The End of Philosophy in Marx: Henri Lefebvre, Louis Althusser and Jacques Derrida

Mozzachiodi, Roberto. 2021. The End of Philosophy in Marx: Henri Lefebvre, Louis Althusser and Jacques Derrida. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The arc traced by Marx’s intellectual trajectory out of, or beyond, philosophy has been a major stumbling block for many if not all thinkers and activists working within a Marxist framework. Deprived of the Dialectics that Marx had intended on writing, Marxists in his wake have constructed particular configurations of the relationship between theory and practice or conceptual thought and political action to varying ends from his writing. Significant in this respect is the heritage of reception surrounding the well-known passage from the eleventh of Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach in the German Ideology: “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” The boundaries designating certain kinds of activity as properly political (i.e. transformative) and certain types of intellectual activity as properly non-ideological can be rooted in an indeterminacy prevailing in Marx’s injunction to put an end to philosophy.

From this perspective, three variously politicized philosophers – Henri Lefebvre, Louis Althusser and Jacques Derrida – attempted to reconfigure these boundaries in distinct but overlapping historical and institutional contexts; principally in terms of their distinct proximities to the French Communist Party and their work within the French academic system. During the second half of the twentieth century, at particular moments of crisis for the Marxist political and theoretical project in the French context, these three figures engaged in vastly different and sometimes complementary political and theoretical projects consisting in an attempt to reconfigure the philosophy/politics dyad in Marx. They did so with wavering fidelity to the idea of the primacy of practice over theory. This dissertation historically situates these different intellectual and political projects and foregrounds the specific institutional contexts and philosophical resources that shaped their different expressions and engagements with the end of philosophy motif in Marx.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Lefebvre, Althusser, Derrida, Marx, Philosophy, French Communist Party, Ecole Normale Superieure, French Marxism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


28 February 2021

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

12 Jul 2021 14:40

Last Modified:

28 Feb 2024 02:26


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