Rethinking Scientific Hermeneutics with Herbert Marcuse:
As an occasional feature on TELOSscope, we highlight a past Telos article whose critical insights continue to illuminate our thinking and challenge our assumptions. Today, Katherine McGinity looks at Dimitri Ginev’s “The Erotic Attitude Toward Nature and Cognitive Existentialism” from Telos 152 (Fall 2010).
Dimitri Ginev’s “The Erotic Attitude Toward Nature and Cognitive Existentialism” seeks to uncover ways in which Herbert Marcuse’s call for a “new science” could be achieved in current scientific research. Marcuse’s ideas are committed to an “erotic” attitude toward nature that moves away from the technological rationality that drives scientific research. Marcuse posits that engaging in an erotic attitude toward nature would allow natural entities to “be what they are” and reveal their inherent aesthetic qualities. According to Marcuse, this dramatic shift in scientific research would change essentialist thinking about science and its norms of objectivity. Ginev shares Marcuse’s feeling that current scientific research methods are problematic in their reductive approach to nature as something that can be controlled and manipulated. However, Ginev points out that attempting to dismantle the subjective-objective structure of modern science proves difficult based solely in Marcuse’s outline.