[Marxism] Hegel : 'hopeless baggage'?

Vince Garton vince.garton at gmail.com
Fri Jan 10 10:56:18 MST 2014


I don't have much to add to Mark and Shaun's excellent observations -- 
Marxism divorced from its understanding of historical contingency is not 
Marxism at all -- other than that I wanted to bring up a couple of 
interesting snippets from Adorno's Metacritique of Epistemology on this 
subject. The book itself is a rather narrow attack on Husserl, but a lot 
of what he says, whatever you think about Adorno himself, has broader 
application, e.g.:

"Doubt simply shifts judgement to preparing for assuming the vindication 
of pre-critical consciousness scientifically in secret sympathy with 
conventional sensibility."

"Thought capitulates into empiricism too early and with too little 
resistance. By humbly deferring to sheer existence, thought fails to 
come to grips with it and thus abandons the moment of freedom and 
experience. Logically consistent critical and self-reflective thought 
[on the other hand] grasps, in the very jurisdiction of immanence, 
incomparably more about essence -- viz. about the life process of 
society -- than a procedure that resigns itself to registering facts, 
and really lays down its arms before even beginning."

In other words empiricism has its proper place, but to the extent that 
thought is always mediated by historically, materially conditioned 
ideology, indiscriminate Comtean "empiricism" that only comprises an 
attempt to collect mute facts about society is not enough.

That's precisely where the Hegelian legacy comes in, taking up the 
challenge of theory from where the unmediated abstraction of 
18th-century thought left off.

Yours

Vincent




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