Oof, this rings a really false note: "This is the sense in which one can speak meaningfully about 'false consciousness'—a false understanding of what in fact would make one's life better, about what specifically are the best means to realize some end. Claims about false consciousness are not in general claims about false /identity/. False consciousness describes incorrect beliefs about how the world actually works…" — Erik Olen Wright, How To Be Anticapitalist in the 21st Century

That isn't really how Marxists of previous generations used the term "false consciousness"—they used it specifically in terms of /class/ consciousness. False consciousness is not just making a mistake about the likely results of your actions, but rather aligning yourself with the interests of some class other than your own on the premise that doing so will serve your interests.


One of Wright's examples—that of parents refusing to vaccinate for fear of autism—makes it clear that he's not talking strictly about class alignment. That he attempts to rehabilitate the term at all is curious to me. To what end? We don't really need jargon like "false consciousness" to describe errors of reasoning in general. But I guess redefining it allows him to salvage previous analysis that relied on the concept.

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