The Archimedean point: Consciousness, praxis, and the present in Lukács and Bloch

Thesis Eleven 157 (1):3-23 (2020)
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This article consists of an original translation of Ernst Bloch’s 1923 review of Lukács History and Class Consciousness, preceded by a translator’s introduction contextualising Bloch’s review and interpreting what it tells us about the intellectual and personal relationship between Bloch and Lukács. I argue that Bloch’s review highlights some of the key differences and points of intersection between their thinking. Written when their personal relationship had already soured for both political and intellectual reasons, Bloch’s review makes clear his ongoing commitment to a form of utopianism Lukács had long abandoned. Unlike Lukács, who in History and Class Consciousness argued that the dialectical method could only be applied to the social realm, Bloch followed Engels in developing a dialectics of nature. However, even if Bloch was less willing to become involved in party politics than his erstwhile friend, as the review reveals, both men ultimately emphasised the present moment as the privileged locus of urgent political action.



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