“Reiner Schürmann’s as yet unpublished Marx lecture course—whose originality we are now allowed to explore thanks to Rauch and Schneider’s edition—is in line with a series of remarkable phenomenological readings of Marx from the 1970s (Michel Henry, Gérard Granel). These readings share the opposition to the dominant historico-epistemological fixation of their time and possess a topicality and momentum that we must finally comprehend for the understanding of our own contemporaneity. Instead of Althusser’s Marx who as an anti-philosopher founds a new science, Schürmann rehabilitates a philosophical Marx who inaugurates a new ontology. Its basic equation is that being = praxis. Schürmann develops in extenso a reading of Marx that is only hinted at in From Principles to Anarchy (1982), a reading which doubtlessly figures as a center piece in his critique of modernity.
On this reading, the central axis of Marx’s endeavor reveals itself to be transcendental—a transcendentality, however, with an entirely new sense, brought to light by Marx in a singular fashion. Instead of knowledge, Schürmann argues, in Marx concrete individual praxis is disclosed as the ground of history, social relations and economy. With this, a completely novel understanding of the transcendental ego is articulated: no longer the knowing, but the working subject. Situated within the framework of Heidegger’s destruction of Western metaphysics, Marx’s historically significant operation then appears as the radical termination of a certain type of philosophy of the subject, but at the same time as the last bastion of the transcendental program, which in the interlacing of Marx’s and Heidegger’s text remains to be deconstructed towards a different thinking of finite practices.”
Erich Hörl, Professor for Media Culture and Media Philosophy, Leuphana University Lüneburg