I don't see the mixing of Hegelian and existentialist concepts as
problematic. Existentialism started with Kierkegaard, right? He was writing
a kind of anti-Hegelianism, in which rather than there being a logic that
guarantees the movement of spirit, there are moments in which a leap is
necessary. He wrote of a "leap of faith" but (just as with Hegel) a secular
reading is possible. These are the moments when humans must choose, without
guarantees, without certainty, without transparent rationality.
So existentialism has always had ties to Hegel. The existential-Marxists, it
seems to me, were rediscovering in Marx what Michael just mentioned, a place
for agency on the level of the individual. That has been a valuable
counterpoint to those readings that find in Marx, like Hegel, only an
anonymous movement to the historical process in which no genuine choices are
On 4/21/09 10:28 AM, "Andy Blunden" <email@example.com> wrote:
I'm actually quite fond of Sartre, Martin, and I appreciate
his efforts in "Critique of Dialectical Reason" to make
something like an activity reading of Hegel. It is the
eclectic mixing up of Existentialist concepts with Marxist
or Hegelian concepts that I object to. What does "Being"
mean? It depends doesn't it, whether you are reading Hegel,
Engels or Heidegger. I can't cope with mixing up these
There may be differences between French and German Marxism,
but I think we are here talking about post-WW2 Marxism, yes?
and the particular experiences of Algeria, 1968, Berlin, the
PCF, etc., and Kojeve. And there is no doubt that the legacy
of the French Revolution still figures hugely in France.
But I really think this has little to do with a reading by
Marx or French Marxists of the master-servant narrative at
any time earlier than 1933.
For a start, the Phenomenology had not even been translated
into French until 1939. So a knowledge of the master-servant
narrative was kept to a pretty small group in France. A few
professional philosophers like Koyre and Hyppolite.
When I started up the Hegel-by-HyperText website in 1999, it
intrigued me that I got mail from two quite distinct groups
of people. One of these groups I just could not understand
what they were talking about. After a while I realised that
these were people who had read Kojeve or were reading Hegel
in the wake of Kojeve. This is a completely different
philosopher than the one I learnt as a Marxist, reading
Marxists texts and then moving on from Marx, Lenin and
Lukacs to study Hegel's Logic. This other group only knew
these 2% of Hegel's first book. The other group usually knew
only the Logic and Philosophy of Right, the books that Marx,
Engels, Lenin, Lukacs & Co. commented on.
Why not read my book Martin? Much easier to read than the
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