The University of Wisconsin Press

Political Science

Origins of Modernity
The Origins of Modern Social Theory from Kant to Hegel to Marx
John F. Rundell

This book offers a brilliant reconstruction of the work of Kant, Hegel and Marx, focusing on their conceptions of, and their theories about, the modern era.

The author argues that the notion of the self-defining subject is a key concept for these thinkers, a concept which expresses their debt to the tradition of the Enlightenment. But in attempting to develop the Enlightenment ideal, Kant, Hegel and Marx elaborate their theories in ways that undermine or restrict the original ideal and give rise to tensions and unresolved problems.


John Rundell examines these tensions and problems with insight, rigour and originality. He gives particular attention to the ambiguities and conflicting themes which run throughout Marx’s writings, such as the conflict between the emphasis on production on one hand, and the concern with language and creative symbolism on the other. The result is an outstanding book which will be of interest to anyone concerned with the work of Kant, Hegel and Marx and, more generally, with differing ways of thinking about the nature of the modern era.


John Rundell teaches in the department of sociology at La Trobe University in Australia.


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August 1987
256 pp.   6 x 9
ISBN-10: 0-299-11450-3 
ISBN-13: 978-0-299-11450-3  

This title is out of print.


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