Bonefeld’s Negative Humanism

“Louis Althusser was right to argue that Man as such does not exist. Man as such does not do anything and Man as such is therefore incapable of alienating herself as a personification of perverted economic forms. In distinction to Althusser, Man is always objectified Man, and ‘it is objectivity which constitutes the subjective mode of conduct’.4 In the topsy-turvy world of capital, Man is a non-conceptuality, that is, the social individuals are governed by their own social product, which manifests itself in the form of an uncontrollable movement of economic quantities that assert themselves with blind force over the acting subjects. Yet it is their own world that prevails not only over them but also prevails in and through them.

Economic nature is a social nature. Its reality is immanent to its own social context. Society manifests itself in the inverted form of economic objectivity. Objectivity is ‘the generic term for all relations, institutions, and forces in which humans act’. Definite forms of social relations comprise thus an ‘objective conceptuality’. In distinction to the traditional hypothesis of society as a manifestation of some general economic laws that ostensibly determine social development in the last instance, the critique of political economy, conceived critically, amounts to an ad hominem critique of the entire system of economic objectivity as the finite reality of determinant social relations. Instead of deriving the actual social relations from some hypothesized economic laws of nature, it develops the economic structure of society from the actual social relations.7 The view that ‘we can do no other than nature does’ naturalizes capitalist society, and accommodates to its supposed nature. In distinction, the critical intension of the ad hominem critique is to think against the spell of identification, cracking the economic things from within. It therefore argues that the economic relations manifest the objective necessity of the ‘prevailing relations of production’. The social individual depends for her life on the independent movement of the economic forces over which she has no control; yet this movement is not the doing of economic nature. It is her own doing.” Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy, p.220.

About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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