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Georg Lukács on Reification - Dictionary of Arguments

Habermas III 474
Reification/Lukács/Habermas: Lukács thesis: "in the structure of the relationship of goods (can) the archetype of all forms of representationalism and all corresponding forms of subjectivity be found in bourgeois society". (1)
Habermas: Lukács uses the new Kantian expression "representational form" in a sense shaped by Dilthey as a historically created "form of existence or thought" that distinguishes the "totality of the stage of development of society as a whole". He understands the development of society as "the history of the uninterrupted transformation of the representational forms that shape people's existence".
LukácsVsHistorism/Habermas: Lukács does not, however, share the historicist view that the particularity of each unique culture is expressed in a representational form. The forms of representationalism convey "the confrontation of the human
Habermas III 475
with his/her environment, which determines the representationalism of his/her inner and outer life". (2)
Reification/Lukács/Habermas: is the peculiar assimilation of social relationships and experiences to things, i.e. to objects that we can perceive and manipulate. The three worlds (subjective, objective and social ((s) shared) world) are so miscoordinated in the social a priori of the living world that category errors are built into our understanding of interpersonal relationships and subjective experiences: we understand them in the form of things, as entities that belong to the objective world, although in reality they are components of our common social world or of our own subjective world.
Habermas: because understanding and comprehending are constitutive for the communicative handling itself, such a systematic misunderstanding affects the practice, not only the way of thinking but also the "way of being" of the subjects. It is the lifeworld itself that is "reified".
Habermas: Lukács sees the cause of this deformation in a
Habermas III 476
method of production that is based on wage labour and requires "becoming goods of a function of humans" (3).
Habermas III 489
AdornoVsLukács/HorkheimerVsLukács/Habermas: Horkheimer and Adorno shift the beginnings of reification in the dialectic of the Enlightenment back behind the capitalist beginning of modernity to the beginnings of the incarnation. The reason for this is that Lukác's theory of the unforeseen integration achievements of advanced capitalist societies has been denied.


1. G. Lukács, „Die Verdinglichung und das Bewusstsein des Proletariats“ in: G. Lukács, Werke, Bd. 2. Neuwied 1968, S. 257-397.
2.G.Lukács, Geschichte und Klassenbewusstsein, Werke, Bd. 2, 1968, S. 336
3. Ebenda S. 267.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Lukács, Georg
Ha I
J. Habermas
Der philosophische Diskurs der Moderne Frankfurt 1988

Ha III
Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. I Frankfurt/M. 1981

Ha IV
Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. II Frankfurt/M. 1981


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-10-17
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