Review essay on Axelos. An Introduction to Future Ways of Thought: On Marx and Heidegger by Cameron Duncan

axelos-cover-copyReview essay on Kostas Axelos, An Introduction to a Future Way of Thought: On Marx and Heidegger by Cameron Duncan in PhaenEx. Both the essay and the book are available open access. Here’s one key paragraph from the review.

Though not well-known in English language scholarship, Axelos is in many respects the most imaginative reader of Marx and Heidegger. His approach is not to look backwards to reconcile the key differences between the two, but instead to draw on their parallels to describe the dawning planetary epoch characterized by a synthesizing of capitalism and technology. Stuart Elden, the editor and author of the introduction to Future Thought, is the biggest advocate of Axelos in the English-speaking world. His introduction provides an overview of many of Axelos’ core concepts. He also provides a bibliography of all of Axelos’ work available in English. A key figure in the French intellectual world, Axelos wrote nineteen books and numerous articles on Marxism heavily influenced by Heidegger. His thought has had a tremendous impact across European intellectual culture. However, he has been left out of English-speaking scholarship due to the lack of translations. His 1961 doctoral dissertation, Alienation, Praxis, and Techné in the Thought of Karl Marx, was translated by Roland Bruzina in 1976 and, until now, served as the sole full-length example of his work available in English. The present translation of Future Thought anticipates the unique vocabulary of Axelos’ later work. This provides a glimpse into the development of Axelos’ thought as it relies on but, ultimately, breaks away from strict readings of Marx and Heidegger. It gives the broad outlines of the conditions under which the “productive dialogue with Marxism” (Heidegger, “Humanism” 243), that Heidegger hinted at in his “Letter on Humanism”, may be possible. Axelos’ position is clearly that if Heidegger and Marx are in dialogue, their conversation is about the global reach of technology and capitalism.

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