthenon and Greek Beauty
Moderns with the Ancients
Marx, Weber, and Durkheim with
Epicurus & Aristotle and
Goethe & Schiller


"As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon -- don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body...
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for..."
(Constantine Cavafy, Ithaka, trans. by
Edmund Keeley, October 1911)

Dramatic reading of Cavafy's full poem "Ithaka"
(poem recited by Sean Connery with music by Vangelis)

Searching for Ithaca--
Learning to Dream with
Aesthetic Creativity and Political Ideals
to realize
Classical Beauty and Social Justice

Descent into Darkness

Crossing the Acheron
into the Silence And Shades
of Modern Liberalism

(Integrating Horkheimer, Dante, and Camus)

American Positivism and Analytic Philosophy
have sadly misunderstood and forgotten the
classical and contemporary dreams of European social theory.
They have fragmented and scientized the disciplines just as
they have repressed the social ideals and classical traditions of the academy
to the point where liberal arts is a lonely and isolated political ideology
incapable of reason, dreams, or theoretical visions of the future.
The academy was once an exalted place of hope and purpose, of dedication and
enlightenment, of intellectual and spiritual exploration, of rebellion and ideals,
and of individual growth and communal moral responsibility.
Now all that remains is a marketplace of ideas, soulless empiricism and
mechanical rationalism, formal and disenchanted science, and a
narcissistic and never-ending search for academic recognition
and power accompanied by the desire for metaphysical
solace and material comfort.

We live in an authoritarian world that still yearns for the
classical ideals and dreams of democracy, equality, and freedom,
but has no understanding of what that means or entails.
We see concentration camps and family separation cages for very young
immigrants on our Southern border, watch Nazis and Nationalists march in
the streets with impunity and arrogance, and are astounded by the kidnapping
and arrest of peaceful anti-racist protesters by paramilitary secret police
as we vaguely remember a time past that echoes throughout the present.
We also see a general imprisonment of Americans in camps of
concentrated inequality, poverty, homelessness, shipping container
housing, debilitating debt, poor education, inadequate health care,
and despondent human misery all over the country, even for
those who believe that hard work will set them free or that
compassionate liberalism and the welfare state will provide
for their economic well-being and personal quality of life.
There is a frightening hollowing out of any remaining ethical
and political values in society in favor of corporate power
by the right-wing judiciary and fawning politicians.
It is another form of economic slavery under
the guise of market freedom and natural rights.
It represents just another form of chattel and
wage slavery in the modern ghettos and iron
cages of monopoly capital and the rule of
the political elite and top 1%. And
beyond that, there is no recognition
of their abuse or even need for
immediate social change.

There is predatory capitalism, corporate lobbying, looting, and tax evasion,
white nationalism, oppressive racism, militarism, maintenance of a
global economic empire as well as homophobia, misogyny, redlining,
gerrymandering, resegregation, dark money, super PACs,
Citizens United, voter intimidation and suppression,
union busting, dehumanizing and mindless work,
massive and pervasive class inequality,
disruptive and distorting income,
wealth, and power distribution,
crushing violence and poverty of
the mind, body, and soul,
misplaced identities, paralyzed potentialities,
and lost futures,
a market economy of rapacious materialism and
consoling consumerism replacing
ethical, spiritual, and human needs,
brutish narcissism and nasty egoism replacing a moral
economy of love, kindness, and friendship,
false imprisonment due to race, ethnicity, and class,
air pollution, global warming, industrialized farming,
ecological crisis, and gross incoherence and
amnesic indifference among the adults, along
with growing psychological fear, anxiety,
clinical depression, self-deprecation,
and intense, inner isolation and
loneliness among the young.

From Point Comfort, Richmond, Colfax, Tulsa
and Birmingham to Selma and Montgomery,
from Wounded Knee, Manzanar, and
Topaz to Charlottesville,
from Haymarket to Kent State,
from Columbine and Newtown,
Ferguson and Parkland to
Minneapolis and Lafayette Square,
from Hamburg and Dresden
to Tokyo and Nagasaki,
from Korea and Vietnam to
Iran and Iraq,
from Chile and Panama
to El Salvador and Nicaragua,
from firebombings, saturation and
carpet bombings to search and destroy
missions against civilians,
from social violence, war crimes,
crimes against humanity, and slavery,
there has been mass intolerance,
oppression, and genocide by the
United States unnoticed and hidden
behind a deceptive and deflective
ideology of expanding international
peace, prosperity, and personal
freedom in the early free markets to
neoliberalism. But no one recognizes
these blatant and soul-crushing,
moral outrages, just as sorrowful
and reflective tears fall upon a
desert floor unheard and
unnoticed by anyone.

And they still call this system a democracy?
Have they not lost their sense of
honor, shame, or decency
or for that matter even their sense of irony?
Or are these social pathologies simply economic
and ethical externalities and inconveniences
out of sight and out of mind as we descend
deeper and deeper down the darkened and
perilous path to the same soulless and
tragic end as the shadows of Weimar --
the rise of fascism, nationalism,
militarism, and the capitalist elite.
And all that remains among these frozen and
treacherous shades in the ninth circle is a
tormenting and unreasonable silence
unrelenting without love, trust, or tears.
Today, in our own distinctive world of
tortured and homeless shadows, there
is a sickness and silence unto death
in our concepts, theories, and
actions that are a direct betrayal
of reason, democracy, and
humanity -- Silence is a
betrayal of the dreams
of romantic Ithaka and
social justice.

This void of silence and social justice in the academy is a
product of the "decadence," "disenchantment," "anomie,"
and "liquidation" of objective reason, and the "alienation"
and loss of the classical horizons of critical social theory
and its European traditions.
Theory has been displaced and forgotten in the academy by
positivism and its critical questions suppressed by
methodological and scientistic narrowness and purity.
A will to methods and power has replaced ethics and
justice along with our ability to imagine and
speak with strength, depth, and vision.
The end product is a naturalization and
abdication of the critical, public voice
of reason and hope resulting in an
existential and spiritual emptiness,
a nihilistic void of meaning and
purpose in human life, and a
continuing and deepening despair
among the morally uncommitted and
despised souls along the shores
of the Acheron lost in the horrid
and blinding darkness, squalor, and
hypocrisy of Western liberal
democracy grounded in
monopoly capital,
class plutocracy,
evolving fascism,
ecological crisis,
structural racism,
workplace slavery,
and caste hatred.

This is a vacuous world of indistinct,
vague shadows among the forgotten
and angry souls of Hades --
people who never stood and
fought at a Thermopylae --
who lived
without meaning and values,
without concepts and ideas,
without hopes and dreams,
without compassion and love.
For them, freedom, liberty,
and individual rights meant
property ownership and
wealth accumulation,
market opportunities,
material self-interest,
and consumer choices,
along with a strong distrust
and fear of others.
The essence of humanity's
potential was measured by
the actualities of the market
and not by the ideals and
institutions of the human
spirit and social justice.
Democracy was calculated as
a free market choice of
political consumption and
not viewed as an expression
of humanity's highest ethical
principles of political virtue,
human dignity, and
the common good.
This is an empty, corrupt
world of the morally displaced
and abandoned shades who
cannot remember the past,
cannot change the present,
have no hope for the future.
The material and class poverty
of liberalism is matched only by the
degrading and dehumanizing poverty
of its spirit, soul, and ideas.
It is a place in which people can't breathe
because this form of democracy
itself is lifeless --
We all can't breathe.

It is here in the deepest and darkest caverns of mindless anger
and promoted aggression that democracy is eternally confused
and conflated with an oppressive corporate oligarchy
engaged in a monopoly control of the economy and
state. How can it be that so few people in politics
or the academy notice the logical inconsistencies,
contradictions, and incoherence of this position?
How can it be that so few people speak out?
And how have we lost our broad cultural
horizons, collective consciousness, and
creative voice to counter this
hellish barbarism?
The notions of liberal democracy and freedom
with their economic rights and liberties are
ideals and realities of false consciousness
and distorted political economy that
could only have been sustained by
the numbing cries and languishing
screams of those forsaken and
compassionless shades
of chrematistike,
who undermined the ideals of
classical Athens and modern
socialism, and whose
terrifying and distant
sounds can still be heard
coming from the inner
circle of deceitful
traitors beyond
the Acheron.

This is not a time for a lack of courage,
fear, resignation, or retreat, but a time
to resist, to dream, and to build --
(G. E. M., July 2020)




"Keep Ithaka always in your mind..."
"Honor to those who in the life they lead
define and guard a Thermopylae.
Never betraying what is right,
consistent and just in all they do
but showing pity also, and compassion..."
(Constantine Cavafy, Thermopylae,
translated by
Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard)

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that
good men should do nothing."
(attributed to Edmund Burke and John Stuart Mill)

"Silence is Betrayal,"
(Martin Luther King, Jr., Beyond Vietnam,
Speech on Vietnam War, 1967)

"[W]e are saying that something is wrong with capitalism.
There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America
must move toward a democratic socialism."
(MLK, Speech to his Staff, 1966)

"The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism
and evils of racism."
(MLK, Speech to Southern Christian
Leadership Conference, March 30, 1967)

"We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation
and militarism are all tied can't really get rid of one
without getting rid of the others...the whole structure of American life
must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation and [we] must put [our]
own house in order."
(MLK, Report to Southern Christian Leadership
Conference Staff, May 1967)

"Black capitalism won't save us
You can't end racial inequality with consumerism...or opportunity zones."
(Aaron Ross Coleman, The Nation, May 2018)

"'I can't breathe' is a kind of shorthand for all of the ways that policy
violence is suffocating the life out of people & democracy itself" --
including death and strangulation by police violence, poverty,
class and low wealth, poor health insurance, voter suppression, etc.
(Rev. Dr. William Barber, Twitter, June 12, 2020 and his
sermon "America, Accepting Death Is Not an Option Anymore!,"
June 14, 2020 at

"First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me."
(Martin Niemöller, Post-War Confession of a
German Lutheran Pastor,

Due to rise of radical Protestantism, nominalism, and positivism (Hume) --
"Reason has liquidated itself as an agency of
ethical, moral, and religious insight,"
(Max Horkheimer, Eclipse of Reason,

Elie Wiesel, noted Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, said he was often asked
the question: "Where was God at Auschwitz?"
His response was, "Where was Man at Auschwitz?"
(Elie Wiesel, Speech at Kenyon College,
February 23, 1983)

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering
and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor,
never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
(Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Speech, 1986)

"Christ led me to Marx...For me, the four gospels are all equally communist."
(Father Ernesto Cardenal, Catholic poet and revolutionary,
1984 interview mentioned in The New York Times Obituary,
March 2, 2020)

Honor to the memory of the German students of the White Rose at the University
of Munich in the early 1940s who did not remain silent but
resisted Hitler and Nazism.
(Richard Hanser, A Noble Treason)
Watch the movies Die Weisse Rose and Sophie Scholl
See the tribute to the members of the White Rose
by Stephan Beneking at
and also see the short award winning 2012 documentary
"The Legacy of the White Rose" at














(Click on the blue course number in the left-hand column for more information about
 the syllabus, course description, required readings, and digital audio recordings for each course)

Socy 102                     Social Dreamers:
          Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud
      (Introductory Sociology Course)
Socy 222           State and Political Economy:
           Profits and Poverty in the
                  Welfare State
Socy 234       Communitarianism and Social
Socy 242               Science, Society, and
                the Environment:
       Integrating Ecological and
                     Social Justice
    (Environmental Studies Program)
Socy 243                     Social Justice:
         The Ancient and Modern
          (Legal Studies Program)
Socy 248          Modernity and the Ancients
Socy 324       Natural Law and Natural Rights
Socy 360                 Kant, Hegel, and
           Modern Social Theory
Socy 361             Classical Social Theory:
      Marx, Weber, and Durkheim
Socy 362         Contemporary Social Theory
Socy 461              German Social Theory:
          From Freud to Habermas
Socy 474                Western Marxism:
            Critical Theory of the
               Frankfurt School
National Endowment for the Humanities Project         Democracy and Social Justice:
              Ancient and Modern





Montage of
Ancient Corinth and Athens



Palme House
Gambier, Ohio



Die Weisse Rose
"Liebe, Freundschaft, und Mut zum Widerstand"
Social Dreams and Classical Ideals

"Beauty will save the world," Fyodor Dostoevsky



"Expanding the Classical Horizons of the
Ancients and the Moderns"

Acropolis and Parthenon
Athens, Greece

Ho ti kalon philon aei
(A thing of beauty is a joy forever)
Euripides, Bakkhai

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all
Ye know on earth and all ye need to know."
John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn

And the ultimate Beauty of the World is
Social Justice
Expressed in the form of Art, Ethics,
Economics, Politics, and Ecology --
Human Dignity, Creativity, Self-Determination,
and Social and Economic Democracy


"Dancing Star" & Friend
Eugene, Oregon


"Classical Dreams of Justice and Beauty"

Parthenon from the Pnyx
Athens, Greece
Home of the Athenian Assembly

The True Beauty of Classical Greece lies in
Aristotle and the Athenian Polity


"Modern Impression of Classical Beauty"

April 2015


We shun them, living exiles, labeled mad,
who see the world turned upside down we shrink
by private ownership of all each hand
imprints, and in our iron cage we think

we're free. The mad behold this human treason
and scream against the death of nature's reason.
But dreams reveal to what were blinded eyes
the truth that Justice holds that never dies.

The Commune, like far Ithaka, contains
ideals we journey towards before we die,
when like gods we break our final chains
to boldly face our own Thermopylae.

Life itself is found in simple joy,
in beauty, love, and art the spinning earth
in all the random grace that hearts employ
will see a new creation at its birth.

In dreams an ancient wisdom whispers: Heal
our modern madness, help the heavens move,
seek a newer world and make it real,
with hearts the sun and stars unite in love.

--- Royal Rhodes
Endpiece in Marx and Social Justice






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and electronic video lectures are the personal property of the author
and should not be used without his permission.
Be safe and well.