Budapest School (Lukács)

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The Budapest School (Hungarian: Budapesti iskola, German: Budapester Schule) was a school originally of Marxist humanism, but later of Post-Marxism and dissident Liberalism that emerged in Hungary in the 1950s. Its members were all students of Georg Lukács. The school was originally oriented towards developing the works of the Late Lukacs on Social Ontology and Aesthetics, but quickly began to challenge the paradigm of Lukacsian-Marxism. Most of the members later came to abandon Marxism. The School also critiqued the "dictatorship over needs" of the Soviet states. All of the members were forced into exile by the Soviet Hungarian government.

In a letter to the Times Literary Supplement of February 15, 1971, Georg Lukács drew attention to “The Budapest School of Marxism,” and helped attract attention to the school from Western Marxism for the first time.

Members of the school include: Ágnes Heller, Ferenc Fehér (hu), György Márkus, István Mészáros Mihály Vajda, etc.


The 1956 Hungarian Revolution was the most important political event of Agnes Heller's life, for at this time she saw the effect of the academic freedoms of Marxist critical theory as dangerous to the entire political and social structure of Hungary. The uprising confirmed Heller’s ideas that what Marx really means is for the people to have political autonomy and collective determination of social life.

Lukács, Heller and other Marxist critical theorists emerged from the Revolution with the belief that Marxism and socialism needed to be applied to different nations in individual ways, effectively questioning the role of the Soviet Union in Hungary’s future. These ideas set Heller on an ideological collision course with the new Moscow-supported government of János Kádár: Heller was again expelled from the Communist Party and she was dismissed from the University in 1958 for refusing to indict Lukács as a collaborator in the Revolution. She was not able to resume her research until 1963, when she was invited to join the Sociological Institute at the Hungarian Academy as a researcher (Tormey 4–18) (Grumley 5–15).

From 1963 can be seen the emergence of what would later be called the “Budapest School”, a philosophical forum that was formed by Lukács to promote the renewal of Marxist criticism in the face of practiced and theoretical socialism. Other participants in the Budapest School included together with Heller her second husband Ferenc Fehér, György Márkus, Mihály Vajda and some other scholars with the looser connection to the school (such as András Hegedüs, István Eörsi, János Kis and György Bence). The School emphasized the idea of the renaissance of Marxism, described by radical philosophy scholar Simon Tormey as "a flowering of the critical, oppositional potential they believed lay within Marxism and in particular within the ‘early Marx’ ... the Marxism of the individual ‘rich in needs,' of solidarity and self-governance ... they hoped to precipitate a crisis in those systems that had the temerity to call themselves 'socialist'."

Heller’s work from this period, subsequently repudiated,[citation needed] concentrates on themes such as what Marx means to the character of modern societies; liberation theory as applied to the individual; the work of changing society and government from “the bottom up,” and affecting change through the level of the values, beliefs and customs of "everyday life". Since 1990, Heller has been more interested in the issues of aesthetics in The Concept of The Beautiful (1998), Time Is Out of Joint (2002), and Immortal Comedy (2005).

Political Economy[edit]

The Budapest School carried out research on the Political Economy of both the Soviet Union and Western Capitalism. The School accepted many of the critiques of Soviet planning and inefficiency from Neoclassical Economics, as well as the connection between markets and freedom. The Soviet system was condemned as a dictatorship over needs. The school also analyzed the mixed economies of modern capitalism. Most traditional Marxist economics was jettisoned. Sweden and the Nordic Model was held as a model of the mixed economy and managed capitalism. The School advocated Radical Democracy as a solution to the authoritarian and undemocratic features of the mixed economy.

Mihály Vajda[edit]

Mihály Vajda published a work in which he compared Husserl's theory of the sedimentation of the European sciences with Lukacs' concept of reification.

Mihály András Vajda is a Széchenyi Prize-winning Hungarian philosopher, professor, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, full member. His work is primarily in the phenomenology of the 20th-century German philosophy and theory in totalitarian societies, he said. Between 1996 and 2000 the Kossuth Lajos University Institute of Philosophy, 2005 to 2009, the Institute for Philosophical Research Director.

Graduated from high school in 1953, and the Lenin Institute, began his tertiary studies. He studied there until 1956, then from 1957 to 1960 in the Eötvös Loránd University of Sciences, Faculty of Philosophy, German Philosophy faculty attended and graduated. György Lukács accepted among students, the School of Budapest belonged.

Completion of undergraduate studies he worked as a primary school teacher, and in 1961, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Institute of Philosophy was scientific assistant. In 1967 he defended his candidate's dissertation in the philosophy of science. Gradually departed from the Marxist eszmétől, and in 1973 the Budapest school's role in respect of political incompetence and szabadúszóvá dismissed from the institute became a translator and worked as a language teacher. In 1977, Bremen has been a visiting professor, he lectured until 1980. In the 1980s, more than once was in New York visiting professor. 1991-1992 in Siegen, Kassel in 1994 as a teacher.

In 1989, rehabilitated, and in 1990 the Kossuth Lajos University (now University of Debrecen), senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy University professor was appointed. In 1992 he defended his doctoral thesis. In 1994, the MTA Representative Assembly, and in 2000 became chairman of the Committee of the Institute of Philosophy, and in 2001 he was elected to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, e-mail, and in 2007 a full member. Between 1999 and 2002 Széchenyi fellowship researched. 2005 emeritálták . Also in 2005, the Institute for Philosophical Research was appointed. The institute is headed by 2009.

Research areas at the beginning of his career, the 20th-century phenomenology, Edmund Husserl and Max Scheler's work, he later turned to social theory. In this period of fascism until 1995, his book is not jelentethette Hungarian. In the 1970s, towards a critical Marxist written works, most of which are also not jelentethetett it. The regime, the possibility of post-modern philosophy, and the impossibility of questions employed. Furthermore dealt with philosophy, history and political philosophy . More than eighty publications, they are mainly in Hungarian, English and German disclose to the public.

He is married with a son and a daughter-father.

István Mészáros[edit]

István Mészáros is a Hungarian Marxist philosopher, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Sussex. He held the Chair of Philosophy at Sussex for fifteen years and was earlier Professor of Philosophy and Social Science for four years at York University.

He can be linked to the so-called "Budapest school", a group of Hungarian philosophers who were taught or influenced by Georg Lukács, including Ágnes Heller and György Márkus.

He left his native Hungary in 1956 after the Soviet invasion and worked for a time in Turin, Italy before settling in the UK.