Normativity and Totality: Lukács’ Contribution to a Critical Social Ontology

Stahl, Titus
Edited by Thompson, Michael J.
Book chapter
in Georg Lukács and the Possibility of Critical Social Ontology, Dec 2019



The chapter contextualizes Lukács's "Ontology of Social Being" within social ontological debates. It identifies two problems for a critical social ontology: the totality issue (in how far social entities are part of an integrated totality in society) and the normativity issue (in how far social entities are constituted by social norms). The chapter first argues that Lukács' solution to the normativity problem - grounding normativity in human labor - can best be understood as resting on a theory that grounds the normativity of intentions in the mutual recognition of needs. Second, it argues that Lukács's claims of totality can be reconstructed by adopting an social externalist analysis of intentions.


Date of Publication
11 Dec 2019
Edited by
Thompson, Michael J.