[lbo-talk] Harry K. Wells, George Novack, and Sidney Hook

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Sun May 28 19:39:56 PDT 2017

I've recently been reading through Harry K. Wells's book, Pragmatism: Philosophy of Imperialism, which, as the title implies, Wells regarded American pragmatist philosophy as an ideology of imperialism. George Novack, some years, later would write his book on pragmatism, Pragmatism Versus Marxism: An Appraisal of John Dewey's Philosophy. Both books IMO suffer from the fact that the two authors were unwilling or unable to confront the extent to which leading Marxist thinkers have been influenced by American pragmatism. Novack, at least, did discuss the young Sidney Hook's attempt to synthesize Marxism with pragmatism. Wells did not do even that, although he did give a very competent survey of the history of American pragmatism, from the founding of the Metaphysical Club up through John Dewey. However, neither Wells nor Novack, discussed the influence of American pragmatism, both directly and indirectly on Marxist thinkers like Gramsci and Mariategui, nor did they discuss thinkers like Lukacs and Korsch, whose philosophies, as SIdney Hook realized, bore striking affinities with American pragmatist thought. So, at the end of the day, it would seem that Sidney Hook, remains the greatest Marxist philosopher to come from the US, which is a rather disquieting conclusion, given his later politics.

Jim Farmelant http://independent.academia.edu/JimFarmelant http://www.foxymath.com Learn or Review Basic Math

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