William S. Lewis, Dialectical Method: Henri Lefebvre’s Philosophy of Science at the Verso books blog.
The Marxist philosopher and social scientist Henri Lefebvre (1901-1991) authored over 60 books. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that some of these are less well-known than his Critique of Everyday Life (1947), Introduction to Modernity, (1962), or Dialectical Materialism (1940), each of which continues to inform the work of architects, geographers, sociologists, and philosophers. Active as an author for over seventy years, Lefebvre’s oeuvre begins with contributions to the surrealist movement, proceeds with an important translation of Hegel and Marx, and then ranges across metaphysics, rural and urban sociology, critiques of fascism, memoirs, poetry, and literary criticism.
Given the breadth of his interests and the relative obscurity of some of his writings, it is little wonder that few readers have examined Lefebvre’s contribution to philosophy of science. This is especially understandable given that his major work in this area, Méthodologie des Sciences remained unpublished for more than fifty years and only saw the light of day in 2002. It remains untranslated into English. Méthodologie des Sciences, was written by Lefebvre under the auspices of the French Communist Party and–at that organization’s behest–it attempted to integrate the “insights” of Stalin’s Short Course into Marxian philosophy. Given this mission, one aspect of the work that remains of particular interest to those interested in how ideology affects understanding is the way in which Lefebvre maintains fidelity to Stalin’s seconding of Marx and Engels’ insight that a subject’s social and economic position determines her worldview while simultaneously defending the objectivity of scientific knowledge [continues here]