Again, a thank you to Arto Artinian and Peter Bratsis for leading the seminar last week on the early Marx’s Paris Manuscripts and I will reorient some of the discussion this week around the crucial concept of alienation and Objectification and a few remarks on the critique of the Hegelian dialectic and where I think Marx was beginning to crystalize his studies in philosophy and political economy.
This week’s reading (a bit delayed) is G. Lukacs’ section 1, the phenomenon of reification from the classic essay, “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat” pages 83–110 in History and Class Consciousness. This work of Lukacs is the first major contribution to Marx as Philosopher in the tradition (pace Plekanov and Lenin). We will look at it through the lens of the Kantian distinction between the phenomenal and nouemal realm and think through the movement of rational mechanization and the calculability of everyday life alongside the full commodification of everything. Within the commodity structure itself, we will begin to understand what reification is and too prevalent it still is today.
I hope to situate Lukacs work as well to give a sense of the immensity of his contribution to Marxist Philosophy in epistemology, aesthetics and literary criticism, as well as great essays on Strategy and tactics. Gyorgy Lukacs was truly a historical actor and intellectual who consistently tried to bridge theory and practice and as a revolutionary communist consistently engaged in long term practice of insurrection. We will also discuss the major influence of the early Hegel on his thinking.
For the following week, we will read Korsch and a short piece by Adorno on “Why still Philosophy?”