This paper explores whether it is possible to reconstruct a more or less well-defined picture of what Walter Benjamin means by communism from his relevant observations or allusions. Benjamin’s occasional remarks about the topic have been used in some quarters to claim that Benjamin has a quasi-Marxist theory of communist society. Such a claim is at odds with the conceptual core of Benjamin’s thinking. Notions such as ‘revolution’ and ‘alienation’ have different meanings in Benjamin and Marx. This paper will argue that Benjamin’s image of ‘communist society’ refers to a type of experience (‘collective experience’) rather than a type of social organization. The paper discusses the conceptual background of that image and points out a number of the difficulties that Benjamin’s conception of collective experience faces.
Alison Ross is Professor in Philosophy at Monash University. She works mainly in the field of applied aesthetics. Her current research program is a conceptual investigation of images and image theory. She is also in the early stages of a project looking at signalling protocols in nature, which uses an aesthetic approach for the study of animal patterns and colours.
Further Information: Prof Alison Ross – Continental Philosophy Seminar
Wednesday 18 September 2019 | 4pm – 5:30pm
Flinders University: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Room 203 | Humanities Building
Off carpark 5 | Humanities Road
Sturt Road | Bedford Park SA 5042