International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

Journal | Volume | Article


What does reification conceal?

Will and norm in Lukács, Schmitt, and Kelsen

Todd Hedrick

pp. 121-156


If reification is the projection of a false, thing-like appearance onto society, what is de-reifying critique supposed to reveal? After distinguishing between versions of reification based on a social ontology of will from those that think of the social as a normatively constituted domain, I argue that Lukács’ work on reification fudges this distinction through his account of class. I then turn to the debate between Schmitt and Kelsen, where the will-versus-norm issue is central. I argue that the consonance between ideas about reification and will-based theories like Schmitt’s is superfcial, as the latter relies on identifcation with authority for its account of normativity, making Kelsen’s ideas about normativity stemming from an orientation toward intersubjective process more convivial. I note, however, that norm-based accounts are less amenable to radical change than will-based ones, making the link between dereification and radical politics less direct than is often thought.

Publication details

Published in:

Jurga Saulius, Kavoulakos Konstantinos (2021) Reification. Metodo 9 (2).

Pages: 121-156

DOI: 10.19079/metodo.9.2.121

Full citation:

Hedrick Todd (2021) „What does reification conceal?: Will and norm in Lukács, Schmitt, and Kelsen“. Metodo 9 (2), 121–156.