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Classical german philosophy. University of Padova research group

CFP: “Dead Dogs Never Die: Hegel and Marx”, Revista de Opinião Filosófica

We are glad to announce that a call for papers has been opened for the next issue (Vol. 7, Nº1, 2016) of the online journal Revista de Opinião Filosófica, dedicated to the following topic: “Dead Dogs Never Die: Hegel and Marx”.

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It has been suggested that the decisive reason Hegel and Marx will never die is because to overcome Hegel and Marx means to overcome capitalist society. This is why, in the end, each of their projects remain actual: what Hegel developed in his Phenomenology of Spirit and Science of Logic and what Marx developed through the ‘critique of the political economy’ contains, even if under different categories, the wager for how to understand our own capitalist society. Despite the fact that there has been a long development in both ‘philosophy after Hegel’ and ‘critique after Marx’, these two thinkers remain more inscribed and actualized in those successive attempts than they are buried and beaten beneath them.

The precise internal affinity between Hegel and Marx—that both, it might be said, endeavored to understand social mediation—is nevertheless still today unclear. Attempts to escape from a certain Hegelianism within Marxism made the relation all the more opaque. France and Italy in the mid 1960s, for example, witnessed an attack not only upon traditional Marxism, but also against the prevailing narrative of Hegel and Marx as an inversion of the idealist dialectic into its materialist heir and in the turning of Spirit ‘from its head onto its feet’. However, Critical Theory and Western Marxism had already emphasized that the relation of Hegel and Marx is not simply one of idealism vs. materialism since both of them sought to overcome this kind of dualistic opposition and that any simple ‘turnaround’ is only grasping at straws. For instance, Adorno writes the following in his lectures on Negative Dialectics: “In idealism immediacy is vindicated as a stage of the concept by its internal history, while for materialism that same history becomes the measure not merely of the untruth of concepts, but even more of immediacy in being. Common to both is the emphasis on the history that has congealed in the objects.” To complicate the idealism-materialism dichotomy even further, Lukács, writing in The Young Hegel, will go so far as to say that “if we look a little deeper, we see that [Hegel’s] true subject is the phenomenological dialectic of the commodity-relation, and that he is investigating both its objective nature and its subjective implications in its relation to the consciousness of man in capitalist society.”

While in France the new readings of Marx in the arena of structuralism and later post-structuralism, and in Italy the operaist and later post-operaist interpretations, were open attempts to escape the Hegelianism of traditional Marxism, around the same time in Germany there began a so-called phase of reconstruction of the critique of political economy. This new adaptation reconstructed not only Capital and its central categories, but also the notion of critique and Marx’s method of development and exposition. This required a renewed understanding of the Hegel-Marx relation, the dialectical method and the common categories like contradiction, form, unity, movement etc. Further, Hegel research during this period in Germany also began close readings and underwent its own phase of reconstruction. An ambitious effort of its own, it also influenced the interpretive reconstruction of Marx’s Capital.

In recent decades, the Anglo-Saxon world, arriving late but wielding strong contributions, started expanding the debate, making pragmatic use of the best from the different tendencies. Among this discourse is an approach that generally understands the continuity between Hegel and Marx as disclosing a system of categorial relations within a given social order, and that together, their use of a dialectical method of exposition holds the key for conceptualizing the essence of capitalist social reality. This reconstructed relation of Hegel and Marx adopts, with its own varied interpretations, the general perspective that Hegel’s Science of Logic is structurally homologous with Marx’s Capital, an affinity consisting in a ‘systematic dialectic,’ whereby the expositional ordering of the categories are arranged to conceptualize an existent concrete whole. This reading, which emphasizes the logical derivation of one category to the next, positions itself in contrast to an ‘historical dialectic’ for which the sequence of categories corresponds to their appearance in history, that is, a causal succession of linear and inevitable historical stages.

If the eulogy has yet to be written for the Hegel-Marx relation, it is because the ghost of Capital returns with Hegel’s Spirit and that Marx’s own ‘specters’ (Derrida) will not be exorcised until the traumas sustained within the history of Marxism successfully overcome both Spirit and Capital. Until then, the haunting of Hegel and Marx will continue unabated. It is with this enduring legacy that we open a call for papers, inviting all those who are interested in the recurring relation between Hegel and Marx to submit an article for the next issue of Revista de Opinião Filosófica. While submissions pertaining to the relation of Hegel’s Logic and Marx’s Capital will take priority, general problems and ideas related to the relation between Hegel and Marx and the intellectual history of their relation will also be considered.

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Papers can be submitted to either Eric-John Russell: johndavid.correspondence@gmail.com or Frank Engster: frankengster@googlemail.com.

The deadline for the submission is the 16th July 2016.

About the details of the guidelines, see here.

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