A Study on Heller’s Humanistic Marxism Thought, Doctoral dissertation, Marxist Philosophy, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, China 2021.

  • Humanism is the frequently discussed topic of Western Marxist theorists. As an international thought, the representative school and representative figures of humanistic Marxism exist in European and American area, in particular, the research of Eastern European scholars is more extensive and in-depth. After the World War II, some eastern European countries have appeared the research groups of Marxist theory, which are characterized by the critical theory of humanism. They experienced the socialist model of Stalinism and the process against that pattern. They are the theorists and the active supporters of reform. They stressed the humanistic character of socialism. Academics call them >Eastern Europe’s Neo-Marxism<. Agnes Heller was a Hungarian woman philosopher and a representative of the Budapest School of Eastern Europe’s Neo-Marxism. Heller’s exploration of humanistic Marxist thought began in the late 1950s. At that time, Eastern Europe was in the political and cultural background of >Revival of Marxism< and criticized the cultural crisis in the capitalist society and the socialist society of the Soviet Union. From the micro level of human existence and social structure, she had put forward the way to promote the development of people themselves and the social humanization reform. After World War II, although the Soviet Red Army made some Eastern European countries get rid of the colonial rule, but Stalinist society is a highly authoritarian collective society and humanism has been severely weakened. Driven by the desire to against Stalinism, revive Marxism and guided by her mentor Lukács, Heller joined the humanistic Marxist of Hungarian. Marx’s theory of life practice, alienation, needs and human liberation, Lukács’ reification thought and ontology of daily life, and Fromm’s theory of human nature all had a profound impact on Heller. Her though began to mature from then on. From the analysis of Marxist theory of human nature and alienation, Heller put forward the concept of daily life, emphasized the ontological status of daily life, and explored the way to realize the humanization of daily life from the microscopic perspective, thus forming the theory of daily life. Closer to the theory of daily life is Heller’s theory of needs, which is also a theoretical exploration to guide human beings out of alienation under the trend of humanistic thought. After summarizing Marx’s exposition on need and value, Heller put forward her own radical need thought and the conception of the reconstruction of future social need system, and her criticism of need directly pointed to the capitalist system that meets the need of formalism and the Soviet socialist system that dictates the need. Heller believed that the society should carry out a general revolution, the main body of the general revolution is the individual with radical needs, and the formation of individual radical needs consciousness needs the guidance of radical philosophy. Heller further used the Utopian ideal construction of the rationality of radical philosophy, and conceived a radical democratic society which surpassed the contemporary capitalism and the existing socialism. Both the humanization of daily life and the establishment of a radical democracy to meet the radical needs reflect Heller’s ideal of actively building a truly human homeland and realizing the ultimate concern for human existence. Heller’s humanistic Marxist thought, on one hand, enriched and developed Marxist theory, reflect on people’s daily life from a micro perspective, understand theory and practice from the point of view of human needs, and drew scientific rationality critical spirit from Marx’s thoughts, provides a micro-way for human’s self-liberation. On the other hand, the historical limitations of her thinking are also evident. Such as, Heller’s theory of personality development ignored the value of material production and political and economic change; it laid too much stress on the value category analysis of needs and ignored the practicality and relationship of needs; t negated the contradiction between productive forces and production relations and break away from the essence of social production. Heller’s elaboration and development of Marx’s thought, and the profound explanation of the survival and development dilemma of contemporary human beings, are our important theoretical and ideological resources. [Translation: www.DeepL/Translator, free version, 10/2021]

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Author:Jingjing Li
Document Type:Dissertations
Year of first Publication:2021
Release Date:2022/05/04
Format:no download and copy possible
Writings about Erich Fromm (Secondary Literature):Dissertations / Dissertationen
Erich Fromm's Library and Erich Fromm Archive:Dissertations / Dissertationen
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