Lucien Goldmann

Start Free Trial

Roger Scruton

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 421

[Lucien Goldmann] envisages the whole course of philosophy from Kant to the existentialists in terms of a single problem, describing the problem with so little respect for the various arguments which the terms "subject" and "object" conceal that he is unable to see that there is no single problem to which he is addressing himself, and no genuine alternatives in the "answers" that he discerns in Lukács and in Heidegger.

He asserts in [Lukács and Heidegger: Towards a New Philosophy] that "the traditional philosophy of the progressive and revolutionary bourgeoisie, as well as that of the bourgeoisie in power, had radically separated the subject of consciousness and the action of the object with which both were concerned." Hence it seems to him that bourgeois philosophy … has created a problem by forcing a separation between things that are not truly separate. Man is a part of his world, not separate from it: he only seems to be separate from it when the productive activity which constitutes his essence also distorts his perception. The existentialist Heidegger, in pondering the deliverances of a consciousness that has been … isolated from the world that is "posited" through it, merely holds open the fracture that capitalist production creates, and bourgeois philosophy endorses; while Lukács (i.e., the early Lukács, the exponent of the Hegelian undercurrent in Marxism) heals that fracture, bringing subject and object together, by demonstrating their unity in "praxis."

Much emphasis is placed on Lukács's influential but (in my view) highly eccentric analysis of Marx's theory of fetishism, but the whole is written in a style at once so academic, and so ignorant of what does and what does not establish the truth of an assertion, that nothing emerges from the book other than a kind of unshakeable dogmatism about philosophical positions which the author himself is either unable or unwilling to define. It is simply not true that an analysis of the "illusory" quality of exchange value in the market economy can provide an answer, either to Cartesian scepticism, or to the Hegelian problem of the conditions of self-consciousness…. The constant shift of the argument from questions of influence to questions of doctrine, and the remorseless indifference to the true concerns of Kant, Hegel and Heidegger (to name but three), renders this book as worthless intellectually as it is an unfitting memorial to the gifted author of Le Dieu Caché. (p. 76)

Roger Scruton, "Coming to Terms: Analytical Philosophy," in Encounter (© 1979 by Encounter Ltd.), Vol. LIII, No. 6, December, 1979, pp. 71-9.∗

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

David Couzens Hoy