In yesterday’s post I highlighted what I thought were important points of continuity between Lukacs and Western Hegelian Marxism. I argued there was continuity in the conception of Marxism as a method of social critique that fused Marxian notions with the Hegelian notions of totality and dialectics. I now want to emphasize a difference between Lukacs and other Western Hegelian Marxists such as the Frankfurt School.
This difference is often pointed out in a simplistic manner along the lines that Lukacs’s theory was based on class standpoint which the Frankfurt School abandoned it. A more sophisticated argument is put forward in Joe Mccarney’s Social Theory and The Crisis of Marxism. On one hand Mccarney emphasizes the theoretical continuity between Marx’s and Lukacs’s standpoint of critique as the theoretical expression of the revolutionary proletariat, on the other hand Mccarney provides historical explanations for why this standpoint changed.
So what then is Lukacs standpoint as he outlines it in What Is Orthodox Marxism?
It is that the Materialist dialectic is a revolutionary dialectic. It is a revolutionary dialectic because the “Emergence of consciousness is a ‘decisive’ historical step” and the ‘historical function of theory is to make this step a practical possibility.” Praxis and shit.