Desire and Intellect: Individuation in Capitalism, or Simmel vs. Marx
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Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences
Mikołaj Ratajczak
Publication date: 2018-12-19
Polish Sociological Review 2018;204(4):499–515
The aim of this text is to compare Simmel’s and Marx’s notions of two subjective faculties, desireand intellect, and the role each plays in modern capitalist societies. While Simmel understands the faculties asindividual, Marx’s critique of political economy presents their social, public, and trans-individual character. Thesetwo perspectives differ over the particular economic sphere in which we ought to locate the social production ofsubjectivity. Simmel locates such production in market exchange, the formal, symbolic expression of which ismoney, thereby leading to the notion of an intersubjective social reality as the effect of monetary relations betweendesiring and calculating individual subjects. Marx, for his part, treats both desire and intellect as trans-individualfaculties, and locates the social production of subjectivity in the sphere of production as subsumed under capital.
This work was supported by the National Science Centre Poland under Preludium 8 grant competition,contract no. UMO-2014/15/N/HS1/02431.