Lukács, in his central text of History and Class Consciousness, and its central essay “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” in particular, points . This book reads Georg Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness through the drafts of his unfinished philosophy of art (the so-called “Heidelberg Aesthetics”). Keywords: Lukács; Heidegger; Authenticity; Reification; Ontology. 1. Lukács on reification and Marxian alienation. Engels invented classical Marxism in Ludwig.

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But, at the same time, workers cannot have any immediate self-consciousness of their work other than of a qualitatively determined activity. Far from weakening the reified structure of consciousness, this actually strengthens it.

In his writings the structure of this figure of thought becomes clear. The trend to reify works of art as forces or objects of market activity continues well into our time. Thus the extent to which such exchange is the dominant form of metabolic change in a society cannot simply be treated in quantitative terms – as would harmonise with the modern modes of thought already eroded by the reifying effects of the dominant commodity form.

Nevertheless, the cohesion of these laws is purely formal: MIT Press,pp. The internal organisation of a factory could not possibly have such an effect – even within the factory itself – were it not for the fact that it contained in concentrated form the whole structure of capitalist society. On the other hand, the period of time necessary for work to be accomplished which forms the basis of rational calculation is converted, as mechanisation and rationalisation are intensified, from a merely empirical average figure to an objectively calculable work-stint that confronts the worker as a fixed and established reality.

Crass forms of reification surrogate motherhood, the marketization of romantic relationships, the explosive growth of the sex industry, as well as the observable trend toward emotional management, the pervasive social atmosphere of a cold practicality have induced writers like Martha Nussbaum to use the term reification. The purely systematic categories which were necessary before a judicial system could become universally applicable arose only in modern times.

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Rwification divorce of the phenomena of reification from their economic bases and from the vantage point from which alone they can be understood, is facilitated by the fact that the [capitalist] process of transformation must embrace every manifestation of the life of society if the preconditions for the complete self-realisation of capitalist production are to be fulfilled.

Here, the domination of the producers by the conditions of production is concealed by the relations of dominion and servitude which appear and are evident as the direct motive power of the process of production.


French philosopher Louis Althusser criticized what he called the ” ideology of reification” that sees ‘things’ everywhere in human relations”.

It is limited, however, by reufication own formalism. The high degree of de-radicalization in the approach of Luoacs and Class Consciousness, if one no longer shares reificaion capitalism-theoretical and revolutionary premises, becomes apparent, at the latest, when one observes Habermas as he describes the social pathologies of our present time.

The movement of commodities on the market, the birth of their value, in a word, the real framework of every rational calculation is not merely subject to strict laws but also presupposes the strict ordering of all that happens. Consumer articles no longer appear as the products of an organic process within a community as for example in a village community.

Marx lays great stress on the essentially episodic appearance of the commodity form in primitive societies: It is a process which affects four dimensions of social relations: There is little doubt that after the break their judgment on their early work was too harsh, that it contains more of value and had more impact on the later relfication than the authors were willing to admit.

I had the good fortune to study with representatives of both these schools of thought, with Herbert Marcuse and Lucien Goldmann. The distinction also has repercussions upon the nature and validity of the category itself. There is no need to spell out the fact that for us these are both merely aspects of the same dialectical unity.

An entire series of potentially influential critical approaches has left a visible trace: The freedom of a social subject is limited by both these determinations. Reification requires that a society should learn to satisfy all its needs in terms of commodity exchange.

Frankfurt School philosopher Axel Honneth reformulates this key “Western Marxist ” concept in terms of intersubjective relations of recognition and power in his recent work Reification Oxford, Before tackling the problem itself we must be quite clear in our minds that commodity fetishism is a specific problem of our age, the age of modern capitalism.

Other readers, less concerned with orthodoxy of whatever stripe on the other hand, have pointed to the wealth, and the scope of his perspective: For as long as the fate of the worker still appears to be an individual fate as in the case of the slave in antiquitythe life of the ruling classes is still free to assume quite different forms.

Georg [György] Lukács

Because a break with the organic unity and totality of human existence is a necessary precondition for this development, the commodity form must, over time, subject all social spheres to its rule. Since its publication this unfinished early work has come to rival Capital as the text of reference for Marxists and others interested in Marxism. In the post-democratic condition, the citizen appears to become a marginalized political object, whose participation is limited to taking part in formal democratic procedures and in the public debate about symbolic Ersatz actions on the political stage.


I will show that they are only partially successful in this task, but also that the task itself was well chosen and indeed is still relevant to critical theory and practice.

In the nature of things it is excluded, in the first place, where production for the use-value, for immediate personal requirements, predominates; and secondly, where slavery or serfdom form the broad foundation of social production, as in antiquity and during the Middle Ages.

The finished article ceases to be the object of the work-process.

Lukacs’ Theory of Reification

For these modern businesses with their fixed capital and their exact calculations are much too sensitive to legal and administrative irrationalities.

Instead, he tackled the philosophical foundations of these problems in the context of a new reading of the philosophical tradition, and especially of Hegel. Sign up here for discounts and quicker purchasing. The abstract individual subject of pure knowledge transcends nature and need. Lothar Peter, Marx an die Uni. Abstracted from geography, race, language, and technology, and nothing remains to hold the individuals together in a group.

In favour of this compatibility, however, Honneth sacrifices essential aspects of the paradigm. It is in particular the constitutional state that he pins his hopes on, in order to limit the colonialist tendencies of market money and power, and to curtail the total mediatization of the living world, along with the tools of an enlightened public and communicative reason.

The manner in which this transcendence is conceived shows how vain was the hope that a comprehensive discipline, like philosophy, might yet achieve that overall knowledge which the particular sciences have so conspicuously renounced by turning away from the material substratum of their conceptual apparatus. This development leads into a contradictory situation both on the practical and the theoretical level: This unity of culture, philosophy, and politics is the distinctive trait of their early method.

Epic poetry in Homeric times takes its starting point from a world which constituted a closed totality