Studies in East European Thought

, Volume 64, Issue 1–2, pp 39–52 | Cite as

Weltanschauung as a priori: sociology of knowledge from a ‘romantic’ stance



In this paper I reconstruct the central concept of the young Lukács’s and Mannheim’s sociology of knowledge, as they present it in their writings in the early decades of the twentieth century. I argue that this concept, namely Weltanschauung, is used to refer to some conceptually unstructured totality of feelings, which they take to be a condition of possibility of intellectual production, and this understanding is contrasted to an alternative construal of the term that presents it as logically structured, quasi-theoretical background knowledge. This concept has Kantian reminiscences: it is a condition of possibility of intellectual production in general. The young Mannheim and Lukács rely on ‘Weltanschauung’ so understood as a phenomenon mediating between the facts of society and individual intellectual production and reception: it is seen as being conditioned by sociological facts and therefore as a historical and sociological category through which, and therefore indirectly, society enters into intellectual production.


György Lukács Karl Mannheim Worldview Interpretation Ideology Historical a priori 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary
  2. 2.University of PecsPecsHungary

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