Aron, Marx, and Marxism: An Interpretation

Daniel J. Mahoney, "Aron, Marx, and Marxism: An Interpretation," European Journal of Political Theory, 2, no. 4 (2003): 415-427.


Central to his own fruitful study of modern society and politics, of the stakes and twists-and-turns of the dramatic twentieth century, was Raymond Aron’s fifty year engagement with `Marx and Marxism’. In a series of lecture courses (and elsewhere) Aron provided a comprehensive, balanced, and judicious exposition and appreciation of Marx’s intellectual itinerary. On one hand, Marx helpfully highlighted various tensions in liberal-bourgeois society. On the other hand, however, his apolitical, materialistic explanations of them and, especially, his prediction of capitalism’s explosive self-overcoming proved grossly inadequate. In addition to being a special sort of social scientist, Marx was a Promethean humanist who rejected all natural and social limits and who claimed to scientifically predict the coming of the true and real City of Man. Aron’s own `balanced social analysis’ and his humane, sober, reformist thought stand in stark contrast.

Sage Publications