CHAPTER 13
Philosophy by Other Means?

POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY AFTER1989

Paradoxically, after 1989 Marx's political philosophy can be read not only as philosophical but also as political. If Marxism is not (in Sartre's famous phrase) the “unsurpassable horizon of our times,” it remains a rigorous confrontation with modernity and a challenging attempt to understand its novelty. 1 This is because, despite Marx's intention to provide a theory of the revolutionary proletariat that would serve for the praxis of that world historical agent, he was and continued to be a philosopher; despite his critique(s) of idealism, Marx remained under its spell. Indeed, this philosophical intention ultimately vitiates his attempt to surpass philosophy by its own means in the practice of political revolution. For just this reason, a reevaluation of the critical potential of Marx's philosophical theory permits new insight into the way a certain form of economic liberalism has apparently triumphed by denying its own political nature. Its conception of the individual and of individual rights as natural givens rather than as dependent on the prior choice of a political framework is put into question when Marx's mature economic theory is read

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