Social Structure and Forms of Conciousness

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-03-01
  • Publisher: Monthly Review Pr

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Today, as never before, the investigation of the close relationship between social structure defined by Marx as arising from the life-process of definite individuals and the various forms of consciousness is particularly important. We can only perceive what is possible by first identifying the historical process that constrains consciousness itself, and therefore social action.

Author Biography

Istvn Mszros left his native Hungary after the Soviet invasion of 1956. He is professor emeritus at the University of Sussex, where he held the chair of philosophy for fifteen years. Mszros is author of The Structural Crisis of Capital, The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time, Beyond Capital: Toward a Theory of Transition, and Marx's Theory of Alienation, among other books.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 11
The Programmatic Orientation Toward Sciencep. 27
“The Mastery of Man over Nature”p. 27
Behaviourists and Weberiansp. 30
Mannheim's “Scientific Sociology of Culture”p. 32
The Structural Links of Science-Oriented Ideologyp. 34
The General Tendency to Formalismp. 37
Formalism and Conflictualityp. 37
The Structural Affinity of Practical and Intellectual Inversionsp. 45
Reconciliation of Irrational Formsp. 47
Formal/Reductive Homogenization and Universal Value-Equationp. 51
The Social Substance of Operational Rationalityp. 53
The Concept of Nature as a Dehistoricized Formal Abstractionp. 56
“Formal Rationality” and Substantive Irrationalityp. 61
The Standpoint of Isolated Individualityp. 67
Individualistic Conceptions of Conflict and Human Naturep. 67
The Elevation of Particularity to the Status of Universalityp. 70
The Inversion of Objective Structural Relationshipsp. 73
Negative Determination of Philosophy and Social Theoryp. 79
Substance, Subjectivity, and Freedomp. 79
The Positive Aspect of Critical Negationp. 82
The Quantification of Quality and the Law of Measurep. 83
Second Order “Mediations of the Mediation” and the Triumph of Negativityp. 88
Reconciliatory Function of “Negativity as Self-Transcending Contradiction”p. 90
Negativity in Sartre and Marcuse: Dependency on the Ideologically Dominant Discoursep. 95
The Rise and Fall of Historical Temporalityp. 101
Historical Explanation in Ancient Greece and in the Middle Agesp. 101
“Divine Providence” in Bourgeois Philosophies of Historyp. 103
Vico's Conception of Civil Society and Historyp. 108
Organic Models as Substitutes for Historical Explanationp. 111
Vicissitudes of Historical Consciousness in the Twentieth Centuryp. 114
“There Is Neither Necessity nor Meaning”p. 119
“If Sense There Be, It Escapes Our Perception”: From Ranke and Tocqueville to Sir Lewis Namier and Beyondp. 132
Social Antagonism and Historical Explanationp. 136
Dualism and Dichotomies in Philosophy and Social Theoriesp. 149
The Hidden Premises of Dichotomous Systemsp. 149
The Functional Imperative of Operational Exclusivenessp. 151
Ruling Values Disguised as Instrumental Complexes: The Illusions of Value-Free Functionalityp. 155
Ideological Roots of Methodological Dualismp. 159
The Inward-Oriented Subject of Philosophical Discoursep. 162
From “Unreconciled Dualism” to Dualism of Reconciliationp. 165
Moralizing Apriorism in the Service of the “Commercial Spirit”p. 170
The Dominance of Counter-Value in Antinomous Value-Relationsp. 175
The Supersession of Dichotomies: The Question of Social Agencyp. 186
The Postulates of “Unity” and “Universality”p. 205
The Incorrigible Circularity and Ultimate Failure of Individualistic Mediationp. 205
“The Process of the Genus with the Individual”: The Reconciliatory Function of Anthropological Modelsp. 216
Fragmentation and “Longing for Unity”p. 232
“The Ideal General Will Should Also Be the Empirically General Will”p. 251
Unification through the Material Reproduction Processp. 261
Method in a Historical Epoch of Transitionp. 277
The Marxian Reorientation of Methodp. 277
From Hegel's “Science of Logic” to the Marxian View of Sciencep. 298
The Critique of Political Economyp. 317
Self-Critique as a Methodological Principlep. 332
Categorical Reflections of Social Antagonism and the Central Categories of Socialist Theoryp. 353
Methodological Aspects of Mediation in an Epoch of Transitionp. 394
Indexp. 451
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