Volume 18, Issue 2, 2015
Special Project: Political Theory and Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration, Part 2
Martin, Derrida, and "Ethical Marxism"
Bill Martin believes that orthodox Marxism has omitted ethics in capturing social reality. He remedies this deficit by constructing an “Ethical Marxism” that appeals to Derrida’s “materialization” of Kant’s categorical imperative. He adds that the historical and ethical dimensions involved in this effort would each be an “empty formalism” without the other. Thus his ultimate goal is to save us from formalism by joining “vision” to “viability,” transcendence to immanence. But some aspects of Martin’s Ethical Marxism suggest that he may be further from Derrida than he thinks. I will explore this possibility and draw its implications for the viability of Martin’s Ethical Marxism.