Notes on re-reading Postone IV: Critical Theory.

I’d have to say that Postone’s chapter on critical theory is the best chapter of TLSD so far. However, I would also say its somewhat uneven, and like the chapter on traditional Marxism, has a curious and suggestive rather than authoritative way of addressing the problems of critical theory. Both the former and later have to do with how Postone proceeds to analyze critical theory–by an extended criticism of two articles by Pollack, and a shorter analysis of two articles by Horkheimer and extending them to all of critical theory. While its nice to see a different tactic than using the Dialectic of Enlightenment to beat up on critical theory it seems to me that the result is the same–asserting the same sort of one-dimensionality to critical theorists as critical theories social theory is said to have. I’m not that widely read in critical theory but I know that Adorno and Neumann had problems with Pollack’s theory of state capitalism. (for Adorno’s take see Notes on Class Theory which contra Pollack still asserts the importance of capital as a supraindividual form of domination.) I’d also imagine this is the case with some other critical theorists. I also find it curious that Postone does not discuss the portions of Adorno’s late work, which Backhaus and Reichelt draw on to explicate their interpretation of Marx’s theory of value. This raises the possibility that whilst Postone does a good job of showing the limits of Pollack and Horkheimer’s theories, that other aspects of critical theory might be drawn on to supplement the new reading of Marx in a manner different than the way Postone proposes.

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About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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One Response to Notes on re-reading Postone IV: Critical Theory.

  1. “Postone does not discuss the portions of Adorno’s late work, which Backhaus and Reichelt draw on to explicate their interpretation of Marx’s theory of value”. Great point.

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