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Keywords:

  • Fredric Jameson;
  • Paul Ricoeur;
  • Martin Heidegger;
  • Jacques Derrida;
  • Hegelianism;
  • Marxism;
  • dialectics;
  • philosophy of history

ABSTRACT

This review essay attempts to understand the book under review against the background of Jameson's previous writings. Failing to do so would invite misunderstanding since there are few contemporary theorists whose writing forms so much of a unity. Jameson's book can be divided into three parts. The first and most important part deals with dialectics, the second with politics, and the third with philosophy of history. In the first part Jameson argues that dialectics best captures our relationship to the sociocultural and historical world we are living in. The second part makes clear that Jameson is not prepared to water down his own Marxist politics in order to spare the liberal sensibilities of his political opponents. In the third part Jameson develops his own philosophy of history, mainly in a dialogue with Ricoeur. Dialectics is his main weapon in his discussion with Ricoeur, and it becomes clear that the Spinozism of dialectics allows for a better understanding of history and of historical writing than does Ricoeur's phenomenological approach. The book is an impressive testimony to the powers of dialectical thought and to its indispensability for a proper grasp of historical writing.