Hegel, Marx and Vygotsky

Essays on Social Philosophy


Andy Blunden’s Hegel Marx & Vygotsky, Essays in Social Philosophy presents his novel approach to social theory in a series of essays. Blunden aims to use the cultural psychology of Lev Vygotsky and the Soviet Activity Theorists to renew Hegelian Marxism as an interdisciplinary science. This allows psychologists and social theorists to share their insights through concepts equally valid in either domain. The work includes critical reviews of the works of central figures in Soviet psychology and other writers offering fruitful insights. Essays on topics as diverse as vaccine scepticism and the origins of language test out the interdisciplinary power of the theory, as well as key texts on historical analysis, methodology and the nature of the present conjuncture.

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Andy Blunden is an independent scholar in Melbourne. He has published on Soviet Psychology, Hegel’s philosophy and the foundations of political science. Andy has served as editor of Mind, Culture, and Activity and as Secretary of the Marxists Internet Archive.

Analytical Contents List

List of Illustrations


1What Is the Difference between Hegel and Marx?
 1 The Main Difference between Hegel and Marx Is the Times They Lived In

 2 The Young Marx vs. Hegel on the State

 3 Hegel and Marx on Universal Suffrage

 4 Marx and Hegel on the State

 5 Hegel’s Misogyny

 6 Hegel’s Failure to See the Contradiction in the Value of Commodities

 7 Universal Suffrage and Participatory Democracy

 8 In What Sense Was Hegel an Idealist?

 9 Turning Hegel on His head

 10 Goethe, Hegel and Marx

 11 Summary

2The Unit of Analysis and Germ Cell in Hegel, Marx and Vygotsky
 1 Part 1: From Goethe to Marx

 2 Part 2: Vygotsky and Activity Theory

3Concrete Historicism as a Research Paradigm
 1 Structuralism and Abstract Historicism

 2 Concrete Historicism

 3 The Germ Cell

 4 Conclusion

4Perezhivanie as Human Self-Creation
 1 Introduction

 2 No Mystery

 3 An Experience

 4 Etymology

 5 Catharsis

 6 Personality

 7 Continuity and Discontinuity

 8 Unity

 9 Lived Experiences

 10 Units

 11 Development

 12 Reflection

 13 Examples

 14 Critiques

 15 Perezhivaniya on the Social-Historical Plane

 16 Conclusion

 1 The Domains of Self-Determination

 2 Free Will

 3 The Natural Will

 4 The Development of the Will in Childhood

 5 Self-Control

 6 Acquisition of Ideals

 7 Perezhivaniya

 8 Freedom and the State

 9 Voluntary Association

 10 Alliance Politics

 11 Conclusion

6Tool and Sign in Vygotsky’s Development
 1 Part 1: Ape, Primitive Man and Child

 2 Part 2: Tool and Sign in Vygotsky after 1930

 3 Part 3. Marx, Engels, Vygotsky and the Marxist Tradition

 4 Conclusion

7Vygotsky’s Theory of Child Development
 1 The Concepts of Vygotsky’s Periodisation

 2 Social Situation of Development

 3 Central Neoformation

 4 Lines of Development

 5 Age Levels

 6 Self-Relation and the Crisis Periods

 7 ‘Leading Activity’ and Zone of Proximal Development

8The Concept of Object
 1 The Various Concepts of Object

 2 Hegel’s Objekt and Gegenstand

 3 Objective and Universal

 4 Marx’s Critique of Hegel and Feuerbach

 5 Arbeitsgegenstand – The Object to Be Worked Upon

 6 Object-Concept

 7 Boundary Objects

 8 The Object of a Project

 9 Conclusion

9Leontyev’s Activity Theory and Social Theory
 1 Part 1: Objects and Activities in Leontyev’s Activity Theory

 2 Part 2: Leontyev’s Theory of the Personality

 3 Part 3: A ‘Project’ as an Activity

10Fedor Vasilyuk’s Psychology of Life-Projects
 1 Otnoshiniye (отношение)

 2 The Lifeworld (жизненный мир)

 3 Perezhivanie (переживание)

 4 Types of perezhivanie

 5 Social Theory

11The Invention of Nicaraguan Sign Language
 1 Introduction

 2 Vygotsky on the Ideal Form

 3 Deaf Children in Nicaragua

 4 The Effect of the 1979 Revolution

 5 aprias(Association to Help and Integrate the Deaf)

 6 Was ansnic Acting Alone?

 7 Minimal Conditions for Acquisition of a Sign Language

 8 In What Sense May the Case of nsl Be Generalised?

 9 The Development of Language Communities

 10 Goldin-Meadow on the Structure of Personal Sign

 11 Conclusion

12Language in Human Evolution
 1 The Co-evolution of Animal Behaviour and Biology

 2 Bipedalism

 3 Delayed Gratification

 4 Voluntary Control and Conscious Awareness

 5 Speech

 6 Conclusions

13Power, Activity and Human Flourishing
 1 Collaborative Project as a Unit of Social Life

 2 The Abuse of Power

 3 The Human Subject

 4 Political Economy

14Vaccine Hesitancy
 1 Risk Culture and Healthism

 2 Trust

 3 The ‘vh Compass’

 4 Conclusion

 5 Postscript 2020

15Something Worth Dying For?
 1 Foreign fighters

 2 Who Wants to Be a Foreign Fighter?

 3 Conclusion

16Capital and the Urpraxis of Socialism
 0 Preliminaries

 1 Part 1: Goethe, Hegel, Marx, Vygotsky

 2 Part 2

17Virtue and Utopia
 1 Internal Goods

 2 Problems with MacIntyre’s Virtue Ethics

 3 Consequentialism and Deontology

 4 Virtue Ethics

 5 Practical Anarchism and Virtue Ethics

 6 Goals and Motives

 7 Ethics and Utopia

 8 The Virtues of Practices

 9 Summary

 10 The Question of Delegation and Hierarchy

 11 Conclusion

18The Origins of Collective Decision Making (Synopsis)
 1 The Question

 2 Research Methodology

 3 Collective Decisions without Voting

 4 Counsel

 5 Where Did Majority Come From?

 6 Origins of Majority

 7 The Development of Majoritarianism

 8 Crisis of Majoritarianism

 9 The Quakers and Consensus

 10 Myles Horton and Consensus in sncc

 11 James Lawson and Consensus in sncc

 12 Women Strike for Peace

 13 1968 and After

 14 Conclusion

 15 Postscript

19False Heroes and Villains
 1 Villains and False Heroes

 2 John Howard

 3 The Right-Wing Populist Narrative

 4 An Alternative Left-Wing Narrative

20Amartya Sen on Critical Voice and Social Choice Theory
 1 The Critique of Distributive Justice

 2 Amartya Sen

 3 Human Needs and Social Justice

 4 Utilitarianism and Positivism

 5 Utilitarianism and the Real Ethic of Bourgeois Society

 6 Sen’s Critique of Social Choice Theory

 7 Conclusion

21Comments on ‘Social Capital’

22Nancy Fraser on Welfare Dependency
 1 Pre-Capitalist Society

 2 Wage Labour

 3 Domestic Labour

 4 Public Assistance

 5 Universal and Targeted Benefits

 6 Dependency as a Personality Trait

 7 Building Capacity vs. Philanthropy

 8 The Ideology of Self-Help

23Anthony Giddens on Structuration
 1 The Knowledgeability of Social Actors

 2 Routines

 3 Practical Consciousness

 4 Concepts and Motives

 5 Unintended Consequences and Conceptual Development

 6 Institutions and Social Movements

 7 Conclusion

24Bourdieu on Status, Class and Culture
 1 Capital

 2 Field and Habitus

 3 Class and Habitus

 4 Cultural Capital and Educational Capital

 5 Social Capital, Body Capital, Linguistic Capital, Political Capital

 6 Cultural Relativism

 7 Idealism

 8 Political Opinion Formation

 9 Systems of Status Subordination

 10 Social Capital Theory

 11 Axel Honneth’s Criticism of Bourdieu

 12 Subjectivity

 13 Conclusion

25The Coronavirus Pandemic Is a World Perezhivanie

26As of 2020, the American Century Is Over



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