ABSTRACT

One token of the relative lack of attention to questions of ontology amongst those interested in the high theory of Marx (compared to, for example, Marx’s economics, or his theory of history) is the lack of attention paid to the work of Georg Lukács on this subject. Lukács has a plausible claim to be the most celebrated and well known of Marxist philosophers this century, and yet his last major work Zur Ontologie des Gesellschaftlichen Seins (The Ontology of Social Being 1 ), has been chronically under researched. It has not been published in a full English translation, perhaps because when it has been examined the assessments have usually been critical. But some of these criticisms are misplaced. In attempting to articulate a reaction to, and auto-critique of his supposed idealism, as expressed in History and Class Consciousness, Lukács grapples with the interpretative possibilities brought out by Marx’s relationship to Hegel and the revolutionary intellectual innovations that came from Marx’s integration of Hegelian ideas. In the course of this he outlines a conception of Marx’s own position that ends up, in some respects, not very far removed from the interpretation of Marx outlined above. 2 Nonetheless, Lukács’s study has not been the object of sustained critical review.