Springer Verlag (2018)

This book offers a radical new interpretation of Georg Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness, showing for the first time how the philosophical framework for his analysis of society was laid in the drafts of a philosophy of art that he planned but never completed before he converted to Marxism. Reading Lukács’s work through the so-called “Heidelberg Aesthetics” reveals for the first time a range of unsuspected influences on his thought, such as Edmund Husserl, Emil Lask, and Alois Riegl; it also offers a theory of subjectivity within social relations that avoids many of the problems of earlier readings of his text. At a time when Lukács’s reputation is once more on the rise, this bold new reading helps revitalize his thought in ways that help it speak to contemporary concerns.
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Reprint years 2019
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ISBN(s) 978-3-319-93286-6   978-3-319-93287-3   3319932861   3030066312   3319932888   9783319932866
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-93287-3
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Chapters BETA
Conclusion: Lukács in Late Capitalism

In concluding, Westerman reconsiders the relative importance of the likes of Husserl, Lask, Riegl, and Fiedler with more conventionally understood sources of his thought, such as Hegel. He also offers suggestions as to how Lukács’s theory might be applied to understanding contemporary society, relat... see more

The Social and the Natural

Lukács later rejected the theory he offered in History and Class Consciousness because of its failure to deal adequately with the existence of a material world outside social relations, and the way humans interact with this world. Andrew Feenberg identifies the same flaw in Lukács’s account, albeit ... see more

Self-consciousness and Identity

Westerman examines Lukács’s identification of the proletariat as the site of the overcoming of reification. While agreeing that his argument is not entirely convincing, Westerman argues that its failure is more interesting than normally assumed. First, Lukács suggests that reification produces a con... see more

The Interpellation of the Subject

Challenging the claim the Lukács depends on a Fichtean expressive-creative subject in order to overcome reification, Westerman argues that Lukács’s subject is defined within the meaning-structures of consciousness. It is the subject-pole of social practice, interpellated as acting in certain ways by... see more

The Forms of Social Reality

Westerman argues that Lukács interprets social being as an interlocking set of intentional practices, governed by an overarching formal logic. People and objects exist in society as complexes of meaning; their meaning is determined independently of their material existence, and is not the projection... see more

The History of History and Class Consciousness

Tracing the development of Lukács’s thought from the heady days of revolution in 1919 to the publication of History and Class Consciousness in 1923, Westerman argues Lukács’s masterwork should not be seen as a single, relatively unified whole. The last-written essays of the book—‘What is Orthodox Ma... see more

Reality and Representation in Art

Westerman argues that the basic conceptual framework of Lukács’s later Marxian social theory was first developed in his so-called Heidelberg Aesthetics—his drafts of a philosophy of art, written at Heidelberg between 1912 and 1918, but forgotten and only published after his death. This chapter offer... see more

Introduction: The Lukács Debate

This chapter surveys the key points of the debate around Lukács. Westerman analyses a number of critical interpretations, most of which treat Lukács as a neo-Romantic or Idealist, and so assume that Lukács wrongly designates the proletariat as a subject somehow standing outside of social structures ... see more

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