Las Torres de Lucca. International Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol 4, No 7 (2015)

On the understanding of history in Marx. The prospects of Ernesto Laclau and Jürgen Habermas on the development of the productive forces.

Matías Cristobo


The crisis and the subsequent collapse of the so called ‘actually existing’ socialism produced a return to Marx. This return meant the revival of a set of threads running through the fields of epistemology of the social sciences, philosophy and political science. Within this framework, our job is to analyze and compare two different interpretations on understanding the course of history in Marx from the perspectives of Ernesto Laclau and Jürgen Habermas. First, we analyze Laclau’s objections to the explanation that Marx develops social change as an engine of history. According to Laclau, Marx holds two mutually exclusive concepts: the pair ‘productive forces / relations of production’ and ‘class struggle’. Second, as a critique of this position, we will address the relationship between the two concepts identified from an epistemological theory radically different perspective: made by Jürgen Habermas in his book Knowledge and Human Interests. Finally, we conclude with a summary of both positions.