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History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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re: Zizek: backtracking to Hegel doesn’t really work: it is necessary to backtrack to the full early modern …

May 23rd, 2016 · No Comments

https://philosophynow.org/issues/114/Slavoj_Zizek_-_The_Elvis_of_Philosophy

Backtracking to Hegel doesn’t really work: it is necessary to backtrack to the full early modern as it generates a new epoch. There we cannot neglect Kant as the starting point for Hegel, nor Schopenhauer who was very critical of Hegel’s idealism, expounding the transcendental idealism of Kant. That form of idealism would have made a far better foundation for marxism than materialism (not that we have to reject materialism). One problem is that Hegel is difficult and the odds against getting his Phenomenology straight are very high. It would be useful to have a version of pre-Marx/Engels that includes the early modern (as indeed Engels indirectly pointed out with his discussion of Munzer), which means the whole set of legacies from the Reformation to the Romantic movement.

We need a praxis rather than a philosophic movement, and that praxis is based on free agents assessing a social situation without theories (in the sense of scientism) and freely changing those systems. The issue of freedom in historical materialism can pass away.
The question of the working class is a problem, but only if we hypostatize a concept, the ‘proletariat’ and expect it to act as an agent of history. We have individuals and crowds, and the latter can not easily take the place of the former, a theoretical catch 22 in marxism. But the overall idea can be made to work.
We have suggested a different perspective, the Universal Class, which is the class of all classes, and a new social formation where individuals adopt the stance of equality.

But to consider our first point: Hegel is a continuation from Kant, and Schopenhauer is an immense challenge to Hegel. We can’t delete that triad, as Marx wished to do, or take one third of it, as Zizek wishes to do. And Kant spawned Kantian ethical socialism, a real exit strategy for currently stalled marxists.

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