Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

György Márkus and the Philosophy of Culture Critical Theory, Enlightenment and Emancipation
by Pickle, Jonathan, Ph.D., New School University, 2011, 393; 3465545
Abstract (Summary)

By analyzing György Márkus' emancipatory hermeneutical interventions into the foundations of critical theory, I endeavour to evince a specific form of 'post-metaphysical' philosophy that, as a historically-situated and particular cultural practice, can illuminate both the irresolvable tensions between the high cultural values of Western modernity and the significance intrinsic to the inevitable choice among the constituent and yet irreducible world-views animating it. Concerned with the way modern individuals confront an alienated and reified world typified by the crises of bourgeois society rendered violently perspicuous at the end of the long XIXth century, I initially consider how Márkus suggests Lukács' 1918 conversion to a Hegelian Bolshevism resolved—in the latter's mind only—the problem (and tragedy) of culture by introducing a theory of ideology founded on the normative identification of true and imputed proletarian class consciousness. Eschewing the latter conflation and the class basis inhering in it, I then turn to survey Márkus' critical appraisal of three different Marxian approaches to the problem of culture: the base-superstructure metaphor; three distinct concepts of ideology (including the two forms of critique to which they are subject); and the notion of cultural production as a paradigm of objectivation concerning humankind as a self-constituting genus. In the third chapter, the strong metaphysical presuppositions of Hegel's method/system, which informed Lukács' (and Lenin's) teleological conceptualization of history, are considered by evaluating the speculative relationship obtaining between objective and absolute spirit in terms of the contention that Western modernity is the culmination of an eschatological progress. The constitutive historical closure of Hegel's system to new needs for unforeseen and essentially differentiated normative forms of freedom in the future is then opposed to the cultural practice of Kant. I then show how Márkus addresses the unassailable practical basis of Kant's critical theory of philosophy, which is oriented towards developing solidarity among autonomous individuals with respect to the regulative idea of uniting and promoting our social and personal activities in accordance with the radically historicized and practically achievable highest possible good. By way of conclusion, I defend the contemporary salience of Márkus' secular and humanist conception of modern philosophy as a critical appropriation of this effective tradition, a rational narrative and a project of orientation in thought that both affirms the eminently anthropological significance elided by the 'scientifisation' of philosophy and repudiates the conservative/anarchic tendencies of its deconstruction.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Heller, Agnes
Commitee: Arato, Andrew, Bernstein, Richard J., Niklulin, Dmitri
School: New School University
Department: Philosophy
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 72/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy
Keywords: Critical theory, Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, Kant, Immanuel, Lukacs, Gyorgy, Markus, Gyorgy, Marx, Karl
Publication Number: 3465545
ISBN: 9781124775470
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