The Specter of Democracy: What Marx and Marxists Haven't Understood and Why

The Specter of Democracy: What Marx and Marxists Haven't Understood and Why

by Dick Howard
Pub. Date:
Columbia University Press


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The Specter of Democracy: What Marx and Marxists Haven't Understood and Why

In this rethinking of Marxism and its blind spots, Howard uses a critical rereading of Marx as a theorist of democracy to offer a new way to think about this political ideal. He argues that it is democracy, rather than Marxism, that is radical and revolutionary, and that Marx could have seen this but did not.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231124850
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 04/11/2006
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Dick Howard is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Among his books are The Marxian Legacy (2nd edition), The Birth of American Political Thought, From Marx to Kant (2nd edition), and Political Judgments. He has also published several books in French, most recently La démocratie à l'épreuve.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Should We, and How Should We, Reclaim Marx?;

Part 1. Marxism and the Intellectuals;
1. Marxism in the Postcommunist World;
2. Can French Intellectuals Escape Marxism?;
3. The Frankfurt School and the Transformation of Critical Theory into Cultural Theory;
4. Habermas's Reorientation of Critical Theory Toward Democratic Theory;
5. The Anticommunist Marxism of "Socialisme ou Barbarie";
6. Claude Lefort's Passage from Revolutionary Theory to Political Theory;
7. From Marx to Castoriadis, and from Castoriadis to Us;
8. From the Critique of Totalitarianism to the Politics of Democracy;
Part 2. Republican Democracy or Democratic Republics;
9. The Burden of French History;
10. Intersecting Trajectories of Republicanism in France and the United States;
11. Reading U.S. History as Political;
12. Fundamentalism and the American Exception;
Part 3. Back to Marx?;
13. Philosophy by Other Means?;

What People are Saying About This

John Patrick Diggins

Two minds were wrong about democracy: that of the American framers, who saw it as a threat to property; that of Karl Marx, who saw no such threat without socialism. Howard's thoughtful and provocative book brings philosophy to bear on a new theory of democratic politics for Marxists and others who assumed they could get along without it.

Paul Berman

Dick Howard has for a long time played a crucial role as an intermediary between the intellectual worlds of France and the United States. He has introduced some of the most important modern French thinkers to American readers. And he has developed his own political and philosophical ideas on the basis of a knowledge of both cultures—an unusual trait. In the United States we have good reason to be grateful to him, and good reason to pay close attention to his highly original and astute political essays.

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