lefebvre – towards a meta-philosophy


what is interesting in lefebvre’s work is the importance he gives to what might at first sight be seen as diverse and irreconcilable philosophies that is of hegel, marx and nietzsche. as has been pointed out there is much common ground between them but more importantly they contribute to a differentiated understanding of the modern world. lefebvre sees them addressing this in the following ways:  >hegel thinks in terms of the state, marx society, and nietzsche civilisation.<

although the relationship to hegel and marx is well documented the important influence of nietzsche is less so, reliant as it is on the limited range of english translations of lefebvre’s work. particularly important to him is nietzsche’s ‘assertion of life and the lived’ as an opposition to the ‘political and economic processes’ and his stress on its ‘resistance through poetry, music and theatre; the hope of the extraordinary, the surreal and the supernatural’. he likens them to three stars in the sky, each which their own trajectory but to be understood as a constellation.  from elden

stuart elden’s book on understanding henri lefebvre is also instructive on his relationship to heidegger and how lefebvre is seen as providing politicised and radical critique of many of heidegger’s analyses, particularly around his understanding of the notion of dwelling or inhabiting. it was for him important as he saw in heidegger an important break from traditional philosophical understandings of space.


lefebvre’s metaphilosophy – ‘beyond’ philosophy

(‘to realise’ ‘to surmount /surmonter], ‘to overcome’ /depasser philosophy’)

much of metaphilosophie is taken up with an investigation of praxis, although lefebvre argues that it should by counter-balanced with the idea of poises. it is for him ‘important not to dissociate the two aspects of the creative capacity’. extending marx’s concept of praxis he suggests poiesis is in some sense a balance between speculation and praxis, as creative production. as lefebvre argues, ‘not all creation is ‘poiesis’, but all poiesis is creative. struck by the notion in nietzsche that everything in western philosophy begins to go wrong from plato heidegger goes back to to the pre-socratics. levebvre praises heidegger for his re-examination of logos, aletheia, physis but this should bre match by a similar analysis of praxis, techne, mimesis, poiesis. lefebvre in turn studies heraclitus for similar insights. it is part of the turn from philosophy as such – an un understanding they both shared, that the problems of philosophy cannot be solved from within philosophy and want to actualise marx’s eleventh thesis on feuerbach – philosophy has hitherto interpreted the world, the task was to change it. the answer for lefebvre rested on this question of interpretation for it should ‘answer the questions of the philosophers and yet [be] no longer philosophy. lefebvre therefore describes his work on the production of space, and the investigation into the everyday as a metaphilosophy.