12 April, 2017

The Grounds for a Žižek Critique

Slavoj Žižek is a world-renowned, self-proclaimed Marxist, and has produced an extensive body of work, with which he has built a world-wide set of supporters for his version of Marxism. But, as a Marxist myself, and also a fully qualified physicist, I had something of a shock when I read the chapter in his book Less Than Nothing, which he entitles The Ontology of Quantum Physics.

I had previously read his Chapter - called The Limits of Hegel, from the very same book: and though by no means in full agreement with him, did recognise his brilliant use there of Hegelian Dialectics.

He was certainly worth a read!

But, when it came to my specialism - Sub Atomic Physics, it was evident that we, immediately, parted company in a truly major way.

Žižek is no sort of Scientist!

And, that didn’t just undermine his ideas upon that subject: it undermined his purported Materialism too.

Looking back to his work on Hegel, it became clear that he certainly wasn’t as critical of Hegel as Marx had been. He hadn’t switched to a consistent Materialist stance! He was still a kind of Idealist - subscribing to Hegel’s Dialectic, but certainly NOT to Marx’s intended objective of unifying Philosophy with Science. He, like Marx before him, just didn’t know enough about Science. And, crucially he, also did NOT understand Materialism.

Niels Bohr

When the physicists Bohr and Heisenberg established the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory, they were reacting to the contradictions, within their subject, due to a majorly flawed philosophical stance, by undertaking a major retrenchment - abandoning holist explanatory theories for pluralist formal equations only. They were abandoning Materialism for an amalgam of Idealism plus Pragmatism!

But, as a non scientist, Žižek didn’t even notice what that involved. He could “integrate” their ideas with his own contributions, particularly what he had taken on from Lacan.

I had to undertake a root-and-branch critique of Žižek’s position.

Žižek does not, and indeed cannot, equip the Working Class for their coming fight to overthrow Capitalism. That is a job for Marxists who are completing Marx’s objective of unifying Philosophy and Science, and providing the theoretical means to achieve that goal. But, Žižek’s version of that objective is, “If you can’t beat them, then join them!” - the opposite of Marx’s objective.

The contributions in this section are, therefore, a small set of preparatory papers giving some idea of the Ground that is, and will be, necessary.

Fuller, more-comprehensive theories are available, if required via SHAPE Journal, but if the reader is already fully prepared, reading these few grounding notes, will not be necessary.

This paper can be found in the latest issue of Shape


No comments:

Post a Comment