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The Problem of Subsumption in Kant, Hegel and Marx

Saenz de Sicilia, Andrés (2016) The Problem of Subsumption in Kant, Hegel and Marx. PhD thesis, Kingston University.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Saenz de Sicilia, Andrés

This thesis explores the concept of subsumption in the work of Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel and Karl Marx in order to construct a distinct theoretical problem resting on the articulation of conceptual and social relations. Each of these authors develops a ‘logic’ within which subsumptive relations are operative: Transcendental logic, dialectical logic and finally Marx’s ‘logic of the body politic’; these are investigated in turn. The thesis opens with a close reading of subsumption in Kant’s philosophy, arguing that it is here that the concept first attains its modern or critical sense. This critical sense distinguishes it from the classical notion of subsumption (as a formal or purely logical relation) and gives rise to a novel philosophical account of how synthetic subsumption acts unite heterogeneous elements within a compositional totality. In Hegel’s philosophy this account takes on a series of new determinations, as social, historical and developmental aspects to subsumption are introduced. Nonetheless, Hegel’s concept of subsumption remains within the ambit of a ‘closed’ idealist discourse, just as Kant’s does. The second section of the thesis explores how this closure is thrown into crisis by Marx’s materialist attack on philosophy as a self-sufficient branch of knowledge, altering the stakes of conceptual relations as such, and therefore subsumption. Drawing on the work of Mexican-Ecuadoran philosopher Bolívar Echeverría, Marx’s materialism is reconstructed as a theory of social reproduction, encompassing the practical process of social life in its entirety. This then provides the basis for an analysis of subsumption in its specifically capitalist form, which, the thesis argues, must be thought as operative at three levels of social activity: exchange, production and reproduction, each with their own distinct but interconnected logics of power and resistance. Grasping these three dimensions in their unity, the thesis finally outlines an original framework for comprehending capitalist domination in its concrete specificity. In order to do so it goes beyond Marx’s own theory of (formal and real) subsumption as well as interpretations of it that reinstate theoretical closure to historical contingency (for example in the work of Negri and Adorno). Instead, a dynamic theory of capitalist subsumption is proposed in order to register the diverse mechanisms of control through which capitalist power shapes the course of social reproduction and historical development.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: 1 April 2016
Funders: Kingston University
Related Websites: https://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/36138/
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Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2022 10:18
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2022 10:18
Item ID: 17827
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/17827

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