We are proud to announce the publication of the French translation of Alan Woods’ History of Philosophy: A Marxist Perspective. The English language edition received a phenomenal reception upon its release in 2021, demonstrating the thirst that exists for serious works of Marxist theory. The appearance of this latest translation is an important advance for Marxist ideas in the Francophone world, and we congratulate the French-speaking comrades of the IMT on this achievement.
This book is a unique contribution to Marxist literature. In its eleven chapters, the author Alan Woods traces and explains the history of philosophical thought, from ancient Greece, all the way down to Karl Marx.
Alan Woods goes back to the brilliant thinkers of ancient Greece: the pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and the Epicureans. He takes us through the Dark Age, that period of regression that followed the collapse of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity, when the best of ancient Greek thought was preserved among the Arabs alone. But Alan Woods also brings to our attention those philosophers who continued to stand out as bright spots in this darkness; who prefigured a new resurgence of philosophy in the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. And he explains how, when the capitalist class was still a revolutionary class, it produced giants of philosophy: the school of the English empiricists, the great rationalists, the French materialists.
Finally, he explains how this great struggle of ideas prepared the way for the philosophy of Marxism itself, dialectical materialism, which represents a synthesis of the best ideas that preceded it, and that provides a truly scientific basis for the struggle against capitalism.
Alan Woods is not content merely summarising the philosophical ideas of the great thinkers who represent the milestones in this history. Rather, this is a Marxist analysis. It applies the dialectical method to analysing the progress of philosophy itself: its advances, as well as its periods of retreat and impasse, and the conditions that prepared the way for new advances. This dialectic can only be explained in connection with the advancing tide of human history itself, its flows and ebbs, and the economic, political and social conditions in which the great philosophers of the past laboured.
The result is an invaluable contribution to the theoretical arsenal of Marxism, a text which will better arm the reader with the theoretical tools necessary to put an end to capitalism and the division of society into classes once and for all.