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In this paper, I outline the ways that reification as a pathology of what I call “cybernetic society” shapes the fundamental structures of the self and our shared social reality. Whereas the classical theory of reification was a diagnostic attempt to understand the failure of class consciousness, I believe we must push this thesis further to show how is fundamentally an ontological and not a merely cognitive or epistemic concern. By this I mean that it is a pathology of consciousness as well as social praxis and, as such, infects the ontological substrates of social reality. In effect, reification is a collective rather than merely subjective phenomenon. I explore this dialectic between our subjective and social dimensions of being to show how reification actively shapes self and world. I end with a discussion of how this theory of reification as an ontological concept can be used to overcome it via what I term “ontological coherence,” or the capacity of the self to reflect dialectically on the shapes of sociality that one inhabits, opening it up to evaluative reflection and critique.
Keywords reification, social ontology, ontological coherence, critical judgment
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