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You are here: The Platypus Affiliated Society/Platypus, Strauss, and the philosophy-politics nexus

Platypus, Strauss, and the philosophy-politics nexus

Tom Canel

Platypus Review 116 | May 2019

THE PLATYPUS AFFILIATED SOCIETY'S project is to think through the impact of defeat and decline on the revolutionary Left’s theory and praxis. Reading and viewing Platypus materials online, we quickly learn how important the nexus between philosophy and politics is for this project.[1] Although both my political and philosophical opinions (left social democratic and egregiously eclectic, respectively) differ profoundly from those of Platypus, I find great value in engaging with their viewpoint on the relationship between philosophy and politics. I hope that this essay will contribute to a productive discussion. 

Arguably, everyone who adopts a political position has an underlying philosophical outlook, even if they hold it unconsciously. As well as being divided over specifically political or philosophical issues, people can differ over the way that politics and philosophy should feed into each other. For example, an analytic philosopher’s approach to a political doctrine might be to explicate its assumptions and examine the logical coherence of its arguments. If they are feeling particularly bold, the analytic philosopher might attempt to evaluate the truth of those assumptions. Assessing their plausibility and the logical coherence of the argument based on them, this species of philosopher may proceed to pronounce judgment on the issues or ideas they are examining.[2] Philosophy in this form has an external relationship, one of judgment, to political practice. Platypus and some Marxist philosophers have a very different view of the role of philosophy with respect to politics. Rather than philosophy being the arbiter of politics, or (as with most Marxist-Leninists) politics being the arbiter of philosophy, a mutually transformative synthesis of revolutionary politics and philosophy is attempted. Evaluating the viability of this attempt is therefore key to assessing the viability of the Platypus Project as such. 

Arguably, Platypus sees Marxism as the denouement of the German Idealist tradition. From its beginning (with Kant), German Idealism integrated its philosophical and political aspects through the concept of freedom. Freedom, understood as autonomy and self-determination, has become a key political goal in Western modernity. Kant affirmed that if we were to be truly free, truly autonomous, our thinking must be unshackled by superstitions emanating from irrational authority. As a result, the acquisition of philosophical enlightenment becomes a profoundly political act.

Hegel’s philosophy of history radicalized this perspective. History, Hegel believed, consists of Spirit becoming conscious of itself by positing itself in reality.[3] The essence of Spirit, he claimed, is Freedom.[4] Historical and philosophical progress is therefore marked by Spirit becoming more and more aware of its own freedom (Hegel described this as culminating in the self-knowledge of the Absolute Idea). This increasing recognition in philosophy by Spirit of its essence, Freedom, is reflected on a political level by the progressive recognition of Freedom within the State.[5] As Spirit becomes conscious of itself as Reason, it achieves absolute self-knowledge as the Absolute Idea.  For Hegel, the political culmination of this philosophical process lies in the establishment of liberal constitutional monarchies. Philosophical knowledge (absolute self-consciousness of the Idea) and political emancipation (Spirit’s self-recognition as Freedom) are, for Hegel, one and the same.

As one would expect from an Idealist, Hegel views reality as essentially being Idea. Hegel opens his account of reality with the most basic form of reality or idea: the Idea of Pure Being. Even at this most basic and abstract level, reality is traversed by a contradiction: insofar as it is Being, Pure Being is positive existence, or “something”; on the other hand, since it is pure and lacks any properties or attributes, Pure Being is also nothing. An assumption basic to Hegelian Philosophy and its understanding of Dialectical method is that such contradictions in the realm of the Idea don’t just sit there. Some force, the Dialectic, causes the Idea in a contradictory state to transcend its contradictions and mutate into a new form. Until we reach the Absolute Idea, each new iteration of Idea will express new contradictions and so further dialectical development ensues. Eventually, reality’s very finiteness is transcended and we arrive at the infinity of the Absolute Idea. The contradictory nature of material finiteness is demonstrated, Hegel claims, by the inadequacy of finite, material things with respect to their concepts. Since the Idea is infinite, adequacy to the concept requires transcending finiteness. Transcending finiteness is the acquisition of freedom because finiteness imposes limits, and limits by definition limit freedom.  

The political corollary of Idea’s ascent to Infinity and establishment of its own Freedom was, for Hegel, the liberal constitutional monarchy. One can surely be forgiven for seeing a disparity between the sublime nature of philosophical development (ascension to the infinite) and its mundane political counterpart! Marx refused to accept that liberal constitutional monarchies embody social emancipation and genuine freedom. He attributed Hegel’s political error to his idealism.[6] Hegel, Marxists argue, integrated philosophy and politics, but on an idealist, and therefore mystifying, basis.  Marx attempted to transcend Hegel’s idealist misrecognition of the philosophy-politics relationship by showing that philosophical problems could only be solved in tandem with a political and social revolution that culminates in communism.[7]                                                                               

Social emancipation arguably requires the solution of the basic philosophical problems, such as an understanding of what freedom is in a material and social world. By restricting itself to the realm of ephemeral ideas, Marx argued, idealism inevitably fails on the philosophical level as well on the material and political levels.[8] Marx argues that the human being is a practical, rather than a purely rational, animal. For Marx, practicality contains rationality as an integral component (Marx argues that the rationality integral to human labor is what distinguishes human activity from that of all other animals).[9] For Marx, the denigration of humanity’s practical side (the affirmation of the superiority of the contemplative life over the life of action by traditional philosophers) stunts philosophical progress. According to Marx, the contemplative contempt for material and political action reflects the continuing predominance of class exploitation and the related division of labor. The discovery of our true nature, which would involve a valid philosophical anthropology, therefore requires the revolutionary overthrow of exploitation and the class-based division of labor, just as such revolutionary emancipation requires a valid philosophical anthropology. 

Marx focused on the transformation of social relations rather than on the transformation of the abstract Idea, but he persevered with a materialist version of Hegel’s Dialectic. According to this Dialectic, material structural contradictions generate new structures with new material contradictions. What this transformation of the Dialectic actually looks like, beyond metaphors of turning the Dialectic on its feet, has been a defining question for Marxist philosophy. 

Whether a materialist, as opposed to an idealist, dialectic allows for ascent to Absolute Knowledge and Absolute Freedom will become a key question later in our discussion. Engels, according to Lucio Colletti, mechanically applied Hegel’s dialectical scheme to matter.[10] This allowed vulgar Marxists and some on what has been termed as the “zombie Left” to rely on a lifeless, dogmatic pseudo-philosophy, the dead end of orthodox dialectical materialism, or Diamat. Lukacs, in contrast, applied dialectical thinking to the historical process and class struggle. Limitations in philosophical or conceptual outlook, for example the alleged “antinomies of bourgeois thought,” he argued, reflect the social contradictions faced by different social classes. Lukacs is interested in one “antinomy” in particular: the disparity between subject (the individual as an autonomous rational actor) and object (the individual as an effect of its environment).[11] In Hegel, the Absolute Idea discovers itself as object by recognizing its own reality and becomes subject by recognizing its freedom. Lukacs finds subject-object identity in the revolutionary proletariat.[12] Under capitalism, Marxism claims, the proletariat is reduced to an abject object through the commodification of its only asset, its labor power. However, the peculiarities of the proletarian position in the social order make it the only class willing to and capable of recognizing its true position in society and its real interest in communism. In becoming aware of its needs and its potential self-emancipation through communism, the proletariat as object becomes at the same time the proletariat as subject. Subject-object identity is established through the revolutionary activity of the proletariat. A key line of continuity between German Idealism and philosophically sophisticated Marxism lies in the linking of freedom and knowledge. Just as Spirit in Hegel’s account breaks the fetters of material finitude by gaining self-knowledge as Absolute Idea, the proletariat in the Marxist account gains freedom from exploitation and domination through the process of understanding its own condition. For Marxists, the road to freedom lies through an understanding of one’s real nature, of one’s own necessity, that is through a philosophical anthropology.

Another take on the material dialectic relevant to our argument is Adorno’s. Adorno reverses Hegel’s claim that things are inadequate in relation to their concepts, and counters that concepts are inherently inadequate with respect to the material things they purport to grasp (they always leave a “remainder”).[13] The inadequacy of our concepts with respect to material things results in the failure of formal-logical manipulation of concepts to provide adequate knowledge of social reality. This failure of formal-logical thinking allows it to be used, Adorno claims, as a cover for ideological obfuscation and social domination.[14] The only way for thought to address this inadequacy of concepts is to think through the failure of strictly formal-logical thinking to provide adequate knowledge of social reality, and to acknowledge the need for thought to conceptualize social reality as riven with real contradictions, not just social conflict and opposition. Material dialectics, Adorno claims, allows one to do just that. Some revolutionary groups urge one to resolve philosophical quandaries through political action alone. However, Adorno implies that devoted attendance at strike picket lines, at anti-imperialist mass demonstrations, or even at sales of the party paper, will not in themselves do anything to resolve basic conceptual or philosophical problems. Since the resort to reflexive action as a way of obscuring real theoretical impasses is arguably a defining feature of what some term the “zombie Left,” it is perhaps not surprising that Adorno’s thinking seems so congenial to the Platypus project.

That the proletariat plays a key role in the Marxist Philosophy of History is a commonplace. Marx argued that the proletariat is the first and so far the only class in history naturally disposed to abolish property as such. According to Marx, class and property relations obstruct knowledge of our real place in our natural and social worlds. The containment of the Bolshevik revolution and its subsequent degeneration represent, from the viewpoint of this tradition in Marxist Philosophy, the missing of the proletariat’s and philosophy’s mutual appointment.[15] The Platypus project can be understood as a taking stock of, and an attempt to address, the fact that this appointment was missed. Lukacs’ early Marxist work can be seen as an attempt to actually make that appointment, while Adorno’s writings, like those of Platypus, seem to recognize that the appointment was missed. Karl Korsch, in Marxism and Philosophy, explains why this appointment being missed puts Marxist philosophy as much as Marxist politics into a deep crisis: if the development of Marxist philosophy is indeed entwined in the proletariat’s revolutionary role, how can Marxist philosophy progress when its lifeblood, the proletariat as a revolutionary force, is stymied?

For Western Marxism, the two major sections of the workers’ movement, official Communism and Social Democracy, as well as Trotskyist and other revolutionary offshoots, were tainted by philosophical philistinism. In the case of self-described Marxist-Leninists, in lieu of genuine dialectical thinking, a sterile, dogmatic and formulaic Dialectical Materialism (Diamat) was presented as Marxist philosophy. In the case of Social Democracy, dialectical reflection was abandoned; an unthinking pragmatism and positivism informed political action instead. Although leftist organizations of varying degrees of radicalism continued to exist through the 20th century and the first two decades of the 21st, their dearth of philosophical culture meant that, according to this perspective, the Left lacked the philosophical Spirit needed to be a force for liberation.

Platypus, in my view, is attempting to accomplish, with regards to the Left, much the same thing that Socrates, according to conservative philosopher Leo Strauss, was attempting to accomplish with the Athenian citizenry of his day. Socrates is thought to have engaged in an all-around dialog (a dialectic) to reveal the incoherence and ignorance of those incapable of philosophical reason, and to incite an interest in philosophy as a way of life in those who did have the potential to philosophize. If the comparison of the Socratic and Platypus projects holds, and if it is unsurprising to us that Socrates’ activities spurred anger and retribution from his fellow Athenians, it should not be surprising to us that Platypus has antagonized many on the contemporary Left. Like Socrates, Platypus is thought by some to be a corrupting influence on the young. Fortunately, the forced consumption of hemlock is not a common feature of contemporary intra-Left conflict!  

The Death of Socrates (1787), Jacques-Louis David

Since we are comparing Platypus to Strauss’s Socrates, it might be illuminating to consider how Strauss understood the relationship between philosophy and politics. An understanding of how this philosophically sophisticated right-winger conceived this relationship may bring into focus crucial issues for his sophisticated counterparts on the Left. According to Leo Strauss, there are two aspects of modern political thought that nudge the contemporary thinker into an intellectually sterile conformity: positivism and historicism.[16] By positivism, Strauss means perspectives, modeled after the natural sciences, that entrench the fact-value distinction and therefore decline to seek knowledge of what goodness, virtue, justice, and the like actually are. By historicism, Strauss means those perspectives that deny that thought can transcend its historical context. Although leftist critical theory (Ă  la Horkheimer, Adorno, and I would claim Platypus) rejects understandings of virtue, justice or goodness that would be congenial to Straussians, the two currents agree that positivism leads to a stultifying conformity of thought. The Western Marxist approach to historicism is more nuanced. While any Hegelian-influenced mode of thought (whether it be Marxist or not) has to accept that thought, like every aspect of human existence, is an expression of historical development, critical theorists (and their ilk) are highly resistant to attempts by vulgar Marxists and zombie leftists to suppress the consideration of an argument because of its suspect social origin or adapt their thought at the behest of organizational interests.[17] Historicism on the Left has been associated with such an instrumentalization of thought. The institutional Marxist maneuver of only considering issues according to the assumptions of self-identified proletarian vanguards is dismissed as a dogmatic betrayal of critical Marxism.

The alleged inseparability of historicism and positivism from modern political thought (for Strauss, modern political thought includes pretty much everything from Machiavelli on) forces Strauss to go to Classical Greek philosophy for salvation. Socrates and his followers, Strauss argues, did not claim to know what goodness, justice, or virtue, are; what distinguished Socrates from his contemporaries was that he knew that he did NOT know. Aware of his ignorance, he sought a way of life, the life of a philosopher, devoted to the pursuit of that knowledge. Socrates was uninterested in stumbling haphazardly into virtue. True virtuous action, he thought, requires a genuine understanding of what virtue is. If one does not know what virtue is, the virtuous thing to do, Strauss’s Socrates claims, is to seek that knowledge.[18] Thus, given an impasse in our knowledge, the philosophical quest for knowledge is the most virtuous activity available to us. Strauss’s model for the philosophical way of life is, of course, Socrates himself. Socrates acknowledged that he lacked knowledge and pursued philosophical discussions with his fellow Athenians, sometimes to glean knowledge from them (Socrates himself claimed to be no more than a “midwife” for good ideas), and sometimes, as some of his fellow Athenians suspected, to ridicule and humiliate them. These suspicions led to charges against Socrates of denying the city’s gods and corrupting its youth. Famously, he was found guilty and forced to drink hemlock as a punishment. Strauss derived from Socrates’ experience the lesson that we need to be conscious of how the life of a philosopher could be perilous; it is crucially important therefore to be strategic in one’s philosophizing. If the philosophical way of life was the most virtuous way of life available, and the purpose of politics was to enhance virtue (as Strauss believed), then an immediate political priority for philosophers and anyone who believed in virtue was to establish a political regime that allowed philosophers to philosophize in peace. Surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly, given Strauss’s instinctive conservativism, liberal pluralism did not provide such a regime. Liberal pluralism was associated with a “Republic of Letters” (a phrase coined by Strauss’s Hegelian interlocutor Alexandre Kojève) where intellectuals played with ideas in a dilettantish, relativistic fashion in a “marketplace of ideas.”[19] The Republic of Letters, according to Strauss, stifled philosophical activity by undermining the search for truth and virtue through its relativistic ethos.[20] 

Radical democracy was even worse than liberal democracy from Strauss’s perspective. Ordinary people will always resent, Strauss argued, the claim by philosophers to greater wisdom and virtue, and are therefore prone to persecute them. Radical democracy, in whatever form it took, would allow insufficient space to lead the philosophical life. Given the tension between philosophy and democracy, philosophers need to ingratiate themselves with members of the conservative elite, referred to by Socrates and his interlocutors as “gentlemen” (sic.). Given that the feathers of the average “gentleman” may well be ruffled by philosophers questioning their moral and political assumptions, the philosopher should, when necessary, conceal their true beliefs from the gentlemen, while allowing those capable of being philosophical to learn from philosophers and become genuine philosophers themselves. Strauss thus attributed to classical philosophers, as some readers have attributed to him, a strategy of installing different levels of meaning in their writing, an exoteric level for public consumption and unphilosophical gentlemen, and an esoteric one for members and potential members of the philosophical elite. According to Strauss, the political necessity of self-preservation could be useful for philosophical growth. Learning how philosophers need to protect themselves in the political realm is an opportunity to learn about political things. Learning about political things could be a bridge to learning about things in general, and learning about things in general—gaining knowledge of the whole—is the very goal of philosophy from the Socratic/Straussian point of view.[21] 

Marx, in The German Ideology at least, thought that under communism, everyone would be able to philosophize without being pigeonholed as a philosopher. For Strauss, such an aspiration is not only utopian, but also dangerous. The philosophical Left seeks to enable everyone to gain genuine philosophical knowledge; the philosophical Right, in its Straussian form at least, seeks to make the small minority, who alone, according to Strauss, are capable of philosophical activity, safe. Western Marxists, on the Left, see their philosophizing as a stepping stone to a politics of emancipation, while Straussians, on the Right, see philosophers’ political maneuverings as a stepping stone to being able to philosophize in peace. The element of the Marxist view that makes philosophy an antechamber to politics seems to put the realm of ideas first. This may complicate Engels’ and other Marxists’ association of idealism with the Right and of materialism with the Left (what we mean by “materialism” becomes relevant here; Western Marxists tend to understand materialism to involve the primacy of the social/political, while orthodox Marxists understand it to involve the primacy of Being, understood as matter). As we have seen, Western Marxists take a detour (to adopt an Althusserian expression) through philosophy to reach political goals; Straussians take a detour through politics to reach the goals of philosophy. 

Alexandre Kojève, a man of profound philosophical sophistication, as well as real political influence, directly challenged Strauss’s understanding of the philosophy-politics nexus. Philosophically, Kojève was a rigorous Hegelian, who believed that the rational development of History/Spirit culminated in what he called the universal homogenous state.[22] This state is homogenous insofar as it recognizes and validates everyone’s formal equality. It is universal insofar as it claims the validity of its political values for all peoples. The universal homogenous state, Kojève believed, had taken two forms in the mid- to late twentieth century: one embodied in Stalinist Russia and what were then its East European satellites, the other embodied in the West  by the European Common Market (later to become the now embattled European Union), which  Kojève helped to set up. Kojève personally preferred the Western option, but philosophical rigor led him to accept that the East European model was a historically possible alternative to the liberal democracy he preferred. East and West seemed to have developed alternative models of a rational state, alternative culminations of the self-actualization of historical Reason. 

Philosophers, at least the wise among them, have integrated, Kojève would argue, historical reason into their thought and being. They are therefore especially well placed to guide political regimes grounded in reason. Philosophers could, and should, from this perspective, participate in ruling. That belief demarcates Kojève’s understanding of the philosophy-politics nexus both from that of Leo Strauss and that of Western Marxism/Platypus. Neither Straussians nor Western Marxists advocate for philosophers to become operatives of Kojève’s universal, homogenous states. Western Marxism/Platypus regard neither the liberal capitalism of the Common Market nor the authoritarianism of Communist regimes as actually established in the USSR and the East as embodiments of emancipatory or even dialectical reason. Leo Strauss did not so much challenge the rationality of Kojève’s model states but rather questioned whether any such rational political and social order, even if feasible, was bearable from a human point of view. 

For Strauss, Eros, not Reason, drives politics. Political Eros can take on a variety of forms, such as love of one’s own kind (exemplified in such varying phenomena such as class instinct and ethno-nationalism, for example) or love of power, status, and glory (I would argue that love of a specific ideology can also be a powerful form of political Eros). Since Eros is essential to our being, Strauss believed, the universal, homogenous state of Kojève would, if actualized, suppress our very humanity.[23] Kojève countered that political struggle and competition are, in essence, a quest for recognition rather than a quest for the satisfaction of Eros.[24] Through recognizing the equal rights of its members, the universal homogenous state provides a rational resolution to the universal struggle for recognition. Individual ambition could be tamed by the judicious distribution of rewards by the state. Kojève’s critics would no doubt point to the collapse of Soviet-style Communism as evidence that the Eastern form of the universal homogenous state was not viable after all, and the emergence of ethno-nationalist populism in both the USA and the EU as suggestive that its Western counterpart is equally vulnerable. Contrary to Kojève’s expectations, ethno-nationalist love of one’s one own seems to have trumped (pun obviously intended) the universal political recognition enabled by the universal homogeneous state.

The Left’s critique of Kojève’s universal homogenous state lies in the latter’s limited formal understanding of equality and freedom. In Stalinist regimes, repression of the working classes is concealed behind a façade of formal public ownership of the means of production; in liberal capitalist regimes, formal liberties and equal rights can act as a cover for generalized unfreedom and inequality in concrete social relations. If some commentators are right that contemporary politics is structured by the conflict between ethno-nationalism and political liberalism, the revolutionary Left, if it seeks to challenge both at the same time, is in a bit of a pickle (I would argue that the recognition of this “pickle” rather than hidden reactionary sympathies lies behind Platypus raising the provocative and frankly shocking question, “Why Not Trump?”).[25] Reenacting the fusion of philosophy and proletariat, the Western Marxist hopes, could provide the way forward.

If the Left’s project does include the fusion of philosophy and proletariat, the Left must address irrational factors, such as political Eros and ideological opinion (as opposed to philosophical and scientific knowledge) that threaten to crowd out revolutionary Reason. If the revolutionary politico-philosophical project is to be viable, revolutionary Reason has to subordinate political Eros to itself.

Kojève advocated subordinating Eros to the rule of Reason by the judicious distribution of prizes, honors, and rewards.[26] From a Marxist-Hegelian perspective, such a policy of social control through manipulation of desires would undermine the recognition of genuine freedom within the political order. Even during periods of relative prosperity within consumerist capitalism, the maintenance of a regime of domination through the manipulation of popular desires is seen by Western Marxists as indicative of a fundamental lack of freedom and self-determination. The Western Marxist project requires that the disjuncture between Eros and Reason be transcended, not utilized.

Lukacs might argue that the transcendence of the Eros-Reason disjuncture, a key antinomy of bourgeois thought in his view, requires transcendence of another bourgeois antinomy: the disparity between subject and object. For Kant, the self is free, insofar as it is a rational subject. Insofar as it is directed by Eros and other “pathological” factors, the self is a determined object, incapable of freedom. Lukacs saw this bifurcation in understanding the human self between free subject and determined object as exemplifying an “antinomy” within bourgeois thought. Hegel’s solution to this antinomy, to regard the Absolute Idea as a unified subject-object, was, Lukacs claimed, admirably dialectical but mired in mysticism because of its idealism. Fortunately, Lukacs claimed, materialists could point to the very real revolutionary proletariat as an instance of subject-object identity. The processes of recognizing its oppression and reduction to commodity-status under capitalism and of discovering its innate desire for emancipation were actually one process of philosophical self-discovery. Through self-knowledge, one’s Eros is no longer foreign to one’s rationality. For the proletariat, subject and object become one and identical within itself. Subject-object identity could allow for a transcendence of the Eros-Reason antinomy and allow for the creation of a truly emancipated society.[27] 

But there is a problem here: Hegel’s discovery of subject-object identity was inseparable from the elaborate conceptual structures of his Absolute Idealism. As we have seen, Hegel was able to establish subject-object identity via the demonstration of the inadequacy of material reality to its concept. This is the basis of the dialectic in its idealist form. Adorno and (giving credit where it is due) Slavoj Žižek point out a contrary basis of the material dialectic: the inadequacy of our concepts to material reality. However developed our knowledge, there will always be a remainder within materiality, which stops any concept from being identical to, and fully grasping, its material counterpart.[28] Full self-knowledge, a prerequisite for subject-object identity, is made impossible because there will always be a disparity between the real self and its self-concept. Psychoanalysis, as Slavoj Žižek would point out, names this remainder of self over self-concept as the subconscious. Psychoanalysis stresses the importance of the subconscious as a seat for Eros. Eros, within the subconscious, will always remain foreign to reason.

The alleged fact that concepts as such are always inadequate to material reality as such, and consequently that our self-concept will always misrecognize our actual self, cannot be alleviated by any development in reason, history, or the material world, even if the specific content of that inadequacy does seem to change as both concepts and reality evolve. This inadequacy would therefore not only be a meta-historical fact, but also a metaphysical fact. The existence of metaphysical facts is a source of great discomfort to any Marxist philosopher; after all, in the Marxist tradition, dialectics is thought to have exploded all metaphysics. The indigestible lump of metaphysical fact forces us to question whether philosophical reason, even if fused with a revolutionary proletariat, could ever attain the completeness of knowledge necessary to overcome the antinomy of Eros and Reason and fulfill its assigned world-historic emancipatory role. We must therefore question, I claim, the viability of the Platypus project. | P

[1] <>. Platypus Affiliated Society discussion of “Marxism and Philosophy,” 8/11/2018.

[2] Bertrand Russell, “Philosophy and Politics,” Unpopular Essays (New York, 1950), 1-20.

[3] Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Hegel: The Essential Writings (New York, 1974), 80.

[4] Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind (Oxford, 2010), 15.

[5] Ibid., 22.

[6] Karl Marx, ed. Robert Charles Tucker, “The German Ideology” (1846), in The Marx-Engels Reader (New York: Norton, 1978), 166.

[7] Marx, “Theses on Feuerbach” (1845), in ibid., 145.

[8] Ibid., 145.

[9] Marx, Capital. Volume 1, in ibid., 344-345.

[10] Friedrich Engels, Dialectics of Nature (USSR, 1972).

[11] György Lukács, History and Class Consciousness (Cambridge, MA: 1986), 165.

[12] Ibid., 171.

[13] Theodor Adorno, Negative Dialectics (London, 1990), 5.

[14] Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment.

[15] Adorno, An Introduction to Dialectics (London, 2017), 184.

[16] Leo Strauss, What is Political Philosophy? (Chicago, 1988), 25.

[17] Adorno, An Introduction to Dialectics, 34.

[18] Ibid., 90.

[19] Alexandre Kojève, ed. Gourevitch and Roth, “Tyranny and Wisdom,” in On Tyranny (Chicago, 2013), 151.

[20] Strauss, “Restatement on Xenophon’s Hiero,” in ibid., 196.

[21] Strauss, What is Political Philosophy? 39.

[22] Kojève, “Tyranny and Wisdom,” 146.

[23] Strauss, “Restatement on Xenophon’s Hiero,” 209.

[24] Kojève, “Tyranny and Wisdom” 56.

[25] Chris Cutrone, “Why not Trump?” Platypus Review 89 (September 2016), <>.

[26] Kojève, “Tyranny and Wisdom,” 138-9.

[27] György Lukács, History and Class Consciousness, 175.

[28] Adorno, Negative Dialectics, 5.