Home / Events

[London] Discussion on The Philosophical Roots of Anti-Capitalism

LONDON 9 November 2016

Discussion on The Philosophical Roots of Anti-Capitalism

7.30 pm The Cock Tavern, 23 Phoenix Rd, London NW1 1HB (10 mins. walk from Euston or Kings Cross Tubes)


  • Dave Black, author of The Philosophical Roots of Anti-Capitalism (now available in paperback)
  • Ben Watson, author of Adorno For Revolutionaries
  • Kevin Anderson, author of Marx at the Margins

In the title essay of The Philosophical Roots of Anti-Capitalism, Black examines Alfred Sohn-Rethel’s argument that 1)the origin of philosophical abstraction is to be located historically in the “false conciousness” brought about by the new money economy of Greek Antiquity; and 2) that in the Enlightenment the conceptual barrier Kant put between phenomenal reality and the “thing-in-itself” expressed the reified consciousness stemming from commodity-exchange and the division of mental and manual labor. Black challenges Sohn-Rethel’s view of the entire history of philosophy as branded by a timeless universal, idealist logic. Black argues for the crucial relevance of Hegel’s concept of “totality” and critique of Kantian dualism to Marx’s critique of political economy.


“While Sohn-Rethel may be largely unfamiliar to an American audience, the subject of Black’s second major essay is close to the heart of contemporary radical thinking. Interest in Guy Debord, critic of capitalist society and one of the founders of the Situationist International, surged during the Occupy Wall Street movement…. What characterizes Black’s essay is his effort to remove Debord from the art and media curriculum in which academic critics are quite comfortable in appreciating him and place him instead in the historic current of Hegelian-Marxism.” — Criticism&c

“The well-respected historian of philosophy, David Black, has shown himself to be a consummate philosopher, so much so that he has produced a work that will stand the test of time as a major contribution to the Marxist tradition of philosophical works. His new work is a major achievement, and one that speaks directly to the historical times that we unhappily inhabit. This work is more than a feast for academics, it is necessary fuel for revolution, a revolution that is in the making and that will benefit greatly from this work. Should the coming socialist revolution begin to turn into its opposite, this is the work that we will need to read–again and again–to get back on track”

– Peter McLaren, University of California, Los Angeles and distinguished fellow in critical studies, Chapman University..