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The Undiscovered Philosophy

It seemed that after almost a decade after the events mentioned, which revealed the inconsistency of political illusions and the social utopianism of the left-wing radical movement, the “new philosophers” would have to critically evaluate their past activities.

But the opposite happened. Judging by their numerous confessions in the press, all of them have a general feeling of “deceit”, a desire to warn the left movement against the “pernicious belief in revolution and hobbies with Marxism”, blaming the latter for the defeat of the movement and the bankruptcy of ideas about the possibility of overthrowing bourgeois power by anarchist riot. In 1968, the collapse of the “system” or the establishment did not happen (as expected by the participants of social protest). Capitalism survived. Consequently, the “new philosophers” believe that the defeat of the May-June speeches is a defeat of the very idea of ​​revolution, proof of the complete hopelessness of any political struggle with the forces of power, the collapse of faith in creating a new society for which it would be worth fighting.

These sentiments were expressively formulated by one of the main theorists of the “new philosophy,” B.-A. Levy: “Before, I believed together with everyone in the joyful and liberating revolution as the only good good. I wanted politics and interfered with it. Now I am a soldier who does not believe in victory. ”1 The disappointment in the revolution, progress, pessimism, taken from the events of May, alternated by a penitential reappraisal of previous views, are combined in the “new philosophers” with ardent attacks on Marxism, on Marxist-Leninist ideology.

From this it is clear why this trend was accompanied from the very beginning of its appearance by such a broadcast advertising in the Western media. The history of the bourgeoisie, literally with open arms, has always accepted and accepts renegades of the leftist movement who have acted in the past under the banner of Marxism by conviction or flirting with it in order to gain credibility. Each new addition to the ranks of anti-communists is valued for its supplying “fresh” arguments against Marxism and socialism. The “new philosophers” aroused interest and support also because they were not bookish, academic “critics” of Marxism, but “critics” with the experience of former “revolutionary practitioners” who should know well the mood of the crowd, slogans .

Attention to the newly emerging “new philosophy” was also stimulated by the intense political struggle that unfolded in the country on the eve of the parliamentary elections in 1978. The monopoly bourgeoisie and right-wing circles, fearing the outcome of the elections were not in their favor, then all ideological reserves were frantically trying to prevent victories of the left forces. The Union of Socialists and Communists, based on the joint promotion of the anti-crisis program, the intention to limit the power of monopolies, expand the socio-economic rights of workers, reduce unemployment, inspired hopes to wide sections of workers and had serious chances for success. The vigorous activity of a group of young intellectuals who pretend to be repentant Marxists and warn against the victory of the left, who are capable of plunging the country into “socialist barbarism”, turned out to be an opportune way for a fierce ideological campaign against progressive forces on the eve of elections 2.

Since the release of the “new philosophy” on the scene of the country’s ideological life, the French Communist Party has subjected the political statements and theoretical concepts of its representatives to sharp criticism, seeing in it “the many-voiced anti-Marxism of the new style and unprecedented scope”, the wave of obscurantism and reaction that has seized the country today. At the 23rd Congress of the PCF, this phenomenon was called “an ideological trend, once again burying Marxism” and pointed out its dangerous goal – “to deceive the masses, and above all the younger generation, from the path of political struggle in the ranks of the communists”. Marxist criticism noted the irrationalistic and pessimistic tendencies of the “new philosophy”, its extreme anti-Sovietism and anti-communism.

The statement of the “new philosophy” had all the hallmarks of a well-organized ideological action, where its self-promotion and advertising of the bourgeois media merged together, being an example of a massive ideological attack on public opinion. Only in 1976, the year when the theoretical trend emerged as a formed one, did the “new philosophers” hold a series of openly promotional events, deliberately designed to attract public attention. These include, first of all, the publication in “Nouvel Litterer” of the “Dossier” of young philosophers, containing an overview of their writings published and being prepared for publication; after that many leading organs of the bourgeois press started talking about them simultaneously. Quite numerous works of “new philosophers” were published, which were previously published, but did not attract much attention until now, for example, such as “Marx is dead” by J.-M. Benoit, “Whose Alienation. Criticism and social metaphysics of the West “M. Clavel,” The Golden Monkey. On the concept of a stage in Marxism ”G. Lardro and others, which already contained the requirement to revise the theory of K. Marx in the light of the lessons of the May-June movement.

They were followed by their speeches in special television and radio programs, the organization of a series of round tables with the participation of authoritative French intellectuals (which, voluntarily or unwittingly, contributed to warming interest in the new direction and gave it a predetermined significance), as well as Sovietologists and “critics” of Marxism. In a fairly short time, a large number of articles, interviews, speeches explaining the main ideas and the theoretical directional program, etc., appeared. According to the ingenious remarks of the famous philosopher J. Deleuze, the media created something like a single large book about the “new philosophy” “So that their works, strictly speaking, could not exist at all”.

With the release of a year later, two books that became a sensation – “Barbarism with a human face” B.-A. Levi, who was the philosophical and ideological manifesto of the movement, and the “Rulers and Thinkers” by A. Gluksman, who formulated and substantiated the main themes and theoretical positions of the “new philosophy,” it firmly fit into modern bourgeois French, and then Western philosophy as a whole. Since the end of the 70s, the concepts of “new philosophers” are set forth in detail on the pages of the Western press – in the USA, countries of Latin America, Italy, Portugal, Spain, West Germany, and others, where translations of their books are unusually large for theoretical works and groups of their followers. The fame of the “new philosophers” was facilitated by repeated trips abroad with speeches, lectures, meetings with readers.

Over time, the wave of sensationalism around this trend gradually subsided, but their work, especially public speaking, still remains in the field of view of the bourgeois “big press”. Today, rare ideological and political discussions in France and even beyond its borders do not involve the participation of “new philosophers”. They became their people on the radio stations “One America of America” and “Free Europe”, where they are very willing to express their point of view on certain processes taking place in the world, especially in the countries of socialism. Attracting “new philosophers”, these subversive propaganda centers expect to impart a “theoretical” weight to their activities in denigrating socialist reality, distorting the truth about the foreign and domestic policies of the socialist countries.

They are also provided with a wider international rostrum, in particular, to Glucksmann, who some time ago made a great lecture voyage to Western European countries as a “famous creator of ideas”. Glucksman’s speeches lasting hours were reduced to rude attacks against the Soviet Union and its peace-loving policy, slander against the anti-war movement in Western countries, hysterical calls to prevent the “new Munich”, by which he meant any possibility of negotiations between the West and the East. Replacing the red shirt of an “ultra-revolutionary” with a NATO uniform, Glucksman appeared as an obedient mouthpiece of NATO propaganda services6. All this gives reason to say that the “new philosophy” meets the political and ideological needs of not only French, but also international reactionary forces.

For French social thought, the “new philosophers” turned out to be an extraordinary phenomenon. On the one hand, the critical attitude of professional philosophers, traditionally regarded as representatives of academic science, their active work to spread, or rather, to impose their views with the help of bourgeois media, personal activity with the aim of self-promotion according to the “stars” of Western art and other celebrities. Not by chance B.-A. Levy, the chief entrepreneur of the “new philosophers,” one of French magazines ironically called “Elizabeth Taylor’s intelligentsia.” Many researchers of this trend wondered: is this philosophy at all? On the other hand, their inherent claim to a new word in social thought, realized specifically in numerous theoretical works constructing the “new metaphysics” of the social life of the individual in the historical conditions of the late 20th century, gave some critics to see in them almost the only deserving attention today thinkers. So, another bourgeois magazine called the same Levi “one of the brilliant minds of modernity.”

In general, the assessment of the “new philosophy” by French critics of different directions represents a curious range of definitions concluded between two extreme opinions: “the greatest philosophers of our time” (“Mond”) and “the philosophical booth” (critics F. Obral and C. Delcourt). There are also such definitions as “new gurus” between these appraisal poles for their penchant for prophetism, hristohoshisty for balancing on the verge of philosophy and faith, and metaphysics for theoretical speculation. They themselves agree with the name of the “lost generation”, reflecting the pessimistic reflection of their political past, etc.

As for academic and university circles, they reacted very coolly to the new direction, practically denying him the right to be a philosophy or at least an original philosophy. This position is largely due to the fact that the “new philosophy” was not born within the framework of one of the established schools; it does not have the distinctive features of a systematically constructed theory. This gives grounds to consider it as a product of the self-advertisement of a group of high-potential intellectuals, as a philosophy “from the position of strength”, “literary and philosophical marketing”, and not as a new school of philosophy.

“ New philosophers, ”noted R. Aaron,“ do not represent the original manner of philosophizing. They cannot be compared either with phenomenologists, or with existentialists, or with analysts. They write their essays outside university standards. Their success was promoted by the mass media and the absence of a universally recognized, fair and critical instance in Paris today. Sensationalism is primarily due to the radical condemnation of the Soviets and Marxism “.

The basis for such judgments was given above all by the very style of the philosophizing of the “new” theorists. It would seem that in France, a country where “a whole series of philosophical ideas that have received a wide public response were expressed not by professional philosophers, but by writers, poets, historians, linguists, sociologists and psychologists” it is difficult to surprise anyone with an original form of reasoning. However, the “new philosophers” were also an exception here. Many of them are characterized by deliberately demonstrative disregard for evidence, systems, but the logical method of research, in which they see a sign of dogmatism and scholasticism. This often turns into verbal juggling, an elaborate, and sometimes simply a vague style of presentation, the introduction of arbitrary and not scientifically unjustified neologisms, moralizing, ambiguous play with concepts. At the same time, they attack the Marxist tradition, which requires to proceed from the study of social phenomena from a strictly scientific, concrete historical analysis, the ability to see their essence through the prism of such fundamental components of social life as the mode of production, basis and superstructure, socio-economic structure, productive forces and relations of production, classes, etc.

In an effort to “settle with dialectics, materialism, science, and at the same time with Marx,” noted the famous “Lefts” theorist R. Debre, who is generally critical of the philosophical views of the “new philosophers”, the younger generation of theorists are not very scrupulous as regards concepts, categories, judgments, logic: “It plays the classics from capital letters of all themes (Power, Knowledge, Thought, Desire, Dominion, etc.) …“ New philosophers ”know everything in advance, because E. Without reasoning, without knowing the reasons. About science, without introducing anything of its own or studying any of them; about the socialist countries, not having been there even once, even on holidays …; about political activity, not practicing any political action (not to mention responsibility); about “princes”, not communicating with them as often as Machiavelli; about the states, not knowing their mechanism; about the war, never firing a gun and surviving a single bombing …

Critics without experience, they argue loudly about what they themselves have not experienced. ”10. In the manner of“ new philosophers ”, to reason on theoretical topics not in the professional language of science itself, their philosophy is even called“ pop philosophy. ” However, this also reflected the deeper processes that took place in bourgeois social science, namely, the “new philosophy” was a clear confirmation of a certain tendency that was ever deepening in the modern West to blur the specific features of philosophy as a science, the framework of philosophical professionalism, to “philosophizing” in a non-traditional manner, the substitution of analysis by wordplay and symbolism, convergence with the imaginative, artistic style of thinking. This tendency, as N. S. Avtonomova notes, is one of the most indicative symptoms of the crisis state of bourgeois philosophy, increasingly refusing to be a strict science, as well as a symptom of a general cultural plan, suggesting that “bourgeois civilization has not developed the means for global objective self-description: expanding the field of rational, scientific-theoretical coverage of reality in some areas, it is forced to weaken the accuracy of description in other areas, instead of conceptual rigor to use with ggestivnymi hints. ”

To understand what kind of evolution petty-bourgeois radical consciousness has done, what topics it raises today, a lot of discussion about the “new philosophy” between “left” theorists and socialists, organized by the Nouvel Observatory weekly, showed an ambiguous attitude to it and from the “left”.Some hailed “new philosophers” as “candidates of the 20th century who rebelled against irrational reality”, “bright thought stimulants on the issue of the mechanism of human domination over man”. Others, for example K. Kastoriadis, saw their main merit in that “left »Thought for the first time (the Western press stubbornly continues to call” new philosophers “left-handed without quotes, although their leftist past makes itself felt only in the use of petty-bourgeois radical phraseology, which has long concealed the right, anti-Marxist, anti-communist The essence of their views) made the following subjects the object of its analysis: theoretically, it focused not on the analysis of economic contradictions, but on the system of power; in terms of practical-political – not on political organized struggle,and on the autonomous protest of the individual against the alienating system; ideologically, it contributed to the destruction of the mystifying idea that the system of power is justified in itself, since it is “scientific” and “rational”, and also the exposure of science, ideology and knowledge, which became its obedient tool and. Some participants in the discussions shrewdly objected to the pretentious applications of “new philosophers” to create “new metaphysics”, pointing to the weakness of the proper philosophical argumentation, declarative conclusions, and instructing intonation. At the same time, almost all of them positively evaluated the “role” of “new philosophers” “in studying the experience of the 68th year with left thought,” which, in the opinion of the same R. Debre, has not yet been thoroughly analyzed in the West and has not been the subject of serious analysis. nor the subject of memories of the past.

Another “merit” of the “new philosophers”, in the opinion of, in particular, the sociologist E. Moran, who is close to the left-wing socialists, is the “fruitful idea” of revising Marxism, taking into account the experience of the May-June movement, and the decisive raising of the question of called “left thought”, which is supposedly based on Marxism, which is obsolete in today’s conditions. E. Moran also welcomed their “bold appeal to the following questions: should the concepts of exploitation and domination relate only to capitalism and is it the only evil today? Marxism, in which the intelligentsia firmly believed as the “enduring philosophy of our time” (meaning the well-known statement of J.-P. Sartre, L. //.), Doesn’t it distort reality rather than prevent it from considering socialist reality such,what is it? Is it not necessary today to consider Marx as a thinker of a genius, but contradictory, necessary, but unsatisfactory? Is it not necessary to revise the very concept of “socialism”?

As you can see, in this discussion a rather ambivalent attitude towards the “new philosophers”, whose ideas did not really fit into the framework of the usual academic traditions. However, their subsequent theoretical activity showed that the direction they had created was by no means a passing, opportunistic episode in the ideological and political life of France, which many critics rushed to announce at first, and not just a product of bourgeois media or another outbreak of anti-Marxism. Now many of them are already warning against such a simplified view. With the advent of all the new works of these philosophers, it is becoming ever clearer that their concepts have become popular in the West also because they summarize and denote your ideas. and the anxieties of today’s petty-bourgeois consciousness,“A certain feeling is originally expressed, a kind of reaction to the evil of our time,” as the same R. Aaron noted. And this cannot fail to attract attention to them.

“New philosophy”, as already mentioned, unites philosophers who are quite diverse in their theoretical interests. One part of them is noticeably anthropological issues (Benoit, Dolle, Jambé, Lardro), the other is historical and sociological: the problems of power, the state, society (Glucksman, Levi), the third – to leftist spiritualism (Clavell). In addition, they often argue among themselves on a number of issues. At the same time, a comparison of the views of the “new philosophers”, the clarification of the commonality of the initial principles and problems help to discover the inner connection and the conceptual and ideological orientation of the ideas put forward by them. In general, the “new philosophy” is a combination of a number of concepts about a person, about society, about history.

Considering the “new philosophy” as a single trend gives rise, first of all, to the focus of attention of all its representatives on the problem of power, its essence and mechanisms of action. The object of their criticism is any modern state, acting in their interpretation as a tool of totalitarianism. Further, they are united by a sharply negative attitude to the rational method of thinking as the alleged root cause of totalitarianism and oppression. They are characterized by a mentality that is anti-rationalism, which inevitably leads to irrationalistic speculations. Criticizing the mind, they voluntarily or unwittingly included in the “crusade” against rationalism, which is carried out on an unprecedented scale in the last decade in France. Externally related to the revision of the heritage estimates of Descartes and the French Enlightenment,it is directed against progress and reason, advocated in our time most consistently and creatively by Marxism-Leninism, and under the Enlightenment “new philosophers”, following “Frankfurt”, in particular T. Adorno, imply not so much a historically specific stage in the development of human thought , a bright period of intensive take-off of science and culture, as the hypertrophy of the role of human cognition and historical optimism supposedly originating from it. The Enlightenment, or rather its “spirit”, is identified by them with Li .’- wj, … unia on humana bright period of intensive take-off of science and culture, as much as the hypertrophy of the role of human knowledge and historical optimism allegedly originating from it. The Enlightenment, or rather its “spirit”, is identified by them with Li .’- wj, … unia on humana bright period of intensive take-off of science and culture, as much as the hypertrophy of the role of human knowledge and historical optimism allegedly originating from it. The Enlightenment, or rather its “spirit”, is identified by them with Li .’- wj, … unia on human rational mind in general, which then found a detailed justification in the Hegelian principle of the identity of being and thinking, and later in M. Weber’s concept of expedient rationality as the defining feature of Western European culture.

Another common theme for the “new philosophers” is “a person in the system of power”, his being in the conditions of organizing the social life of modern bourgeois society, and the individual is regarded as an abstract person, without any connections with social classes, class struggle and its objective goals. . Answers to the listed problems in which the “new philosophers” are engaged (this is the most important thing that unites them) are directed not so much at a positive decision as directly against their Marxist understanding, at the complete rejection of Marxism and its theoretical and practical means of knowing and transforming the world person The platform of practical and theoretical associations of “new philosophers” is the desire to prove the failure of scientific communism and Marxist-Leninist philosophy.At first glance, the problems raised by the “new philosophers” reveal the commonality of their ideological attitudes with the attitudes of the “new rightists”. However, this is only at first glance. The “New Rights”, which appeared in France at the end of the 1960s, most actively developed their activities a decade later in the context of a general correction of the political situation in the country, more precisely, since 1979, when the well-known print magnate, a far-right activist Ersan provided for his wide circulation of the ideas of the “new right” his large-circulation publications. They attacked democracy and the principle of social equality, called for a “European revival” based on reactionary racist and nationalist myths about “blood and soil” as opposed to “Judeo-Christian heritage”, glorified the cult of power and superman. Their ideas revived ideological myths,which once covered their hatred of social progress and humanism, the most extremist chauvinistic, nationalist forces of imperialism — the fascists.
Speaking from openly elitist positions, “new rightists” to prove their eugenic and racist ideas operated on falsified data of biological science. Their concepts are directed not only against Marxism, but against liberal and democratic tendencies whose supporters shared the ideas of social equality in their bourgeois sense.directed not only against Marxism, but against liberal and democratic tendencies, whose supporters shared the ideas of social equality in their bourgeois sense.directed not only against Marxism, but against liberal and democratic tendencies, whose supporters shared the ideas of social equality in their bourgeois sense. It would seem that there can be a common thing between the “new right” and the “new philosophers”, the loud critics of totalitarianism and the prosecutors of the modern state in suppressing individual freedom? Is that unprincipled methods of pushing through their ideas, borrowed by the “right” from the “neophilosophists.” In fact, there is a natural spiritual relationship between the two. He was characterized by the French Marxist critic I. Kinju. Devaluation in the writings of “new philosophers” of science and reason, the rejection of Marxism, consideration of the individual outside his social status and class struggle, the absolutization of morality and “cultural resistance”, the very problematics and the nature of their speeches prepared the ideological ground for the emergence of the “new right”, she noted .
“Having such a theoretical base marked“ left ”,it is quite possible to move to the far-right ideological position. ” The throwing between goshism and the ideology of the right, which transforms the “new philosophy” into an ideological pendulum, she notes, should not surprise anyone. “Although the cause is not identical, but a certain convergence of views was anti-communism. Conducted consistently, he with logical regularity confronts the most extreme views in his field. It should be remembered that it is impossible to retreat with impunity from the positions of scientific rationality and that the irrational in its mild form (among “new philosophers”) can fuel the crude form of the irrational that the “new right” represent. ”18but a certain convergence of views was anti-communism. Conducted consistently, he with logical regularity confronts the most extreme views in his field. It should be remembered that it is impossible to retreat with impunity from the positions of scientific rationality and that the irrational in its mild form (among “new philosophers”) can fuel the crude form of the irrational that the “new right” represent but a certain convergence of views was anti-communism.

It is curious in this regard, the recognition of the leading theorist of the “new right” A. de Benoit, complaining that the “left” intercepted many of the ideas traditionally associated with the right ideology. “For some time, the left,” he writes, referring to the “new philosophers”, “and not the right criticize the myth of absolute progress associated with the absurd idea of ​​the meaning of history … It is the left that emphasizes the boundaries of reducing rationalism and pseudo-humanism, stating that the spirit the masses are more unstable than revolutionary, and so on. The Right is gradually discovering that they are losing their themes and theoretical attitudes. ” . Just like the“ new philosophers, ”the“ new right ”are attacking reason and rationalism, propagating the absolute pessimism of history, based on trice ideas of social progress.