A philosophy of cultural modernity: Márkus's contribution to the philosophy of culture

Robert Sinnerbrink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney for over 20 years (1978–2001), György Márkus exerted a profound influence on a generation of philosophers and students from many disciplinary backgrounds. His legendary lecture courses, spanning the history of modern philosophy from the Enlightenment through to the late 20th century, were memorable for their breadth, erudition, and philosophical drama. Always modest despite his mastery of the tradition, Márkus’s approach to this history of philosophy never failed to emphasize its continuing role in shaping our inherited understanding of philosophy as ‘its own time comprehended in thoughts’ (Hegel). This is especially true of his contribution to the philosophical discourse of modernity, which we could summarize as comprising an original philosophy of cultural modernity. In what follows, I briefly reconstruct Márkus’s account of the adventures of the concept of culture, focusing on his definitive essay ‘The Path of Culture: From the Refined to the High, From the Popular to Mass Culture’ (2013) but also referring to other relevant Márkus texts, offering some critical remarks on his account of culture and its relationship with modern aesthetics, both classical and contemporary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
JournalThesis Eleven
Issue number1
Early online date18 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Budapest School
  • cultural modernity
  • György Márkus
  • philosophy of culture
  • sociological hermeneutics


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