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Reading Hegel after Marx: Lukács and the Question of Teleology

Menozzi, F (2022) Reading Hegel after Marx: Lukács and the Question of Teleology. International Critical Thought. ISSN 2159-8282

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This paper offers a rethinking of the concept of teleology in Marxist theory. In particular, I propose some reflections on György Lukács’s teleology of labour, addressed in The Young Hegel and subsequently reworked in The Ontology of Social Being. Lukács challenged an idealist notion of teleology understood as realisation of a transcendental principle posited a priori. He redefined the concept by showing how Hegel and Marx reintroduced the question of purpose as essential quality of human labour. Against idealist conceptions, Lukács reimagined teleology as secular purpose inherent to human praxis and the key to thinking agency within a materialist concept of history. Accordingly, a Marxist concept of teleology should highlight what Ernst Bloch described as the “anticipatory” character of consciousness, whereby teleology means the positing of an end that does not yet exist in reality and that exceeds the temporal horizon of the present. However, in his critique of Hegel, Lukács illustrates the ambivalent and contradictory dimension of teleology, a perspective that constantly relapses into temporal closure and determinism. While proposing a radical reading of Hegel, Lukács oscillates between the two extremes of a dialectical notion of teleology that he nonetheless
helped to formulate.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2203 Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Publisher: Routledge
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2022 08:55
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2022 13:15
DOI or ID number: 10.1080/21598282.2022.2035792
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/16119
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