Department of Sociology
Kenyon College
Treleaven House
105 West Brooklyn Street
Room 202
Gambier,  Ohio   43022

Office:  (740) 427-5849    
Department Office Manager: 
 (740) 427-5855 (morning)
 (740) 427-5809 (afternoon)
Website Address:



(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
as the classical inspiration and creative vision of Karl Marx's
(Longing for Ancient Greece)
(Fusion of Horizons and Traditions)
as he creates a classical vision of workers' associations,
economic democracy, and self-government
"of the people, by the people"
-- The Paris Commune --

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



Reprint Paperback 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 classical political economy and German Idealism.
Both 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.
Although framed within Aristotle's
ethics and politics, this book
focuses entirely on Marx's
theory of social justice
with chapters on
Locke and Hegel.


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).

           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 Politische Wissenschaft at the University of Munich, the Katholische Sozialwissenschaftliche Zentralstelle in Mönchengladbach, and the department of Philosophie und Erziehungswissenschaft-Humanwissenschaften at the Gesamthochschule, University of 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; 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 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 these five points 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). To date, he has published ten books, three of which have been translated into foreign languages -- Chinese and Japanese.




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
(Chicago, Illinois: Haymarket Books, 2019)

Shadows of the Enlightenment:
The Hidden Politics of Science, Technology, and Ecological Justice

(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,

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 Meditation on
Social Dreams

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 --
the loss of substantive reason and social justice accompanied by an
inability and 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."
(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

The Academy and the Eclipse of Reason

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 a 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 consumer comfort.

We live in an authoritarian world that still yearns for the
classical ideals of democracy, equality, and freedom
but has no understanding of what that entails or means.
We see concentration camps for very young immigrants on our Southern border and
watch Nazis and Nationalists march in the streets with impunity and arrogance
as we vaguely remember a time past that echoes throughout the present.
We also see a general imprisonment of Americans in camps of
inequality, poverty, and human misery all over the country
even for those who believe that hard work will set them free.
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%.
But there is no recognition of their abuse or even need for immediate social change.
There is predatory capitalism and structural racism, homophobia, misogyny, redlining,
gerrymandering, dark money, Citizens United, voter suppression, dehumanizing
and mindless work, massive and pervasive class inequality, crushing poverty
and violence of the mind and body, air pollution, global warming,
industrialized farming, ecological crisis, and gross indifference
among the adults, along with growing psychological fear, anxiety,
depression, self-deprecation, and loneliness among the young.
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?
All that remains is Silence.
Silence in our concepts, theories, and
actions is the betrayal of reason,
democracy, and humanity --
Silence is the betrayal of 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 forgotten and displaced by positivism
and with it our ability to reason and speak with
strength, depth, and vision.

This is not a time for fear or despair, but a time to dream and build --

"Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for."


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

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,

"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,

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 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:
       Crisis of the Enlightenment
                     and Ecology
    (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 Creativity, Self-Determination, and
Social 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






All syllabi, pictures, paintings, written course outlines, electronic audio lectures,
and electronic video lectures are the personal property of the author
and should not be used without his permission.