BSP Podcast: Adriano Lotito on Tran Duc Thao – Phenomenology and Marxism

podcast update

This episode of the BSP Podcast sees Adriano Lotito presenting a paper from our 2020 annual conference, ‘Engaged Phenomenology’ Online.

Season 5 episode 128: 30 October 2021

This episode of Season 5 of the BSP Podcast features Adriano Lotito, Milano-Bicocca University. The presentation is taken from our 2020 annual conference: ‘Engaged Phenomenology’ Online.

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Adriano Lotito
‘Tran Duc Thao between Phenomenology and Marxism’

ABSTRACT: This contribution focuses on Tran Duc Thao’s work, Phenomenology and Dialectical Materialism, that is fundamental to post-war French thought, having influenced thinkers such as Lyotard and Derrida amongst others and representing the first systematic attempt to synthesize Marxism and phenomenology. Firstly I examine the Tran’s reconstruction of Husserlian phenomenology. Originally there is an objective idealism theorizing the independence of the object; then there is its reversal in a subjective idealism highlighting the constituting consciousness; finally there is the switch from static to genetic phenomenology with the thematization of the life-world as historical-empirical ground (I). Secondly I explore the contradiction indicated by Tran between the Husserl’s idealistic frame, implicating the reproduction of an abstract dualism, and the results of the concrete analysis, bound to the original claim of going back to the things themselves. This tension is particularly detectable in The Origin of Geometry (II). Thirdly I discuss the Tran’s solution to this riddle, namely the radicalisation of the materialistic stance discovered in the Husserl’s late writings towards a Marxist horizon. The genesis of the a priori forms of the antepredicative experience is derived from the evolution of species and from the development of human work. The dialectic of behaviour as practical interaction between organism and nature determines the emergence of meanings structuring the experience. The notion of intentionality is interpreted as result of an immanent negation, the aufhebung of any immediate determinations through the work of an emerging  bodily-social intersubjectivity that in this way reaches the self-consciousness. The real movement, insofar as is sketched out and repressed at once, is sublated as intentional content. Transcendental subjectivity becomes an immanent subjectivisation of the object through praxis. This could lead to an alternative antireductionist ontologization of phenomenology despite a teleologism that risks to cage the dialectic in a too narrow path (III).

BIO: Adriano Lotito graduated in Philosophy (B.A) at the University of Bologna with a thesis entitled Phenomenology and Marxism in Tran Duc Thao (Supervisor Prof. Manlio Iofrida) and in Philosophy of the Contemporary World (M.A) at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University with a thesis entitled Criteria of Normativity in the Axel Honneth’s Critical Theory (Supervisor Prof. Roberto Mordacci). He is currently attending the Advanced Course in Critical Theory of Society at the Milano-Bicocca University. He is focusing, with the view to a future Ph.D., on the rethinking of the immanent critique specifically in connection with the work transformations.

This recording is taken from the BSP Annual Conference 2020 Online: ‘Engaged Phenomenology’. Organised with the University of Exeter and sponsored by Egenis and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health. BSP2020AC was held online this year due to global concerns about the Coronavirus pandemic. For the conference our speakers recorded videos, our keynotes presented live over Zoom, and we also recorded some interviews. Podcast episodes from BSP2020AC are soundtracks of those videos where we and the presenters feel the audio works as a standalone.

The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, events, and podcast. Why not find out more, join the society, and subscribe to our journal the JBSP?