Download Confronting Reification Revitalizing. In Confronting Reification, an international team of scholars examines the work of the Hungarian philosopher, Georg Lukács, and the relevance of his concept of reification. If our goal is to demonstrate the timeliness of Georg Lukács’ philosophy, it is worth taking a look at the attempt currently being made to revitalize approaches that transcend the system. Axel Honneth has pointed out that it is folly to simply dispense with the great 19th century idea of socialism. He gives several reasons for his view.
First, he notes that “there have never been so many people outraged at the same time, about the social and political consequences that have accompanied the globally unrestrained market economy since the end of Word War II.”2 Quite rightly, he continues to write about the consequences of eliminating any “idea of socialism”: “It would be the dominance of a fetishizing notion of social conditions that would have to be held responsible for the fact that the mass outrage about the scandalous distribution of wealth and power has currently lost any sense of an achievable goal.” Because this is the case, he wants to pursue the “causes for the apparent loss of the decisive, reification–destroying effectiveness of all the classic and formerly influential ideals.
As within other contexts, the theoretical intervention of today’s most important representative of Critical Theory is valuable and should not be subject to crude polemics. Certain completely inappropriate responses fail to recognize that Honneth is not aiming to rediscover some long-dead spectre. These critics fail to appreciate the profound and widespread antipathy towards the global capitalist, economic system and the post-democratic conditions closely connected to it. That is why the goal in our time is literally to secure the legacy of the socialist (I would add: and the “communist”5) idea and to develop it further in order to cultivate alternatives to the dominant political and economic conditions, which are disliked by many and, in this sense, constitute more than just the representatives of some leftist subcultures.