Gillian Rose: Hegel contra sociology (1981)

21-22: “The neo-Kantian paradigm of validity and values founded two kinds of ‘socio-logy’, two logics of the social: a logic of constitutive principles for the sociology based on the priority of validity, and a logic of regulative postulates for the sociology based on the priority of values. The former identifies social reality by a critique of consciousness; the latter locates social reality within the realm of consciousness and its oppositions.
It is the logic which grants priority to values, which is known, strictly speaking, as ‘sociology’. /…/ Parsons’ exposition of the thought of Durkheim and Weber as a single body of convergent theory, the theory of social action, /…/ remain within the logic of regulative postulates.
The logic which grants priority to validity was criticized for the ‘positivism inherent in it, and thus for the whole neo-Kantian paradigm itself: for the transformation of the Kantian question of validity into methodologism.”
22: “Dilthey, Heidegger, Mannheim, Benjamin and Gadamer have this criticism in common; /…/ they developed the kind of metacritique of Kant already attempted by Durkheim: the argument that the Kantian a priori, the categories, itself has a social, historical or external presupposition.”

27: “The thought of Lukács and of Adorno represent two of the most original and important attempts to break out of the neo-Kantian paradigm of validity and values. Their work has achieved renown as an Hegelian Marxism, but it constitutes a neo-Kantian Marxism. For the reception of Hegel and Marx on which it is based was determined by their neo-Kantian education. /…/ They turned the neo-Kantian paradigm into a Marxist sociology of cultural forms by combining Simmel’s philosophy of form with a selective generalization of Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism.
Lukács broke out of the neo-Kantian paradigm of validity and values in the same way as Hegel transformed the meaning of Kant’s philosophical method, by giving priority to the critique of aesthetic judgement.”

28: “Lukács generalizes Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism by making a distinction between the total process of production, ‘real life-processes’, and the resultant objectification of social forms. This notion of ‘objectification’ has more in common with the neo-Kantian notion of the objectification of specific object-domains than with an ‘Hegelian’ conflating of objectification, human praxis in general, with alienation, its form in capitalist society, as Lukács later claimed. By making a distinction between underlying process and resultant objectifications Lukács was able to avoid the conventional Marxist treatment of capitalist social forms as mere ‘superstructure’ or ‘epiphenomena’; legal, bureaucratic and cultural forms have the same status as the commodity form. Lukács made it clear that ‘reification’ is the specific capitalist form of objectification. It determines the structure of all the capitalist social forms.”
29: “The advantage of this approach was that Lukács opened up new areas of social life to Marxist analysis and critique. /…/ The disadvantage was that Lukács omitted many details of Marx’s theory of value /…/
A further disadvantage is that the sociology of reification can only be completed by a speculative sociology of the proletariat as the subject-object of history. /…/ or by introducing the party as a deus ex machina.”

218: “Lukács’ History and Class Consciousness is an attempt to give Capital a phenomenological form: to read Marx’s analysis of capital as the potential consciousness of a universal class. But Lukács’ emphasis on change in consciousness as per se revolutionary, separate from the analysis of change in capitalism, gives his appeal to the proletariat or the party the status of an appeal to a Fichtean will. The question of the relation between Capital and politics is thus not an abstract question about the relation between theory and practice, but a phenomenological question about the relationship between acknowledgement of actuality and the possibility of change.”

30-31: “Lukács’ resolution of the problem of reification in bourgeois thought, the thing-in-itself, and in social reality, the commodity form, is developed and stated in Fichtean terms. To call the ‘standpoint of the proletariat’ one from which ‘man is the measure of all things’, and to argue that this standpoint may be adopted by a change in consciousness, is to assume that ‘objectification’, and its specific capitalist form, ‘reification’, have their origin in the acts of a total social subject, and that a change in the consciousness of that subject would result in a change in the form of objectification.”
31: “It was these implications of Lukács’ sociology of reification which Adorno rejected. He argued that Lukács’ account of reification remained within the Fichtean assumptions in which it was couched. /…/ To argue that reification would be abolished by a change in consciousness, thus effecting a reconciliation between subject and object, still implies that the subject will dominate the object, ‘the philosophical imperialism of annexing the alien’. To call for the ‘dissolution of reification’ is merely to call for a change in consciousness, and to idealize pre-capitalist injustice.”
32: “Adorno’s criticism of Lukács’ theory of reification is almost identical with Hegel’s criticism of Fichte’s solution of the Kantian antinomies. But /…/ Adorno largely accepted Lukács’ generalization of Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism.”

121: “The Aesthetics /…/ is Hegel’s most ‘sociological’ work.
The thesis of the end of art, like the thesis of the end of religion, does not mean that works of art are no longer created. It means that art is no longer a formative, educative, political experience. But, in the case of art, the end of art has two meanings, for there are two ends of art. The first ‘end’ of art refers to the end of a society, Greece, in which life is ‘lived aesthetically’, in which social institutions are themselves aesthetic. It thus signifies the beginning of art in the sense in which we understand art, as relatively autonomous from other social institutions.”
122: “The second ‘end’ of art refers to modern art, to art in post-revolutionary, bourgeois society. This end of art means ‘end’ in the sense of finis.”
147: “The end of art means telos, its goal as politically formative experience, and finis, the cessation of art as the contradiction between meaning and configuration. As with the end of religion, it does not mean the end of illusion and representation as such, although they may only continue in forms which grant ‘complete validity’ to the status quo.”

210: “Hegel was not wrong to distinguish the end of art from the end of religion. For ‘religion’ in modern, bourgeois society means the formation of subjective disposition in general, whereas art means its formation in a limited and specific realm. /…/
When Marx called for the ‘end of philosophy’ he meant both that philosophy as theory must be realized in practice (telos) and that the time of philosophy as passive, contemplative, autonomous theory was over (finis). Both of these points are formulated by Marx as critiques of Feuerbach and are already conceded by Hegel.”
211: “Hegel /…/ knew that the time of philosophy had not come. He acknowledged the domination of abstract thinking especially in its Fichtean mode, /…/ Lukács was thus very close to Hegel when he argued /…/ that Fichte is the supreme representative of bourgeois thought. But the details of Lukács’ argument are quite different from Hegel’s position.
/…/
The two main kinds of neo-Kantianism in sociology met at the Fichtean station on the road between Kant and Hegel. The foundations of this sociological Fichteanism were laid in the Marburg and Heidelberg Schools of neo-Kantianism.
The Marburg School replaced the primacy of Kant’s processes of discursive consciousness by an original unity out of which both subjective consciousness and its objects arise /…/
The Heidelberg School replaced the Kantian justification of objective validity by the primacy of ‘values’ which transcend spatio-temporal forms of intuition of discursive consciousness, or, to put it in Fichtean terms, by the primacy of underivable, original faith.”

220: “To expound capitalism as a culture is thus not to abandon the classical Marxist interests in political economy and in revolutionary practice. On the contrary, a presentation of the contradictionary relations between Capital and culture is the only way to link the analysis of the economy to comprehension of the conditions for revolutionary practice.”

Gillian Rose: Hegel contra sociology (1981)

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