can someone explain the link between Marx’s focus on false consciousness and alienation and Critical Theory / Frankfurt School of Thought.?

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    False Consciousness is a model that falls within the Critical Theory hypothesis. A simple query in Wikipedia would have yielded the answer in mere seconds. Any student ought to use Wikipedia as a primary resource. 


    By the way, Critical Theory and False Consciousness are theories with primarily SOCIAL applications and therefore fall squarely into the realm SOCIOLOGY. The Frankfurt School was a school of SOCIOLOGY. Karl Marx was primarily a SOCIOLOGIST. 


    Therefore, the SOCIOLOGY FORUM would have been a more  logical place to post your question.  I suggest that you move it there now. It's not rocket science. 

  • j153e
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    KM never used the phrase "false consciousness."  (It arose in the 1920s, around the timing of Gramsci's visit to Lukacs in Vienna in 1923.)  [If your instructor doesn't know, acknowledge, or appreciate this, s/he is not conversant with basic early marxism and its historical development.]  So, Marx never had a clear "focus" on "false consciousness," nor even a clear definition of what is a "class" (see next paragraph), other than the simplistic notion of proletariat vs bourgeois, aka the have-nots or abused vs the haves and the abusers.

    Marx, in his chief work, concludes it before he clearly defines "class."  Engles, in his discussion of historical materialism, sets forth the defining notion or axiom of so-called "scientific" socialism or marxism:  namely, that human history is shaped by forces other than man's psychological consciousness of them.

    Marx hypothesizes more about "alienation,' a term which he adopts from Hegel, but as a left-hegelian, reducing the Hegelian insight of the Aufhebung or integration of processes, and developing--at Marx' lesser level of awareness and understanding--a reductionist and materialistic view of mechanization man, alienated by technology.

    This reductionism reflects the erring of Marx' own psychological dysfunction--that of a infantile baby who, unable to greedily control the teat, either throws a tantrum, or contrives to manipulate/control the mother/teat.  A more functional personality would accept the Other, recognize what is the the I-Thou rather than the warring between the teat (Capital) and the greedy materialist who treats the teat-owner as the enemy.  Thus Marx' fundamental error:  the teat is somebody, not abstract capital in a bank, and the baby must learn to treat the teat and its owner as more than a means to the end of putting justice-food into baby's mouth.

    Marx defines capital, and more generally the means of production (which are, like real world "classes," formed of or conditioned by various productive surrounds and processes, and multivariate, not baby prole vs mommy bourgeois) in this trope:  "[Capital, etc.] is a social relation between [classes of] persons mediated through things."

    Thus alienation for Marx is socio-psychological, and sociopathy is oppression by a ruling group (e.g. the stalinist death orders re Ukrainian farmers, the maoist death orders re Confucian, Christian, Buddhist, and capital roaders, etc.).

    As he grew older, Marx was smart enough to recognize that increasing technology actually empowered workers, writing e.g. "The Critique of the Gotha Program" re the more empowered German working classes (using the plural here to indicate a major flaw or falsified prediction of the infantile Marx, namely that as things developed, baby Marxists would cavort in a field of interchangeable labor roles; in point of Maslowian fact, and per the decades of Economic "Nobelists" work, in maturing economies, specialization increases and interchangeability, apparently many a baby's dream, gives place to the maturing child who, if s/he is not spoiled, will learn to focus on a specialty, even a calling if s/he is religious, which s/he enjoys.  This is the case in maturing economies, and of good fortune for those in less-mature economies.  The enemy of such progress--the "creator" (actually, simply "cause") of alienation is not so much a teat-rulership class--although that exists--but one's own inner childish dysfunctionality, the Harry Potter who doesn't grow up, but remains Peter Caulfield or Holden Pan.

    Thus in the childhood of K. Marx, we find him making dirt pies and forcing them down his sister's throat; then, in college, dunning his impoverished, widowed mother for his beer money; raping his paid-for-by-his-wife maid, then, in his more mature in vino veritas days, i.e. around the time of "The Critique of the Gotha Program," commenting wryly on "this Communist sh*t" as a shtick of and for rather deluded "intellectuals."

    Thus we move to the Frankfurters. who by their so-called "critical thinking" find "alienation" under every oppressed worker's bed.  When Lukacs, Gramsci, and then a decade later the frankfurters, notice, namely that maturing economies in the West and now elsewhere (Japan, Taiwan, etc.) have less-alienated workers like the 1875 Social Democratic Party "revisionists" (so-called by Marx in his "Critique" of them--Marx even then could not transition from class hatred against the Capital Teat "class" (possibly because he was majorly unskilled in any trade, hence the black-and-white fallacy of "all by revolution," and no step-by-step gaining of various items, such as what the SDP Gotha platform proposed:  universal voting rights for men and women, freedom of assembly, and laws further protecting the health and working conditions in every trade)), then the frankfurters simply furtively look further for further types of "alienation."  "Critical" = has to have an enemy, demonstrates black and white fallacious "thinking" lower than genuine Hegelian integration; such "critical" thinking generally serves the ego-need of the "Critical Thinker," rather than addressing the issues arising of ontology, epistemology, and ethics, unto and as enlightened by genuine science and spirituality.  Genuine contemplation is clarity, not agonistic criticality that divides using misrepresentation and straw person argumentation to "conquer" aka agrandize or buoy up some ego-deficit.

    Frankfurter "critical thinking" was typically long on deconstruction (find the enemy, isolate him, her, or it, and defeat the straw enemy which is The Problem), and short on practical, constructive critiques that actually contribute and work.  The frankfurters would find a problem or contradiction, or even partially make one up (as Gramsci did re the nastiness of religious beliefs), and then use the marxist-leninist-stalinist hammer of deconstruction, with a risible marxist ex machina phase transformation (~ = Russian nihilism:  i.e., a revolution occurs, and then a miracle happens, as a utopia arises out of the ashes:  e.g., cf the works or fruits of Lenin, Mao, etc.).

    The "missing link" for these humans is infantile leftism, personal disaffection dysfunctionally attacking a(n admittedly-imperfect if not corrupt) system based on non-free market abuses such as nepotism, cronyism, and lack of merit-based hiring and promotion.  That these dysfunctional conditions are patently extant in societies from National Socialist Germany and before, and continue to the present in e.g. People's Republic of China and the U.S.A., indicate that the better approach to working with social dynamics is based in free market competition, economies of scale, and non-corrupt or genuine servant-leaders who promote necessary transparency and accountability in trade unions, corporations, trades such as health care, legality, and education.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Can someone explain the need to babbel about anything other than Marx was evil and caused hundreds of millions of deaths?

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