For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

History and Human Existence From Marx to Merleau-Ponty

by Miller, James (1982)


The present essay provides an introduction to the treatment of human existence and individuality in Marxist thought. The work will be primarily concerned with two related topics: the evaluation by Marxists of individual emancipation and their assessment of subjective factors in social theory. By taking up these taking up these topics within a systematic and historical framework, I hope to generate some fresh light on several familiar issues. First, I pursue a reading of Marx focused on his treatment of subjectivity, individuation, and related methodological and practical matters; second, I apply this interpretation to analyzing the dispute between Marxist orthodoxy and heterodoxy over such matters as class consciousness and the philosophy of materialism; finally, I employ this historical context to clarify the significance of "existential Marxism," Maurice Merleau-Ponty's and Jean-Paul Sartre's contribution to Marxist thought.


Marx, Merleau-Ponty, Marxism, Existential Marxism, Sartre, Class, Class Consciousness, Social Theory, Emancipation, Individualism


On Merleau-Ponty

Links to Reference



How to contribute.