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This new work (the first in a two-volume series) by the leading Marxian philosopher of our day is a milestone in human self-understanding. It focuses on the location where action emerges from freedom and necessity, thefoundation of all social science.
Today, as never before, the investigation of the close relationship between social structure—defined by Marx as "arising from the life-process of definite individuals"—and the various forms of consciousness is particularly important. We can only perceive what is possible by first identifying the historical process that constrains consciousness itself and therefore social action.
The relationship between social structure and forms of consciousness discussed in this volume is multifaceted and profoundly dialectical. It requires the presentation of a great wealth of historical material and the assessment of the relevant philosophical literature, from Descartes through Hegel and the Liberal tradition to the present, together with their connections with political economy and political theory. István Mészáros moves beyond both abstract solutions to the surveyed methodological questions and one-sided structuralist evaluation of the important substantive issues, bringing the process of our understanding of social structure and consciousness to a level not previously attained.
Above all, in the spirit of the Marxian approach, even the most complicated problems are always analyzed in relation to the major practical concerns of our time. The primary aim of this work is to outline the dialectical intelligibility of historical development toward a viable societal reproductive order. Social Structures and Forms of Consciousness is of the highest importance as both a political and philosophical work, illuminating the place from where we must act, today.