Social Structure and Forms of Consciousness, Volume 1: The Social Determination of Method

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NYU Press, 2010 - Philosophy - 463 pages

This new work (the first in a two-volume series) by the leading Marxian philosopher of our day is a milestone in human self-understanding. It focuses on the location where action emerges from freedom and necessity, thefoundation of all social science.

Today, as never before, the investigation of the close relationship between social structure—defined by Marx as "arising from the life-process of definite individuals"—and the various forms of consciousness is particularly important. We can only perceive what is possible by first identifying the historical process that constrains consciousness itself and therefore social action.

The relationship between social structure and forms of consciousness discussed in this volume is multifaceted and profoundly dialectical. It requires the presentation of a great wealth of historical material and the assessment of the relevant philosophical literature, from Descartes through Hegel and the Liberal tradition to the present, together with their connections with political economy and political theory. István Mészáros moves beyond both abstract solutions to the surveyed methodological questions and one-sided structuralist evaluation of the important substantive issues, bringing the process of our understanding of social structure and consciousness to a level not previously attained.

Above all, in the spirit of the Marxian approach, even the most complicated problems are always analyzed in relation to the major practical concerns of our time. The primary aim of this work is to outline the dialectical intelligibility of historical development toward a viable societal reproductive order. Social Structures and Forms of Consciousness is of the highest importance as both a political and philosophical work, illuminating the place from where we must act, today.

 

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Written for the posh educated classes by someone who purports to be writing for the interests the working class. In short the dustbin of history awaits his books because they won't be read by the people who have the interest of the destruction of capital at heart.

Contents

INTRODUCTION
11
THE PROGRAMMATIC ORIENTATION TOWARD SCIENCE
27
THE GENERAL TENDENCY TO FORMALISM
37
and Intellectual Inversions
45
and Universal ValueEquation
51
THE STANDPOINT OF ISOLATED INDIVIDUALITY
67
5
98
6
114
6
141
AND SOCIAL THEORIES
149
The Question of Social Agency
186
THE POSTULATES OF UNITY AND UNIVERSALITY
205
Be the Empirically General Will
251
METHOD IN A HISTORICAL EPOCH OF TRANSITION
277
INDEX
451
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About the author (2010)

István Mészáros is a world-renowned philosopher and critic. He left his native Hungary after the Soviet invasion of 1956. He is professor emeritus at the University of Sussex, where he held the chair of philosophy for fifteen years. Meszaros is author of The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time, Beyond Capital, The Power of Ideology, The Work of Sartre, and Marx’s Theory of Alienation.

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