Individualism in Marx

Chris Matthew Sciabarra cms10 at
Mon Aug 30 13:08:39 MDT 1999

Sam Pawlett asks me my opinion of Marx's individualism.  I think it is a
mixed case.  In my view, there is a sizable aspect of Marx that is grounded
in the ontological primacy of real existing individuals.  And, of course,
his earlier works speak glowingly about a kind of individualism in
communism that can almost be understood in Aristotelian terms as personal
flourishing or eudaimonia.

There are also more collectivistic strands in Marx that ethical
individualists might find difficult to accept.  Overall, I think there is
an interesting parallel here:  the libertarians don't give enough credit to
the individualism in Marx, and the Marxists don't give enough credit to the
organic dialecticism in the works of certain libertarians.


Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Visiting Scholar
NYU Department of Politics
715 Broadway
New York, New York  10003-6806
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