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Abstract

In his article "Sartre, Marcuse, and the Utopian Project Today," Robert T. Tally Jr. discusses the philosophical legacy of the May 1968 revolution in Paris with respect to the power of the imagination and the possibilities for utopian thought in our own time. Although the rhetoric of the 1968 militants may seem dated, the underlying theoretical and political concepts are surprisingly timely in the twenty-first century. Among these, existential angst or anxiety has perhaps a heightened salience in the era of globalization and of global economic crisis, and the utopian desire for a life without anxiety has become more pressing. Tally revisits the work of Jean-Paul Sartre and Herbert Marcuse, philosophers who inspired a generation of militants in the 1960s, and examines their critical theory in the context of today's concerns. These thinkers asserted the power of the imagination to create alternatives to the seemingly immutable realities of life under advanced industrial capitalism, a life characterized by anxiety. Drawing on Fredric Jameson's notion of cognitive mapping, Tally argues that the utopian impulse behind Sartre's existentialism and Marcuse's critique of one-dimensional society is still a powerful force for exploring our own postmodern condition.

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