Critical Marxism in Mexico

Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez and Bolívar Echeverría


In Critical Marxism in Mexico, Stefan Gandler, coming from the tradition of the Frankfurt School, reveals the contributions that Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez and Bolívar Echeverría have made to universal thought. While in recent times Latin America has taken its distance from global power centers, and reorganised its political and economic relations, in philosophy the same tendency is barely visible. Critical Marxism in Mexico is a contribution to the reorganisation of international philosophical discussion, with Critical Theory as the point of departure.
Despite having studied in Europe, where philosophical Eurocentrism remains virulent, Gandler opens his eyes to another tradition of modernity and offers an account of the life and philosophy of Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez and Bolívar Echeverría, former senior faculty members at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
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Biographical Note

Stefan Gandler (Munich, 1964) studied Philosophy, Political Sciences and Latin-American Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt, with Alfred Schmidt as Ph.D. adviser. Lives in Mexico City since 1993, teaching Philosophy and Social Theory at: UNAM, UC Santa Cruz and Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro.

Table of contents

Prologue to Peripheral Marxism by Michael Löwy
Preface to the English-Language Edition
Preface to the Original Edition in German
Preface to the Spanish-Language Edition
Introduction: From Eurocentric to peripheral Marxism

1. The Life and Work of Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez
Beginning of the biography
The Spanish Civil War
The first period in Mexico, exile
The ‘new theoretical and practical posture’

2. The Life and Work of Bolívar Echeverría
The period in West Germany and West Berlin
From the divided city to the Mexican capital
Collaboration on the journal Cuadernos Políticos
Back to philosophy

3. The ‘State of Art’
a) On social philosophy in Latin America
b) On Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez and Bolívar Echeverría

4. The Concept of Praxis
a) The term ‘praxis’ in various European languages
b) The terms ‘praxis’ and ‘práctica’ and the problem of their translation
c) General introduction to the concept

5. The Everyday Consciousness of Praxis
a) The critique of the everyday consciousness of praxis, or, why is a theoretical understanding of praxis necessary?
b) Revolutionary praxis and everyday consciousness
Practical politicism and practical apoliticism
c) Artistic praxis and everyday consciousness
d) Concluding the critique of everyday consciousness

6. The Relationship between Philosophy and Praxis in History
a) Antiquity
b) The philosophy of praxis

7. The Theses on Feuerbach
a) The Position of the Theses on Feuerbach within Marx’s work
b) Interpretation of the Theses on Feuerbach
Praxis as the basis for knowledge (Thesis I)
Praxis as a criterion of truth (Thesis II)
Revolutionary praxis as the unity of the transformation in human beings and in circumstances (Thesis III)
From the interpretation of the world to its transformation (Thesis XI) Epilogue to the Theses on Feuerbach

8. Critique of some Marxist Conceptions of Knowledge
a) Critique of certain conceptions of Marxism in general
b) Critique of certain Marxist conceptions of knowledge
Knowledge as the direct result of world-transformative praxis
Knowledge as something achieved exclusively in theory

9. Once Again on the Problem of Knowledge and Praxis
a) Materialism and idealism
b) Political and productive praxis

10. The Philosophy of Praxis: two versions


11. Praxis and Use-Value
a) The theory of use-value and the critique of the abstract concept of praxis
b) Differences vis-à-vis the concept of praxis in Sánchez Vázquez
c) Historical limitations of the Marxian concept of use-value
d) The Aristotelian concept of use-value as interpreted by Marx
e) Marx as the founder of the critical concept of use-value
f) Marx’s concept of the natural form and the theory of ethos
g) Critique of political economy as critique of modernity

12. Concretisation of the Concept of Praxis
a) Reproduction and communication
b) Use value and sign
c) Marx’s theory of tools
d) Concept of concrete universalism

13. Modernity and Capitalism
a) The critique of actually-existing modernity and the critique of actually existing postmodern thought
b) The term ‘actually existing modernity’
c) Actually existing modernities as basis for a non-capitalist modernity

14. The Concept of Historical Ethos
a) On the term ethos
Translation problems
b) Determination of the concept of ‘historical ethos
c) The concept of modernity
d) The terms ‘realist’, ‘romantic’, ‘classic’, and ‘baroque ethos’
e) The concept of the four ethe of capitalist modernity as a contribution to a materialist history of culture
f) The theoretical positioning and explosive force of the concept of ethos
Form of civilisation versus mode of production (for Martin Heidegger)
The finite of the dominant modernity and of all capitalist modernities (for Karl Marx)
Christianity and capitalism (for Max Weber)
Puritanism and realism

15. The Four Ethe of Capitalist Modernity
a) The realist ethos
b) The romantic ethos
c) The classic ethos
d) The baroque ethos
e) The non-existence of historical ethe in pure form
f) Textual variants of the concept of ethos

16. Ethos and Ideology
a) Limitations of the concept of ethos
b) Contribution to the reconstruction of the concept of ideology in the critique of political economy
1859 Preface to the Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
On the text: “The Fetishism of the Commodity and Its Secret”
The fetishism of the commodity
The historical dimension of the fetishism of the commodity, or knowledge as a political-practical process
On the relation between ‘necessity’ and ‘interest’ in the formation or perpetuation of ideologies
Capital as a critique of fetishisms
c) The concept of ethos as a toned down critique of ideology
d) An example of the limitations of the concept of ethos

17. Utopia: A Non-Capitalist Society of Commodity Producers

18. Affirmation or Critique of Praxis?

19. The Conceptual Determination of Culture and Nature

20. The Philosophical Critique of Eurocentrism
a) On the problem of focusing on European authors
b) Critical concept of praxis versus abstract universalism,
namely Eurocentrism

I. Bibliography of Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez
II. Bibliography of Bolívar Echeverría
III. Selected Bibliography on Marxist Philosophy in Latin America
IV. Sources for the Bibliography



All interested in critical, non-dogmatic Marxism and Critical Theory, and anyone concerned with philosophy coming from outside today’s centers of power, especially Latin America, with a non-Eurocentric perspective.