What is reification in Marxist philosophy

The reification of human consciousness in Adorno.



1. What is meant by Reification of man ?

2. The subject / object relationships at Adorno.

3. Subject / object relations in the research literature.
3.1. Conclusion




"Either you understand nothing because you understand everything directly, or you understand everything without understanding anything because you don't understand anything directly."

Alexander García Düttmann.

The human being tends to think about his own existence in an almost infinite abundance. He reifies himself and humanizes the things in his environment that are either simply there or exist because of his existence.

The presumption of man about those things to attain complete knowledge and to strive for that differentiation between the subjective and the objective in order to grasp and fully grasp new knowledge about one's own subject and the objects outside of his existence in the core and to comprehend them completely take place from the point in time at which man became aware of those things through his consciousness, through human history.

This work deals primarily with the reification of human consciousness in Theodor W. Adorno and examines the extent to which a person can be an object without a subject or what is generally understood by a subject and object in research and in Adorno . This separation of subject and object runs through both science and philosophy and a closer look at the subject / object relation or a definition of terms therefore appears to make sense in relation to the one initiated by humans reification to immerse. Reification; Objectification (...). Apart from the specifically Hegelian use of the categories [V.] and [Vg.], These appear both value-neutral and in affirmative and critical contexts in which "hypostasis" or "hypostasis" is used That is, from the fact that something conceptual, abstract, given merely as a property or relationship, is raised to an independent entity; or from the fact that (...) the adoption and dissemination of the scientific method ideal must "almost inevitably ... reify consciousness"; or finally from the fact that (...) from the finding of the omnipresence of such experience the question follows: what V. means, where it arises, what is its inappropriateness in relation to a positively structured sense of consciousness and why it "always comes to power".[1]

Answering this question, why do humans keep repeating the Domination devoting himself to this reification, this work is dedicated and the starting point of the investigation is Adorno, who Georg Kohler attested that his texts unite Tendency to be exaltedFormulations and snobbish pretension [2] what would require an intensive examination of Adorno's point of view, at the end of which hopefully there will be an answer to the question of the extent to which a person can be an object without a subject?

1. What is meant by the reification of man?

One reification Subjects and other non-things are subject to conversion into a material point of view or treatment. The following modes of reification can be distinguished: 1. Reification is the term used by Lukács[3] puts at the center of his reconstruction of Marxist philosophy. According to this, the worker is subject to reification in the capitalist mode of production, since he has no ownership of the means of production and is therefore dependent on the sale of his labor power as a commodity. Since the preservation of existence becomes the exclusive content of existence, man is no longer a (subjective) end, but only a (material) means of himself as well as of the capitalist (alienation). 2. Everything becomes reified (objectified) that becomes the object of consciousness (objectivation). 3. Reification can also be used if, when using a general term (man, beauty), the existence of a material correlate is assumed (...).[4]

Subjects and non-things are therefore automatically subject to one reificationas soon as the point of view is directed towards their material properties or simply as thing be treated. Objects of consciousness apply here pro forma as Reifications. In other words: every action of a subject, be it the mere utterance of a wish, the representation of any thing or the expression of feelings, facts or the like, makes the part of this subject become the object and thus part of the environment of that subject, which as more real Object can have an effect on the subject.

The human expressiveness manifests itself quasi in products - regardless of whether they are products of the mind or consciousness or material products - the acting subject tries to make something understandable to his fellow human beings by objectifying those products, which in turn is the prerequisite for this is that the acting subject is or can be understood by his fellow human beings.

Karl Marx coined the term reification under economic-philosophical aspects.

With reification In Marxist theory, the alleged phenomenon is called that in capitalist society social relationships (for example the relationship between individual work performance and total social work) would appear in the form of things that have an inherent legality, the "automatic subject", which can no longer be shaped by humans (according to Marx as part of “commodity fetishism” or, more generally, of the “fetish relationship” of the goods-producing system). The sum of the phenomena of reification is therefore called ideology. reification The tendency inherent in capitalist societies is to make everything and everyone an object of use, consumption and exchange, i.e. a commodity, especially people and their relationships with one another (especially in the form of their labor, as "human capital", but also not- materially as idols, e.g. pop stars).[5]

With his definition of reification, Marx mainly referred to capitalism, which reifies everything and everyone and degrades them to a commodity.

The mystery of the commodity form consists simply in the fact that it reflects back to people the social characters of their own labor as the objective characters of the labor products themselves, as social natural properties of these things, hence also the social relationship of the producers to total labor as an external social relationship of Objects. (...) The light impression of a thing on the optic nerve is not represented as a subjective stimulus of the optic nerve itself, but as an objective form of a thing outside of the eye. [6]

The character of the commodity arises from the character of the person or the producer and that commodity not only reflects one thing, but is equated by society on the basis of the criteria of working time, total work and effort, so that a social relationship to the commodity arises that over the real character of a Things goes out. “It is only the specific social relationship of people themselves that here takes on the phantasmagoric form of a relationship between things” (p. 86). The human interprets more into that relation to the commodity than it actually gives, since he puts it in relation to the human effort and accordingly artificially appreciates it towards humans, so that they do not only consider the commodity as a mere product thing understand, but also reward the effort involved in the production.

So people do not relate their work products to one another as values, because they regard these things as mere factual covers of similar human work. Vice versa. By equating their various products in exchange as values, they equate their various works with one another as human labor.[7]

Marx understood or used the term reification so more in the sense of a Humanizing thingswhich, however, should not play a role in the context of this work. The reverse of the reification in the Marxist sense, it deals with the question of how man reifies his consciousness and himself.

Adorno delivers in his Note on humanitiesand education a better approach than Marx in order to be able to answer the central question of this work later, to what extent man can be an object without a subject.

The reification of consciousness, the disposal of its ingrained apparatuses often takes precedence over objects and prevents formation that would be one with the resistance to reification. The mesh with which organized spiritual science has covered its objects tends to become a fetish; what is different from excess, for which there is no room in science.[8]

Adorno criticizes the character of the humanities and the central core of education. Education is to be understood as an object that emerges from the subject, which man undoubtedly is, makes an object, since man becomes the object of spiritual science or education. But precisely that reification of consciousness that is inevitably necessary for the human being form can lead to the fact that the sophisticated mechanisms of our consciousness, which make it possible in the first place that we can understand ourselves as object and subject at the same time, establish scientific institutions whose structures are so stuck that they that would be one with the resistance to reification, prevented. Adorno calls these structures one in the humanities fetish and everything that does not adapt to this structure - be it unscientific opinions, criticism of science in general or structures deviating from the traditional notion of that narrow-minded science that does not tolerate opinions outside its science - becomes the excessfor which there is no place in science. The exclusion of those who think differently has a method and Adorno's criticism is entirely understandable, because for him true education springs from the spirit itself, which has not yet been corrupted by science.


[1] Ritter, Joachim, Historical Dictionary of Philosophy, Vol. 11: U - V , Darmstadt: Wiss. Buchges., 2001, pp. 608f ..

[2] Kohler, Georg, Why Adorno? About Adorno's method, motive and topicality, in: Kohler, Georg / Müller-Dohm, Stefan (eds.), Why Adorno? : Contributions to the criticism and persistence of a key theory of the 20th century, Weilerswist: Velbrück, 2007, p. 9.

[3] Georg Lukács was a Hungarian philosopher, literary scholar and critic, who is considered to be an important innovator of Marxist philosophy and theory in the first half of the 20th century.

[4] Blinne, Jens / Seubold, Günter, reification, in: Rehfus, Wulff D., Concise dictionary of philosophy, Stuttgart: UTB (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), 2003.

[5] see. reification (Wikipedia): http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verdingbildung

[6] Marx, Karl, The capital. First volume (1867) in: Marx, Karl / Engels, Friedrich, Werke (MEW), Vol. 23, Berlin: Dietz, 1970, p. 86.

[7] Marx, Karl, The capital, P. 88.

[8] Adorno, Theodor W., "Note on Spiritual Science and Education", in: Kulturkritik und Gesellschaft II, in: Adorno, Collected Writings, ed. v. Rolf Tiedemann, Scientific Book Society Darmstadt. Vol. 10/2, 1977, p. 497.

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