The Meaning of Dialectics in Ruy Fausto

Ruy Fausto (1935–2020) was a Brazilian philosopher and historian of philosophy. He received his doctorate from the Sorbonne in Paris and became a professor at the University of São Paulo. He also taught in Chile and France. His research primarily dealt with the works of Hegel, Marx, and Adorno, as well as with the dialectic logic and the criticism of traditional Marxism. He wrote in Portuguese and French. In the 1970s, he founded the project of the reconstitution of dialectics. This project brought forth the series Marx: lógica e política. Investigações para uma reconstituição do sentido da dialética [Marx: Logic and Politics. Studies on the Reconstitution of the Meaning of Dialectics]. Its first volume was published in Brazil in 1983.

This research project analyzes Ruy Fausto’s Hegel reception, focusing on the meaning of dialectics and how Fausto articulates a new theory of dialectics through his engagement with Hegel and Marx’ understanding of Hegel. Fausto starts from the observation that dialectics loses both its theoretical and its critical potency when propagated as an ideology or as a universal method. Fausto determines the task of critical thinking to be a re-constitution of dialectics. Here, he explores logical aspects close to those investigated by the German Marxologist Hans-Georg Backhaus in his Materialien zur Rekonstruktion der Marxschen Werttheorie [Materials on the Reconstruction of Marx’s Theory of Value].

The project particularly focusses on the logical aspects most closely tied to the reception of the Hegelian categories. Fausto develops his understanding of dialectics from reflections on the commonalities and differences between Hegelian and Marxist dialectics, including its respective determinations of the function of the categories essence, semblance, and appearance. He stresses that the categories of dialectics themselves must be analyzed in light of their transformation through Marx. Additionally, the Marxist inversion of Hegelian dialectics as part of his criticism of the political economy renders transparent the social prerequisites to the logical determinations of Hegel’s dialectics. As a result, it advances towards a new, critical concept of dialectics. Fausto expresses the topicality of his reconstitution of the dialectic logic in his ultimate plea to think both dialectically and non-dialectically. After all, for Fausto, the theory of dialectics refers to the boundaries of the capitalist social system as well as to its fundamental categories.

Additionally, the project also explores the specific Brazilian dimensions of Fausto’s Hegel reception in comparison to other contemporary readings of Hegel in Germany as part of the Neue Marx-Lektüre (New Reading of Marx).


CAPES Foundation 2024
Head researcher(s): Renata Guerra


26 Jul 2024

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Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Ilse-Zimmermann-Saal, Pariser Str. 1, 10719 Berlin

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