“I specialize in Modern European Thought, especially in Germany and Austria. I do offer the range of Modern European History in political and economic institutions as well as in my stress on the history of ideas. My research into the historical-logical forms of narrative in historical writing addresses historiographical history and the present.”
German and Austrian Cultural History in the Modern Age (1648-Present)
Modern Historiographical Theory
The Historical Logic of Individuals, Nations, and Generations
Marxist theory in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries
Franz Kafka, Theodore Herzl, and other Viennese Writers and Thinkers of the Fin-de-Siecle
I have specialized in German and Austrian-German cultural history in the modern era--the Enlightenment through the present--since the publication of The Austro-Marxists, 1890-1918, A Psychobiographical Study (University Press of Kentucky, 1985). That text was an interdisciplinary prosopography of the four Austro-Marxists, Karl Renner, Otto Bauer, Max Adler, and Friedrich Adler. I brought several depth psychological perspectives, including Freudian and Jungian thought, to the lives and careers of thought of these men. I set them in their political-social milieus, a contextual focus that I have refined as a historiographical perspective since this work. Every historian needs to consider psychological motivation in an informed manner, but never forgetting the political-social norms that instill a cognitive and behavioral standard of normality for a time.
My interdisciplinary tools have broadened since this book. I now treat the narrative norms of the cultural genres that constitute standards of normality in the several generations of German, Austrian, and Western history in the modern era. One is always influenced as a historian by the intellectual work of the persons studied, and I was greatly influenced by philosophical historians such as Wilhelm Dilthey and Theodor Litt. Dilthey introduced me to the hermeneutical methods that examine the language, painting, and other cultural artefacts of persons and their times. I now work carefully with the language and logic of cultural-historical expression as I set persons in their times, and seek what is their individual character. I have incorporated the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl and other twentieth century phenomenologists as guides to my inquiry into the formal as well as informal narrative style of persons and the narrative norms of how a cultural period organizes descriptions and explanations of their inquiry.
My latest text on the differences between German and Austrian-German historical thinking German and Austrian-German Historical Thought in the Modern Era (2019), incorporating these augmentations of historical method, presents historians, dramatists, and novelists from the 1660s to the present who have shaped how these contradistinctive cultures have formulated historical events and their meaning. One is shown how Germanic historicism and historism began and developed, and, how the Austrian-German focus upon a continuity of intersubjective events generated the norms and values of Austrian thought.
My work on historical thought and phenomenology led to a book on historical logic Continuity, Quantum, Continuum, and Dialectic: The Foundational Logics of Western Historical Thinking (Peter Lang, 2006). Leading authorities in historiography and phenomenological philosophy have spoken well of the book.
Hayden White, Professor Emeritus, History of Consciousness, University of California, wrote of it: "In this deep and densely argued text, Mark E. Blum has attempted to move the discussion about the epistemic significance of history, historical consciousness, and historical representation off the dead center to which it has recently come to rest and to place the principal topics of this discussion within the great tradition of language philosophy which, descending from Kant through Husserl, Nietzsche and Heidegger to Jakobson, Chomsky, and Wittgenstein, seeks to re-establish its relevance to the great existential questions of judgment, temporality, and death. This is philosophical reflection in the grand tradition, with original arguments regarding the relationships among the sentence, temporality, and historicality."
Robert Sokolowski, Elizabeth Breckenridge Caldwell Professor of Philosophy, School of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. wrote: "In this book Mark E. Blum shows the connection between the formal structure of time and the formal structures of syntax and grammar. This book discusses many authors, both classical and contemporary, with special attention given to Kant, Dilthey, and Husserl. It covers diverse fields of knowledge: philosophy and science as well as painting, music, literature, and politics. In each instance Blum describes how formal construction makes things understandable. He also shows how individual writers develop their own formal patterns of thinking. His work is intricate, original, and impressive in its depth and range."
- Since that book that I have recently published a text on the figurative historical logic of individuals, that is, how non-verbalization of a state-of-affairs in painting, sculpture, or other forms of figurative design, corresponds to the verbal structuring of events as articulated by an individual. There are twelve historical logics—derivative of what Kant recognized as the polar diversity of quantum and aggregative logic. I explore the verbal in the volume published in 2006.. This work captures the West’s centuries long efforts to comprehend why and how figurative grammar enables one to depict the logic of events. The book Cognition and Temporality: The Genesis of Historical Thought in Perception and Reasoning (New York: Peter Lang, 2019) has been reviewed by Gabriel Motzkin was the Director of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute 2007-2016. He is an emeritus of the Hebrew University. He held the Ahad Ha’am Chair in Philosophy, and was also a member of the Departments of History and German Literature. Motzkin writes:
“Blum addresses a rarely-asked yet central question underpinning modern thought: what are the preconditions for our predominant paradigm for subjectivity, a paradigm that is determinative in both the natural sciences and the human sciences? Blum addresses the issue of how creatures who are genetically almost identical can have individual experiences, from which they then can distill a common and binding discourse. Instead of a psychological approach to subjectivity, Blum analyzes grammar and style to show how the objective emerges from the unstated but ever-present subjective. His treatment of art is exceptionally illuminating, making concrete the Kantian idea of a pre-objective universal subjectivity. This work will become necessary reading for anyone thinking about the places of the subject and the self in modernity, showing how modernity is rooted in universal context-free assumptions about the world that go back to our origin as a species.”
The national differences of historical logic are sociologically caused, not of the inherent manner of constructing events of the individual. Nonetheless, the national historical logic partakes of these twelve forms of historical logic that are inherent, being formulated by one or more historians and other intellectuals over time to comprehend the nation’s origins and development. Works that I have written on this theme include a 2019 book soon to appear in Lexington Press titled German and Austrian-German Historical Thought in the Modern Era.
The generational differences across nations in theWest are derived from a Kuhnian-type study of disciplinary changes in problem-solving over generations. The idea of a metaparadigm that affects the spirit of a culture through similar addresses of evidence and explanation of a time is explored in the West over Early Modernism to the Present. I have written chapters on this understanding in Political Economy, Linguistics, and Culture, ed. Jürgen Backhaus (New York: Springer Verlag, 2007), 101-212.
My Marxist interests began with my Doctoral Dissertation on the Austrian Marxists 1890 through the 1930s. My first book within cultural history was based on that dissertation-- The Austro‑Marxists, 1890‑1918: A Psychobiographical Study ( Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1985) Austrian-Marxist theory reflects the historical logic of the Austrian nation. It is cognizant of intersubjective differences among societies and individuals. This has led to my own study of group dynamics. My current work in Marxist thought is based upon his own demand for intersubjective conversation as the basis of the emergence of a class-less society. I list my many translations and commentaries on the Austro-Marxists below.
Finally, my work on Franz Kafka includes a major book-- Kafka’s Social Discourse: An Aesthetic Search for Community (Lehigh: Lehigh University Press, 2011)--and several articles. I have also written on Herzl in several articles. The Jewish Austrian experience reflects a striving for universal humanism that is grounded on dialogical understanding of others and oneself. It is also central in its messages to contemporary group dynamics.
Books & Monographs
Blum, Mark E. German and Austrian-German Historical Thought in the Modern Era (New York: Lexington Books, 2019).
Blum, Mark E. Cognition and Temporality: The Genesis of Historical Thought in Perception and Reasoning (New York: Peter Lang, 2019).
Blum, Mark E. (Editor and Translator). Max Adler, The Marxist Conception of the State, A Contribution to the Differentiation of the Sociological and Juristic Method. (Leiden: Brill, 2019).
Blum, Mark E., and William Smaldone (eds.), Austro-Marxism: The Ideology of Unity, Volume Two: Changing the World: The Politics of Austro-Marxism (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Publications, 2017).
Blum, Mark E., and William Smaldone (eds.), Austro-Marxism: The Ideology of Unity, Volume One: Austro-Marxist Theory and Strategy (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Publications, 2015).
Blum, Mark E., Kafka’s Social Discourse: An Aesthetic Search for Community (Lehigh: Lehigh University Press, 2011).
Blum, Mark E., Continuity, Quantum, Continuum, and Dialectic: The Foundational Logics of Western Historical Thinking (New York: Peter Lang, 2006).
Blum, Mark E., "Breaks or Continuity in Sombart's Work: A Linguistic Analysis," in Werner Sombart (1863-1941) Social Scientist, ed. Jürgen G. Backhaus, 3 vols. (Marburg: Metropolis Verlag, 1996), 3: 1-109. [Monograph]
Blum, Mark E., The Austro‑Marxists, 1890‑1918: A Psychobiographical Study, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1985.
Blum, Mark E., and Spangehl, Stephen D., Developing Educational Programs for the High Risk Secondary School and College Student, New York: Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, ERIC/CUE Urban Diversity Series, Number 80, July, 1982.
Blum, Mark E., and Spangehl, Stephen D., Introduction to the Social Sciences: Teacher's Manual and Text. Resources in Education. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare. National Institute of Education, August, 1981 (ED 200474).
Blum, Mark E., Ethical‑Citizenship Education Policies and Programs: A National Survey of State Education Agencies. Philadelphia: Research for Better Schools, Inc., 1977.
Blum, Mark E., Achievement Competence Training: Teacher Training Workshop. Philadelphia: Research for Better Schools, Inc., 1975.
Blum, Mark E., Ruptures in the Everyday: Views of Modern Germany from the Ground . Vol. 15 Spektrum: Publications of the German Studies Association (New York: Berghahn, 2017), Introduction, Chapter Two, and Conclusion.
Blum, Mark E., The Role of Cognitive Orientation in the Foreign Policies and Interpersonal Understandings of Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937-1941 in Psychology and History, Interdisciplinary Explorations, eds. Cristian Tileaga and Jovan Byford (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Blum, Mark E., The Historical Logic of Non-Verbal Expression in Everyday Life and the Arts: The Perceptual Foundation of the Precept in Analecta Husserliana, Volume CVI: Art Inspiring Transmutations of Life, ed. Patricia Trutty-Coohill (New York: Springer Verlag, 2010): 39-70.
Blum, Mark E., Introduction to Blum’s Essays in Political Economy, Linguistics, and Culture, ed. Jürgen Backhaus (New York: Springer Verlag, 2007), 55-58.
Blum, Mark E., Contrasting Historical-Logical Narrative Conventions in Germany and Austrian and Their Influence upon Inquiry and Explanation in the Arts and the Sciences: An Example from the Economic Inquiries of Gustav Schmoller, Max Weber, Carl Menger, and Ludwig von Mises in Political Economy, Linguistics, and Culture, ed. Jürgen Backhaus (New York: Springer Verlag, 2007), 59-100.
Blum, Mark E., The European Metahistorical Narrative and Its Changing “Metaparadigms” in the Modern Age (Part I) in Political Economy, Linguistics, and Culture, ed. Jürgen Backhaus (New York: Springer Verlag, 2007), 101-162.
Blum, Mark E., The European Metahistorical Narrative and Its Changing “Metaparadigms” in the Modern Age (Part II): Western Painting 1815-1914 in Political Economy, Linguistics, and Culture, ed. Jürgen Backhaus (New York: Springer Verlag, 2007), 163-212.
Blum, Mark E., Phenomenological History and Phenomenological Historiography in Analecta Husserliana, Volume LXXXX: Logos of History-Logos of Life. Historicity, Time, Nature, Communication, Consciousness, Alterity, Culture, ed. Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka (New York: Springer V