Realizing philosophy: Marx, Lukács and the Frankfurt School

  • Andrew Feenberg


This paper explains the philosophy of praxis of four Marxist thinkers, the early Marx and Lukács, and the Frankfurt School philosophers Adorno and Marcuse. The philosophy of praxis holds that fundamental philosophical problems are in reality social problems abstractly conceived. This argument has two impli-cations: on the one hand, philosophical problems are significant insofar as they reflect real social contra-dictions; on the other hand, philosophy cannot resolve the problems it identifies because only social revo-lution can eliminate their social causes. I call this a “metacritical” argument. I argue that metacritique in this sense underlies the philosophy of praxis and can still inform our thinking about social and philosophical transformation. The various projections of such transformations distinguish the four philosophers discussed in this paper. They also differ on the path to social change. They develop the metacritical argu-ment under the specific historical conditions in which they find themselves. Differences in these condi-tions explain much of the difference between them, especially since philosophy of praxis depends on a historical circumstance—the more or less plausible revolutionary resolution of the problems at the time they are writing.

Key words: Marxism; Marx; Lukacs; Adorno; Marcuse; metacritique; praxis.

Biografia do Autor

Andrew Feenberg

Canada Research Chair in Philosophyof Technology, na Escola de Comunicação da Simon Fraser University.

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