Dialectic without Mediation on Sartre’s Variety of Marxism and Dialectic

  • Yirmiahu Yovel
Part of the The Van Leer Jerusalem Foundation Series book series (JVLF, volume 2)


In a famous passage at the opening of his Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre declares that Marxism is the authentic philosophy of our time, reducing his own existentialism to the status of an “ideology.”1 This statement, however, is misleading.2 Sartre does not mean that existentialism is simply to play the role of rationalizing Marxism, or that it represents, in the form of ideas, the basic social ills most properly analyzed by Marxism. As a matter of fact, he assigns existentialism a vital role in correcting and even in grounding the Marxian theory itself. Especially, it should supply Marxism with a fundamental anthropology; it should modify the historical determinism of the Marxists; it should provide it with a proper philosophy of action; and, above all, it should do justice to the category of the particular — both the particularity of human existence, and particular historical facts — within the framework of Marxist interpretation of history. Sartre sees, in fact, a certain analogy between the role which existentialism plays with respect to Marxism, and the corrective ingredient which Kierkegaard had introduced with respect to the former Hegelian Zeitgeist. Yet whereas Kierkegaard’s view of the individual was conceived as exclusive of the Hegelian dialectic, existentialism is to be incorporated within the Marxian outlook, and become a moment in a new, richer synthesis.


Marxian Theory Historical Universal Dialectical Reason Hegelian Dialectic Existentialist Principle 
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, The Netherlands 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yirmiahu Yovel
    • 1
  1. 1.The Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael

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