AbstractJoseph Dietzgen remains an anomaly within the Marxist canon for his adherence to a monism which very deliberately collapses the psychological, epistemological and ontological into a ‘social democratic’ materialism within which subjectivity is an immanent feature of the single substantive universe. Dietzgen’s distinctive adoption of a monism which owes much – largely unacknowledged – both to Spinoza and to Romanticism, offers the possibility of a counternarrative to the main stories of official communism and democratic socialism. Such a narrative might be used to retrieve and reconstruct aspects of the Marxist tradition which more comfortably accommodate its conceptual apparatuses to the philosophical requirements of an age of ecological crisis. Why? Firstly, because of the inheritance partially shared by Dietzgen’s Marxism and by ecological Deep Green theory, from Spinoza through Schelling to the early Marx; Secondly, because Dietzgen’s ideas very loosely presaged something of the scientific revolution of the early twentieth-century, and because some of those who were influenced by Dietzgen such as Bogdanov were quick to accept the new physics and to turn them to an ontological project which was more thoroughly holist, pedagogical and ecological in outlook than the emerging Leninist orthodoxy; Thirdly, because the expression of the heritage of Spinozism and Romanticism in the development of later twentieth-century ecosophical thinking rather parallels the ways in which the anomalous Marxism of Dietzgen moved towards the pedagogical; his project was, from the outset one which intended to promote cosmological reorientation as a key feature of social democratic change; Fourthly, Dietzgen’ s philosophy of internal relations, though largely neglected within Marxism, found echoes in the process philosophy of Whitehead, which itself took a strongly ecological direction. It has been argued that if Dietzgen and his anomalous tendency within Marxism are to have any relevance to the current period, one must have regard for the way in which the sciences of physics, and of biology ( in particular neurology) have developed, and re-read a less deterministic philosophy of science through Dietzgen accordingly. In this study, Dietzgen’s ideas have been stretched and reconstructed to bring to light more explicitly features of the thinking of both his forebears and his philosophical successors. The philosophy of Mathews and Naess enrich our understanding of how we might reshape ourselves in this period to affect a transformation towards human flourishing. Such a transformation is embodied in every child, as an emergent subjectivity. Both Dietzgen and Mathews have powerfully critiqued the egocentric, atomic self of bourgeois society. The extent to which an individual born to such a society fails to register their orientation towards their own activity, their class, their species and their land community is the measure of an adaptive pathology, the continuance of which take us further from viability as a species.
|Date of Award||16 Jun 2012|
|Supervisor||Nigel Tubbs (Supervisor) & Derek Bunyard (Supervisor)|
The Great Act of Learning: A red-green cosmopolitics of emergence
Boxley, S. (Author). 16 Jun 2012
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis