Philosophy and Social Criticism 25 (6):67-82 (1999)

Abstract
cs' mature theory of Hegelian Marxism has been criticized for the determinacy with which it predicts utopia as a possibility for the future. This paper instead examines Lukács' early, pre-Marxist thinking, which asserts utopia only as the grounding concept for a procedure of cultural criticism, and not as the outcome of any foreseeable process of social change. I attempt to evaluate this non-Marxist utopianism of the young Lukács by focusing in particular on 'The Foundering of Form Against Life: Søren Kierkegaard and Regine Olsen', a 1910 essay in which Lukács criticizes Kierkegaard for failing to articulate any concept of utopia and for focusing instead on private 'faith' as a potential solution to the endemic problems of modernity, such as alienation and reification. Because young Lukács himself thus sets up Kierkegaard as a dystopian rival for his own utopian thought, I use a comparison between these two thinkers as a basis for speculation on the advantages and disadvantages of positing a normative concept of utopia as the basis for social criticism. Key Words: alienation • faith • reification • subjectivity • utopia.
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DOI 10.1177/019145379902500603
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