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Genealogies of Common Sense

Marx and Nietzsche
  • Patrick McGee
Chapter
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Abstract

By the use of the word “genealogy,” I do not mean to imply that I am now going to write a history of the term “common sense.” Rather, I want to reimagine a certain practice of language—a style—that breaks open the self-containment of philosophy, which has been understood, at least since the Greeks, even if in the guise of medieval theology and later early modern science, as the highest and purest form of natural language. Hegel represented the culmination of this linguistic perspective and therefore became the condition, or the occasion, of its breakdown. There are several names associated with this breakdown, and one of the more humorous is Max Stirner, the pseudonym of the man who was the object of Marx and Engels’s diatribe “Saint Max” in The German Ideology. Not too long ago, in his belated reading of Marx, Derrida conjured up the spirit of Stirner in a way that cast him as Marx’s double, someone who had anticipated the Marxian exorcism of ideological specters.1 Stirner wanted to rid humankind of its ghosts—by which he meant their higher being or essence—by centering everything on a material ego that expresses the principle of self-ownership.

Keywords

Common Sense Free Time Ordinary Language Life Process Critical Consciousness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx, trans. Peggy Kamuf (New York: Routledge, 1994), 139–40. For the original French edition consulted here and below, see Spectres de Marx (Paris: Éditions Galilée, 1993).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The German Ideology, in Collected Works, vol. 5 (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1976), 44; henceforth GI. For the German edition consulted here and below, see Die deutsche Ideologie, in Werke, Band 3 (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1959), henceforth DI.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Max Stirner, “Stirner’s Critics,” abridged and trans. Frederick M. Gordon, The Philosophical Forum 8.2–4 (1977), 68–69. For the German edition consulted here and below, see “Rezensenten Stirners” (Sept. 1845), in Parerga, Kritiken, Repliken, ed. Bernd A. Laska (Nürnberg: LSR-Verlag, 1986), 147–205.Google Scholar
  4. 11.
    The Marx-Engels Reader, ed. Robert C. Tucker (New York: Norton, 1978), 4.Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    Max Stirner, The Ego and Its Own, ed. David Leopold (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 18.
    Derrida, Specters, 121; Jean-Michel Rabaté, James Joyce and the Politics of Egoism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 50–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Jacques Lacan, Encore, book 20 of Le séminaire, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller (Paris: Seuil, 1975), 24.Google Scholar
  8. 30.
    Karl Marx, “Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right,” in Early Writings, trans. and ed. T. B. Bottomore (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1963), 52.Google Scholar
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    Nancy S. Love, Marx, Nietzsche, and Modernity (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), 17.Google Scholar
  10. 36.
    Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage Books, 1974), 201–2; Werke in Drei Bänden, ed. Karl Schlecta, Band 2 (München: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1954), 144.Google Scholar
  11. 42.
    Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo, trans. and ed. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage Books, 1969), 78–79.Google Scholar
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    Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage Books, 1966), 13–14.Google Scholar
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    Henry Staten, Nietzsche’s Voice (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), 32.Google Scholar
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    Pierre Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, trans. Richard Nice (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990), 28.Google Scholar
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    Karl Marx, Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy, trans. Martin Nicolaus (New York: Vintage Books, 1973), 634, 704–6 and passim.Google Scholar

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© Patrick McGee 2009

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  • Patrick McGee

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