Volume 40, 1998
Philosophy of Values
Ferenc L. Lendvai
On the Possibility of Transcendental Materialism
The purpose of this address is to argue for the following theses: (1) the concept of transcendentality can be associated not only with idealism but also with materialism; (2) such a connection was made possible by Karl Marx's theory; and (3) in the development of Marxism up to now, theory has been tied to a political movement, which is an error of principle, for what survives of it is a kind of social ethics which should more appropriately be called Marxism. Transcendence and immanence are notions of relationship. Values exist sensually above the senses: e.g., the aesthetic value of a painting is not identical with the material of the canvas and the oils on it, although it cannot exist without them. Persons who do not recognize values that are transcendent compared to the merely natural immanence or, to put it in another way, those for whom nothing is sacred are in fact not truly human.