Praxis Seminar: Research Colloquium in Practical Philosophy 2023/24, Session 22

Praxis Seminar: Research Colloquium in Practical Philosophy 2023/24, Session 22

28 maio 2024 17:00 - 19:00

Data: 28 de Maio de 2024 | 17h00-19h00

Local: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa | Sala Mattos Romão

Organização: CFUL - PRAXIS

Mais informações: | CFUL - PRAXIS

Inscrição: Até à véspera de cada sessão

social totalitySession 22 | Dirk Quadflieg | Social Totality and Immanent Critique

For various reasons, the concept of social totality appears to be outdated today. On the one hand, many social theories have convincingly demonstrated that modern Western societies have differentiated themselves into numerous more or less autonomous subsystems that cannot be subsumed under a single law of reproduction such as that of the economy. On the other hand, the concept of totality nowadays is so strongly associated with totalitarianism that it seems to be normatively overdetermined as a sociological description. Speaking of a social totality is therefore often equated with the assertion that the society under consideration is governed in a totalitarian manner. Despite these plausible objections, I would like to argue that a critical social theory should not only insist on a certain concept of social totality, but must inevitably do so. The main reason for this lies in the widely shared assumption that, especially under postcolonial conditions, we cannot analyze the societies we are living in other than immanently, because any universal norm that could serve as a transcending standard can rightly be questioned as historically and geographically particular. Starting from more general reflections on what immanent critique means, the paper goes back to Hegel to show how the concept of immanence is connected with that of reality as totality. Against this background, I would like to argue that Marx’s Grundrisse could provide us with a version of social totality that does not amount to economic reductionism, but rather allows to understand social totality as a historically highly ambivalent achievement of bourgeois society making both possible: a revolution of society as a whole and a total delusion, as Adorno claimed.

The Praxis Seminar — Research Colloquium in Practical Philosophy is the main research seminar of the Practical Philosophy Research Group. Meetings are held every Tuesday throughout the academic year. The Praxis Seminar hosts lectures and presentations given by local and foreign scholars especially invited to present their most recent work. It is conceived as a forum for philosophical discussion of topics with a cross-cutting perspective, promoting an enriching environment for academic exchange.