National conscience and reality

John Wells, Painting, 1956


Considerations on the book by Álvaro Vieira Pinto

Value and political significance of “national culture”

The divorce between the culture of the “elites” and the national reality is one of the characteristic traits of colonial or semi-colonial countries. At least two recently published books[I] and which are presented as phenomenologies of the consciousness of an “underdeveloped” country[ii] contribute to drawing our attention to this problem. Both insist on the need to promote the formation of a national culture that originates from the struggle for effective independence (political and economic).

On the other hand, in most of the so-called “underdeveloped” countries, in fact the efforts of conscious intellectuals are aimed above all at putting an end to cultural colonialism, enunciating in it one of the insidious forms of imperialism. In all countries engaged in a revolutionary process, this is a deeply rooted demand.

It would be wrong to label this interest of intellectuals in the new countries for “national reality” as naive nationalism, or to see in it only the effect of frustration. It is not really pleasant for the student to have to consult books, watch films sometimes even courses in a language that is not his/her own; finally being condemned to polyglotism because their language is not yet a “cultural” language. But if this displeasure were the only source of the theme of national culture, it would be very superficial and nationalism would be nothing more than a synonym of xenophobia, which is justifiable.[iii]

Now, the demand for a “national culture” is broader, as it is not separated from the struggle for liberation through which it is necessarily constituted. In this sense, “national culture” is more than the demand for a replacement product: when one calls for its consolidation, it is that it has already been outlined. If culture is already dead when we propose to defend it, as Sartre said, it is already born when we propose to promote it. At intelligentsia bourgeoisie and particularly of the youth, the conflict between a new sense of the nation and the official teaching has already erupted, which immediately seems to distance itself from the current problems.

This is a healthy conflict, as it lends meaning to the word “culture”, where the best European students tend to see something already acquired, and the others a means of social ascension. In reality, “culture” always presupposes polemics against dead structures. It was the Western bourgeoisie of the XNUMXth century that gave the word its sugary flavor and gratuitous content; it was she who transformed works of art and thought into the steps of a tourist guide or a code of good company. On the contrary, the “national culture” of a people that is liberating itself, far from being just the desire for emancipation in the face of foreign models, has a positive content.

It does not mean, as Álvaro Vieira Pinto very well shows, a withdrawal from folklore. If this step constitutes a necessary moment of your awareness, today it is already overcome. “National culture” is also not just a pedagogical process. It is not to be confused, for example, with the instruction of the masses and the fight against illiteracy, although instruction is necessary. The intellectual only takes it as being the essence of the cultural process when, a prisoner of Western models, he underestimates the consciousness of the masses. Illiteracy is, without a doubt, an obstacle to be overcome, says Álvaro Vieira Pinto, but the intellectual would be working in error if he considered it an evil in itself, an impurity.

It is first and foremost a necessary step in the development process. The intellectualist error that only sees the negative side in him is a trait of alienation. In short, traditionalism and intellectualism are two ways of ignoring that national culture is already being created in the present, that it has not retreated to an idealized step and that, moreover, does not wait, to emerge, for the instruction of the people by intellectuals. of good will.

Understanding the notion of “national culture” in this way seems paradoxical to a European. When he does not relegate the “underdeveloped” country to barbarism, he willingly grants it both past culture (taste for folklore) and future (technical training). There is, however, a misunderstanding here: culture already exists in revolutionary practice. If he is not able to recognize it, the European coach exposes himself to serious disappointments. If he believes he brings heavenly manna to a semi-uneducated people, in spite of his good intentions, nothing positive will bring him.

There are several ways to persuade ourselves of the excellence of the culture we have. We are not referring to the most odious one (to denounce it, one would need a “Dictionary of Imported Colonial Ideas”), but to the most naive, the language that the incorrigible rationalist maintains: “the cultural level of this country is low, its education deficient, we are here to remedy these shortcomings, train staff and elevate young people to universal culture, ours”. This language can conglomerate all lay and religious bourgeois goodwill, but we consider it mystifying.

The rise of a people to culture is not measured by mere technical training. This naive opinion presupposes two inadmissible theses: (i) that “culture”, in Brazil for example, is still reduced to a intelligentsia minority and that nothing exists outside of it (picturesque customs taking its place); (ii) that “culture” is defined solely by the learning and possession of techniques that, once acquired, allow each people to enter the world culture, that is, Western culture, which is always ready to welcome them as soon as they have paid their respects. entrance exam.

If this good-willed technician, realizing that his assumptions are not meekly accepted, plunges into bitterness, it is a sign that he has understood nothing about the country in which he finds himself. Why? It is that he remains a prisoner of a culture that he received abstractly, so that he will never be able to communicate it to those who listen to him, to make them conquer it concretely. Take the case of a European teacher. Bourgeois or petty bourgeois, conscientious worker, specialist, what does this culture mean to him that in his country he finds himself in charge of transmitting to other young bourgeois, future conscientious workers, etc.? Like it or not: a recognized situation in a stabilized society.

But those you are facing now, from Africa or Latin America, what do they expect from “culture”? Something very different from a status assured social life or the pleasure of conveying a dedicated message to others. Here, neither unconsciousness nor abstraction is allowed: the latter no longer have any place. For students in a new country, political engagement is not a luxury that a scrupulous conscience can offer in Paris, nor is it a matter of conscience, but of life above all else. Education is no longer separated from political education, whereas among the students of our French faculties it is always separate. There is, on the one hand, political adherence and cell meetings; there is, on the other hand, schoolwork and exam preparation. I can assure you that it is often a question of two consciousnesses that juxtapose without ever penetrating each other.

It is then understood what experience can offer the intellectual trained in these conditions a stay among students for whom these separations make no sense, for whom the University can never be the sanctuary of bourgeois “objectivity”. We know that a French student is not necessarily unaware that university culture has a class origin and meaning. But he must act, in fact, as if he were ignorant of it. His practice cannot match his conscience.

Though he sometimes complains about the routine and outdated character of teaching, this complaint will never take the form of active protest. And this because culture is integrated into your life in the way of separation. Conceived essentially as something individual, acquired individually, it is not asked to be part of a collective struggle, nor is it necessarily involved in politics. In Western countries there is indeed a Marxist critique of bourgeois teaching and its abstract objectivity, but currently this critique does not lead to a positive program. In short, we are faced with a teaching that needs technical reforms that are often profound, but that does not require a revolution.

In this way, the European teacher trained in such a school must make an effort not to be scandalized by the attitude of Third-World students. It's hard not to judge beforehand It is absurd to have an unlimited strike aimed at obtaining student representation in the administrative bodies of the Faculties, a demand that he considers exorbitant from the outset. Blocking school work in a country where the education base is already precarious, isn't it a mistake or something worse? Isn't establishing as a matter of principle that students have a say in the organization and form of teaching the world turned upside down? Here are the questions that will be proposed. To which I answer, or rather I answer myself: it is indeed a question of the inversion of the world, but of ours.

From the one where there is a peaceful culture in which no one thinks of jeopardizing the foundations, from the one where teaching is unanimously considered a problem for technicians. In short, the hasty judgment of these movements expresses nothing more than a particular point of view that all of us Westerners tend to consider universal, and this in all domains. It is necessary to guard against this trap at all times. If we are scandalized and do not try to understand, it is because we forget that “culture”, before being an individual property, is a class weapon and that it acquires a totally different meaning in a country on the move and in a conservative country. What would pass for demagoguery in the other can become authentic democracy.

However, before considering the notions of “national conscience” and “national reality”, it is necessary to take these data into account. If this is not done, all that remains is to censor it in the abstract or to approve it demagogically. And only on the basis of these data can one interrogate this politicized “culture”, so appropriate to disconcert Western intellects, and the theoretical foundation that a philosopher like Prof. Vieira Pinto tries to give it. It is not my concern, therefore, to criticize the concept itself, but to point out the deviations it can promote and examine the root of these deviations. It is in this spirit that I refer to the book by Álvaro Vieira Pinto.

Ambiguous conceptions of nationalism

The author often states in his book that the nationalism he defends is not a grossly xenophobic ideology, as is necessarily the case with the nationalisms of Western bourgeois countries. However, he writes, for example: “from now on, any conscience that does not behave as a reflection of Brazilian reality, but persists in the cult of foreign concepts and lifestyles will be alienated”[iv]. If in this case he only intends to protest against the servile imitation of foreign models, against pedantry and lack of interest in national problems, he is a hundred times right.

The context, however, shows that he does not understand it only in this way. And, in particular, it shows the very questionable way in which he outlines the (“superior”) thought of the cultivated European: “In a thousand ways and ways he instills in him the superiority that he undeniably possesses and makes believe that the historical intervals are unbridgeable (...) Thought is the only school of thought, from which the latecomers are left with the option of enrolling in metropolitan institutions, if they wish to create a thought for themselves”.[v] If every European intellectual were of this opinion, the author's idea of ​​cultural nationalism, we repeat, would be entirely justified. And those who do not share his views would be not only "alienated consciences" but also masochists. Is it not, however, to present our cultural relations in a somewhat summary way, thus transposing them into a dialectic of Master and Slave?

I said above that in a country like Brazil, the European intellectual has a lot to learn and many prejudices to get rid of when he comes into contact with Brazilian intellectuals and students. If he thought of himself as tasked with adapting his culture to backward listeners, he would undoubtedly be an imbecile. Álvaro Vieira Pinto leads me to doubts, I confess, by positing as an axiom that the European intellectual thinks he belongs to a “superior race”, by lending him the mentality – consistent or unconscious – of a blond Aryan or a paramilitary sergeant. sprinter.[vi] I know you don't think so, but it's serious that it leads to thinking, and even more serious is that this mistake is sometimes indispensable to its demonstration.

Indeed, if that were the case, “cultural nationalism” would consist in continually erasing the footprints of foreign culture as alienating. If “the intelligence of the underdeveloped country is outright dissuaded from making an effort to produce its image of reality”[vii] by countries with superior culture, then national culture, in all domains, could only assert itself against imported culture, being a suspect author as long as it mentioned foreign works in its bibliography.

Other passages in the book show that Álvaro Vieira Pinto does not go to such extremes[viii]. Moreover, the apparent cultural xenophobia,[ix] which it often seems to profess is certainly not an end in itself. Simply a means at the service of one of the essential theses of the work: “There are real conditions for an autonomous nationality when the universal goods of civilization and scientific and technical progress are assimilated and realized according to one's own cultural way of being”.[X] It is this conclusion that retroactively justifies the xenophobic character of the premises. But the question is whether this thesis is itself justified.

Our author reasons more or less as follows: the countries of old culture intend to refuse us access to “Culture” or at least try to leave us on the sidelines; well, we already have an equivalent national culture, let's develop it (so far I completely agree) and cut the ties with the alienating influences that come from Europe. This time the conclusion seems excessive to me. As it remains consistent, I must admit that I was mistaken, so that when Álvaro Vieira Pinto said “national culture” he was referring to something other than what I had understood. The author rightly denounces the allegedly universal character, by right of birth, of Western culture and writes quite rightly: “The relatively poor and uncultured milieu is capable of giving foundation to a vision of the world as universal as those that erroneously believe only can be thought of by those who are in the metropolitan centers”.[xi] This is true. Marxism, for example, can be rethought in an original way in light of the Brazilian reality. But our author will agree that he does not intend to insist only on this point. He goes further, or better: what matters to him above all is the nation being capable of forging itself a representation that corresponds to its “natural way of being”.

In itself, nothing is more admissible and more modest than this claim. It will be frankly admitted that the conscious nationalist has a more "fair" view of national reality than a foreigner or a "deliver". The true thought of the author would however be betrayed if reduced to this banality. This thought is very well expressed when it states absolutely. “A problem that concerns the existence of the country will not be treated in a similar way by thinkers or specialists belonging to it or by outsiders”.[xii] Is it therefore necessary to conclude that, assuming the same competence, the foreign sociologist will not issue as well-founded judgment about a national problem as the Brazilian sociologist? Unless I am mistaken, this conclusion is unavoidable.

And this seems serious to me.[xiii] Not with regard to the future of foreign specialists in Brazil, which I am not interested in, but with regard to the conception of national culture that a certain nationalism defends, with regard to an excessively restricted interpretation of the concept of nation as a concrete universal. I point out that in fact, this text is corrected by other less sectarian ones.[xiv] I doubt, however, that the autonomy of national culture, which is mentioned on page 212 of volume I, is consistent with the demand for universality recognized on page 167 of volume II.

If it seems incontestable to me that, in order to be universal, a culture must first depart from a nation, it seems less evident to me that it can only become universal if it is expressly posited as national, since it can only be created by this nationality. It's not just about nuances.[xv] World culture is the totality of national cultures but not their juxtaposition. Why, then, recommend so much to the national culture that it flees from the imitation of foreign models? Not an adult and don't know how to distinguish imitation from loan? We can see what separates us from Álvaro Vieira Pinto with regard to the meaning of the expression “national culture”: the second word excessively limits the first. Understood in this way, “national culture” would become universal in a very intricate and ultimately quite unprecedented sense.[xvi] It would be born in its universality when the nation was able to form an original thought of itself.

Someone will challenge me, saying that I am returning to the European, formal and abstract sense of universality. For my part, I believe, however, that it is possible to understand the fruitfulness of the concept of “national culture”, as inseparable from the life of a people and its struggles, and also to think that this culture is not the incommunicable image that the nation jealously forms of herself; judge, finally, that every culture is measured by the ability to produce universal acts and works and not by the ability to reach ineffable intuition of itself. In short, we cannot accept a statement of this order: (the nation) “is not just the representation of an objective cultural fact, configuring throughout history” (would it be something else?), “but an existential, a descriptive concept of social reality of man, revealed by the analytics of existence”.[xvii]

Why this language? Let us not forget that the “nation” is above all, in the new countries, a word of order and struggle, but that, under these conditions, it is not the subject of existential descriptions. Often, when conditions do not exist for an effective practice, nationalism wins over revolutionary universalism. Fichte's career and the evolution of intelligentsia German in the early XNUMXth century are good examples of this. A conscious revolutionary party will mobilize the masses around the idea of ​​the nation, but it will never deliberately constitute a nationalist ideology. Or rather, there are two nationalisms: the one that marks a necessary stage of the revolutionary strategy and the other that consists of an abscess of fixation. What I criticize in Álvaro Vieira Pinto's book is that it always oscillates from one direction to the other. Rationalist in words, it ends up leading to an irrationalism in fact. Let's take some examples.

A controversial and problematic epistemology

(1) “Critical awareness (…) makes use of the logic that it induces from the very reality where such a problem arises. Now, this logic, as we have had occasion to indicate, is neither formal nor abstract, rather it is the form and the law of reflection that encompasses and expresses the world from a defined historical and social context, but concretely defined, even more concretely , from a national point of view, the one to which the thinker belongs. Therefore, the logic according to which a certain state of reality, which appears as a problem, will eventually receive a solution, is part of the ways of inserting man in his circumstantial, national scope”.[xviii]

Let the meaning of this text be pondered. The perfectly justified rejection of the abstract point of view – transcendent reason, pure justice – leads us to the idea of ​​a “concrete logic” proper to each nation and only accessible to it. The refusal of abstraction results in immersion in the immediate and in intuition. After all, what will the concrete impartiality of the thinker, the sociologist and the economist, for example, consist of from now on? The answer lies in “assuming the inner meaning of the data as they appear to the consciousness that sees them from the inside, as data that express the real state that is yours, and not any other”.[xx]

What does this phenomenological gibberish mean? Who is this consciousness that “sees from the inside” the “inner meaning” of the “data that express your real state”? Later we will try to unravel this mystery, for now we will only note that the condemnation of “abstract” logic, of “abstract” metaphysics leads us to a furiously intuitionist and irrational thinking. Between these two extremes something may have been lost. Wouldn't that be scientific objectivity?

In fact, the author doesn't throw science out the window. He even defends it vigorously against romanticism and "common sense philosophy".[xx] But he writes elsewhere: “It is a mistake to think that when I acquire a general idea, discover a new physical phenomenon, use a scientific instrument, or produce a work of art, the influence of the nation is not present in these procedures”.[xxx] If the author intends to say that the scientific act is inseparable from the social, material and even national conditions that motivate it, since “we consider the nation as the continent of all the conditions of my social reality”,[xxiii] this phrase expresses a truth of common sense. If it intends to say, however, that the very content of the theoretical statement is not entirely intelligible without reference to the social and national insertion of the scholar, it denies the specificity of science or, at least, it does not allow us to institute a difference in nature between the ideological product , like the work of art, and the scientific product, like the physical theory.

I recognize that Álvaro Vieira Pinto states: “The historical conditioning of scientific knowledge should not serve as a pretext to empty the latter of objective content (...) the law of inertia should not cease to be understood as governing the real movement of the bodies themselves, to be considered just data from the history of science”.[xxiii] It can't be said better. But this thesis held against "romanticism" does not sit well with the basic historicism of consciousness. To some passages where the rights of constituted physical science are recognized, there are many others that, on the contrary, since they insist on the conditioning of “consciousness”, make the objectivity of knowledge incomprehensible. Indeed, there seem to be two weights and two measures. For the natural sciences that offer us an objectively valid representation of facts, things and their relationships”,[xxv] and to the human sciences where objectivity becomes synonymous with passionate partiality and improbable “authenticity”.

We do not intend that the word “objectivity” has the same content in physics and sociology, but: (a) that it must retain content in both domains; (b) that science is one thing and mere “awareness” is another. Now, it seems to us that the author confuses these two things in the case of the human sciences and, when it comes to the natural sciences, he even ends up subordinating science to “awareness”. For: (1) physical science is presented as the mere awareness of the laws of matter; (2) the objectivity that is its own would only acquire meaning in the last analysis thanks to its insertion in the “rationality immanent to historical existence as validity for every order of empirical, natural and social facts”;[xxiv] (3) “Logic like ethics cannot ignore the existential circumstance”.[xxv] This way of placing ethics and logic on the same level is uncomfortable.

Universalism, objectivism and subjectivism

What follows, however, is astonishing. Indeed, Álvaro Vieira Pinto admits that, if the application of “formal schemes” to social reality leads the scholar to “unfavorable” conclusions, we will certainly not have the right to “twist the formal march of reasoning”. One should, however, “discover the inconvenience of the categories that were used and find others, through the inductive procedure (...) The formal universality of the logical process has no coercive force capable of imposing conclusions, as these will be reneged until reaching discovery of categorical concepts arising from the facts and adequate to give us the correct interpretation of them”.

Let these pages be consulted: they are a model of epistemological confusion. What are the categories that are rejected and adapted at will? They are not those of formal logic, recognized as universal, but at the same time abstract and empty. Are these, then, purely ideological concepts? Neither. There is talk of an original theory “of the material truth of judgment and reasoning” that only the philosopher of the “underdeveloped” country can build. Is it a dialectical analysis of the production relations characteristic of an “underdeveloped” country? From this analysis, however, the author never gives us examples accurate, even when he evokes the dialectical method (II, 69-71) or the notion of totality as a “connection of meaning” (II, 120-122), or even when he opposes the category of causality to this (II, 123-126) .

“Dynamism”, “totality”, “dialectics” are mere words when not accompanied by detailed analyses. Proclaiming that “the particular world of objects, examined in each case, holds the logical connections necessary for its understanding, being illegitimate to approach it bringing a panoply of universal categories as equipment”, is nothing more than a pious vow.

Arrogating to itself the right to constitute a particular “logic” appropriate to each given situation, it is not only the “abstract” universality of formal logic that is rejected, it is the very idea of ​​universality that has gone on vacation. From the inseparability of theory and practice, one arrives at the possibility of altering categories according to the requirements of current practice, of adopting categories “that suit us”.

Marx, however, is not Protagoras. When he induces his own categories from the analysis of a given socio-economic formation, he presents them as universal. If this universality no longer has the same content as that of formal logic, it still has the same meaning. If it is now stated that the categories of universalist thought must be adapted to each national reality and to each of its moments, then it is necessary to give examples of this adaptation; distinguish first of all the heuristic concepts of the human sciences and pure ideological concepts. For the word “adaptation” will have a different meaning when dealing with: (a) the Aristotelian theory of the syllogism; (b) Fermat's theorem or Carnot's principle; (c) the Marxist theory of value; (d) of the Bergsonian intuition. It is up to the reader to decide in which cases the adaptation is absurd, fruitful or useless. In the absence of these distinctions, “critical consciousness” risks falling into subjectivism.

What really draws my attention is that the author, from the fact that bourgeois sociology intends to achieve objectivity very quickly and easily, denounces this same pretension as mythological, and not an error in its adequate realization. We are reminded that “the terms in which a question is posed are neither innocent nor casual”, that “we are not indifferent to the conclusions of reasoning nor (…) absent from the interests they represent”, that “the concept proceeds from the world as it presents at a certain moment in the subject's personal history”, is not to put us on our guard against objectivist illusions, but against the illusion of objectivity.

There can only be particular points of view, closely linked to existential circumstances: “It is illusory to believe that any other man, in general, would judge in the same way, if he had to consider (the same data)”.[xxviii] In other words: theoretically my point of view is as unfounded as yours; if it is true it has only one vital and utilitarian “truth”.[xxviii] The author, for example, rightly observes that until now pseudo-“universal histories” have always in fact been European histories, but he adds: “It is important to discover that precisely because it is so, particular in its center of perspective and self-serving in its intentions, it is that in truth the so-called universal history reaches the level of total historical understanding”.[xxix]

Hence the conclusion: “It is up to us to consciously do what the (Western) historian does unconsciously and for him: to interpret the world from the perspective of those invested with particular interests, located in time, space, class, society. nation". In other words: since it is false that the “good historian should not be from any time and from any country”, let us consciously abandon any pretense of universality in history.

It remains to be seen whether it is a “Toynbee that Brazil needs or a Lenin, a Brazilian “ideology” or a science of Brazilian society. It remains to be seen how it is possible to preserve the terrain of objectivity that is indispensable to all science and at the same time conceive all science as a historical and national product. Álvaro Vieira Pinto shows us, for example, how “dialectic” interprets and replaces formal logic in history. But this by no means satisfies me:[xxx] logic is not to be confused with the history of logic. For our part, we say that knowledge is objective, even socio-economic knowledge, when it is not confused with its history, when the historical-dialectical analysis that can and should be carried out does not dispense with the structural study of its concepts. To label this position as idealistic is to abuse words.[xxxii]

In fact, we verify here how all subjectivism (or pragmatism) is a disappointed dogmatism. Three centuries of bourgeois thought, formed in the school of exact sciences, identified objectivity and impersonality; Álvaro Vieira Pinto discovers that the Sirius point of view has no place in the human sciences,[xxxi] behold, it in turn begins to identify the two notions to reject them en bloc as bourgeois thought rejected them en bloc.[xxxii]

Someone will tell me that he does not remain in this integral subjectivism. The assertion that there is no privileged conscience would only serve to “exclude the principle of aristocratism that would attribute beforehand to certain personalities the monopoly of the truth”.[xxxv] Will the shadow of relativism dissipate, then, by reestablishing the distinction between True and False? Undoubtedly, since “it is evident that, regarding the truth of representation, the critical conscience is privileged (...)”[xxxiv] There is, therefore, a false consciousness and a true one, the latter being able to convince the former and overcome its limitation. Soon, however, we become disenchanted, because true consciousness is not a theoretically privileged consciousness (wasn't theoretical universality already denounced once and for all?), but it is a consciousness that, having an idea, "knows how to be led to think about it". because of the situation you are in”.[xxxiv] Notice the difference. This true consciousness is not consciousness of truth, but consciousness that feels its authenticity.

How, however, is this authenticity proved? A “naive” question: why prove to naive consciences “that they are neither true nor false, but precisely naive”? We demand proof of the truth, but the critical conscience rejoices in this additional naivety: it knows that we are not immersed in the truth and that our question is precisely the testimony of this. However, it is possible to interpret all this in the least unfavorable way for the “naive conscience”: since we are in a universe where telling the truth no longer makes sense, although it is necessary to distinguish the conscience that has had access to the truth from that which has not yet reached it, what have we done but discern good from bad subjectivism?

And it is an almost Bergsonian intuition that gives us the dividing line. Let it be judged, then, how easy it is to be “naive”: it suffices to find oneself “completely deprived of revealing communication”, “incapable of perceiving the mutation of things and values”, “lacking sympathy with what is foreshadowed in time ” and “refusing to accept the new one installed in place of the old one”.[xxxviii] It will be admitted that these criteria are imprecise enough to allow any criticism of “critical consciousness” to be automatically relegated to the dimension of “naivety”. It is therefore understandable that the author, at the end of his book, confesses that he himself may have partially succumbed to “naivety”.[xxxviii]

The subordination of science to ideology

(2) We pronounce the word pragmatism. Let's see with what right. Lacking the distinction between science and ideology, not only is the latter identified with the former, but it also fails to admit any other social science than the expressly “ideological” one. Since it is up to the philosopher and the sociologist to enunciate the ideology diffused in the mass, the philosopher and the sociologist who dedicate themselves to works that are not explicitly related to ideology will be systematically depreciated. At one stroke all will be called chatty and frivolous mandarins. And this is logical if the only task of critical “conscience” is to reflect the national reality of the moment.

However, it is still necessary to distinguish. It is true that the pedantic taste for erudition, the snobbery of the latest French intellectual fashion or German jargon are cultural hallmarks of a semi-colonial country. However, these attitudes should not be condemned only because they evade the “national reality”, but also as an index of superficial and falsified culture. The two reasons must go hand in hand: national culture has not yet imposed itself on the conscience of intellectuals, so it necessarily produces gratuitous and pedantic works. One must, however, conclude that if a scholar does not explicitly deal with the problem of the current national reality, is this a necessary and sufficient sign of his “alienation”?

Once again it is to limit the choice between “ideology” and “alienation”, it is to suspect beforehand not only of every author who dedicates himself to the study of dialectics in Aristotle (or even Hegel, why not?) or deals with English logic, but also of every sociologist who, in a work that concerns “national reality” , employ foreign philosophical and sociological theories,[xxxix] of every philosopher who indulges in discussions that do not interest the national reality. This is written, I do not invent it. It seems like a dream to find these ideas in an author who refrains from “preaching any national exclusivism”.[xl]

Álvaro Vieira Pinto fights the useless education system, bookish culture, baccalaureate education and false erudition. In this he is a thousand times right. Yet it is curious that it never provides us with the means of distinguishing false from true scholarship.[xi] It seems to cover pedantry and knowledge with the same disdain, when the latter is not linked to ideology, as it expressly condemns all theoretical knowledge that is not immediately useful for the development of national consciousness. One of my students is interested in cybernetics, another reads Guéroult's “Descartes”. Should you discourage them? If not, will I be accused of further contributing to their alienation? The problem is set. We know what passionate arguments these proposals face. However, we think it is demagogic to remain silent and not ask: on this path, where will we go? If we hand over logic, then aesthetics, then the history of philosophy, etc. to the impatience of pragmatism, how far will it take us?

The answer is easy. Once again petty-bourgeois irrationalism and the denial of science meet at the end of the road. To condemn “free” culture in a fearful imprecision, to put together those who are uninterested in the national situation and those who are concerned with something else is, in the end, to condemn science and scientific practice, it is to make the scientific theory of culture impossible. revolution. In a more precise example: it is to make the élan vital, national in this case, overcome the socio-economic analysis. Any “purely economic analysis” will be branded as idealism, since “it is the political feeling that must have the last word, as it expresses the emerging global consciousness.

It is not the exclusive technical consideration of economic determinism, subject as it is to all the distortions of metropolitan doctrines that reflect class interests, imperialist and colonizing groups, but the formulation of the project of historical destiny for the nation that characterizes critical thinking” .[xliii] In this same line, it will be professed that the solution of the problems of “underdevelopment”, instead of being on par with a scientific, secondary and even mystifying diagnosis, lies at the level of “existential” awareness.[xiii] It will be said that political action can only arise from the spontaneous project of the masses.[xiv] Is it enough, therefore, to possess a “critical conscience” to have access, at once, to scientific truth? No. The author wrote “exclusive”, which is a reservation. But then where does the privilege of science end and where does the right of ideology begin?[xlv] It is worth examining this issue more closely.

(3) For example, that teaching in particular in new countries is not an exclusively technical task, and that its development only makes sense and usefulness if it is linked to a certain philosophy (I do not say “ideology); this must be remembered against those who defend “university objectivity”, against those beautiful humanist consciences who are outraged by the politicization of teaching in Cuba, while glorifying its “objectivity” in the French University. These truths, Álvaro Vieira Pinto expounds with talent, so that we can only adhere to his criticism against “abstract pedagogism” or the reign of technicians without political direction or control.

Once again, however, we are faced with a dangerous imprecision. The alienated conscience affirms, he reminds us, “that, in view of the long experience and profound knowledge of a man dedicated to dealing with the subject, it is inadmissible that the faculty of opining and even deciding be given to laymen and ignorant people. This view is really naive”.[xlv]

Deep down, Álvaro Vieira Pinto is faced precisely with the famous Platonic critique of democracy: “When it comes to fixing your shoes, you look for a shoemaker, when it comes to running the city, why do you believe you are an expert?” To be a democrat, in our view, is to refuse this position of the problem and the assimilation of political leadership to a simple craft in the same way, it is to refuse to reduce teaching to a simple communication of techniques. Politics involves a technique, but it is something different than a mere technique. Teaching is provided by specialists, but it is different from learning a specialty.

Álvaro Vieira Pinto's anti-Platonism, however, does not remain within these limits. We can ask whether, in terms of teaching, he recognizes the existence of a purely technical terrain where ideological consciousness would have nothing to do.[xlv] It certainly allows specialists to be consulted, but its conceptions “only acquire socially useful significance when approved by the community, this approval expressed by the capacity of such theoretical formulations to penetrate the critical representation that political leaders make of the convenience of the proposed measures”. How far does the right to control ideology go? Even the organization of programs? Even the subject chosen for the classes? Even the names of the cited authors?

I fear that, in order to escape Platonism and the “intellectual aristocracy”, we are tempted to put scientific truths to the vote at rallies or, at least, to encourage an “intellectual terrorism” that will do nothing for free scientific research.[xlviii] Admitting that the theory only has validity insofar as it represents immediate utility for the "critical conscience", which is already very questionable, who will recognize this utility, who will distribute the interdictions and the "imprimatur”? It is possible to answer: “whoever has a critical awareness of the process of reality”.[xlix] But this supreme court seems terribly abstract to us.

I do not mean by this to say that politics must be subordinated to technique, but that in a coherent revolutionary theory the problem must not arise. I do not take the counterpart of Álvaro Vieira Pinto, but I maintain that, forcing us to look for the dividing line between technique and politics, it makes possible sterile and abstract quarrels.[l]

It will be objected that so far I have done nothing more than go over details and that these superficial criticisms do not in any way cloud the profound truth of the author's thesis. I believe on the contrary that, through these observations of details, the very validity of its theoretical foundation is in question. Let's try to show it with some examples.

The primacy of ideological consciousness

(1) According to the author, constituting an ideology is the only current task that is imposed on the Brazilian thinker. The book is nothing more than an exposition of this ideology that is indispensable to the current phase of national development. Let us focus on this word: ideology. It presupposes a lot.

What is an ideology? The set “of representations that, intending to portray the state of social reality in the form of general judgments, will form the foundation of many acts that the individual will perform having the community as their object, in the sense of modifying it. These are the prevailing ideas within the nation. They are your self-awareness.”[li] But where does the essential importance attributed to the study of this “self-awareness” come from? The work of “ideological clarification”, states the author, explains the “historical conditioning mechanism of the new social process”.[liiii]

Does this mean that the analysis of ideologies is necessary for the elucidation of the objective conditions of the “social process”? Not exactly. Do not confuse analysis of ideology with its elaboration. Only the second aspect is of interest to Álvaro Vieira Pinto. In his view, the thought of ideology must reveal “the decisive operative value of the veridical subjective representations of the community”. Ideology seems essential to him insofar as it is the platform of a policy.[iii]

We point out that the word “ideology” is thus emptied of its Marxist meaning, no longer essentially designating (and ultimately: not at all) the deformed consciousness that a social group, under given conditions, was led to assume. Let us recall, on the other hand, that the author, when proclaiming that every historical point of view is necessarily partial and conditioned, substituted “truth-consciousness” for “authentic-consciousness”. Now, these two theses converge: under the pretext of liquidating “abstract idealism”, supraterrestrial speculation, it begins to celebrate under the name of “ideology” a philosophy that is relativist and incompatible with any scientific objectivity, some aspects of which we have already examined. The defender of the ideology will mock the “conscience devoid of point of view” and its pretension to teach history lessons, insist on the unpredictability of the historical unfolding and on the character of “gamble” that marks all politics. And this philosophy of radical contingency, this apology for “change” will seduce young people even more when approaching history and dialectics.[book]

However, invoking in this way the originality of history and historical practice, it actually supports the thesis of a collective consciousness that produces history and the uselessness of a science of history.[lv] Blatantly rejecting idealism, which it refrains from giving a technical and precise definition, it actually falls into the most exaggerated subjectivism, regardless of whether it is “collective” or “national”. In short, he admits that “the national development process is a function of the nation's awareness of itself” or even that “ideological factors produce the development process”.[lv]

These statements can only surprise, he tells us, those who have not yet understood the meaning of the expression “development process”. Until now I must belong to this group, because the explanation given to me leaves me completely awestruck. What? To define this “process”, is it necessary to resort to existential vocabulary and say that “development” becomes a “process” when integrated into a “conscious project”?[lviii] Undoubtedly, because thanks to the ambiguity of the word “project” – representation and will to action – consciousness can become a “productive factor of development”.

I then understand why “ideological factors produce the process”, but I no longer understand why the author is not an idealist. “Ideology” only appears as an essential factor to the extent that an apparent philosophy of history disguises a philosophy of consciousness. In this very legitimate way, as we will see shortly, Álvaro Vieira Pinto can resort to the concepts of “existential” philosophy, while this remains a philosophy of consciousness.

First, however, it is necessary to prevent an objection: what are all these philosophical scruples for, when it is just a question of elaborating an effective doctrine of combat? A theory cannot be separated from the politics it provides. If we accept the primacy of ideological consciousness, we liquidate Marxist analysis at once, without prior examination. Since in the “underdeveloped” country “national ideology” can replace revolutionary science, since class ideologies, in the Marxist sense of the word, disappear behind the “development-producing ideology”, it must be admitted that, currently at least, the division of classes is not essential for understanding society.

Perhaps this is true, but it would be necessary to show rather than assert.[lviii] And if it is objected that in the struggle for effective independence the first objective is to promote the union of the classes, one forgets that a policy of union – however indispensable it may be in the immediate future – must not be confused with the ideology of national unity, even if temporary. , which does not clarify an objective analysis of the situation.[lix] Between national unity and the refusal to analyze the present situation in terms of class, there is an abyss.[lx]

(2) Am I not, however, betraying the author's thinking when I speak of a “philosophy of consciousness”? He states throughout the book that ideological consciousness, far from being lazy and contemplative, is essentially linked to practice, is incessantly related to the reality that transforms and transforms it. If, however, we do not allow ourselves to be deceived by the word practical, we will find that revolutionary “activism” and the Promethean philosophy on which it is based could well be the masking of a Worldview idealistic. Not enough[lxi] proclaim that work is man's fundamental relationship with the world in order to adopt an objective point of view regarding reality.

In what sense was the word “work” taken? What role shall we assign to this concept? Why ensure that “Work (…) is not enough to be considered only in the social aspect, in the economic meaning or in the social repercussions (…)”?[lxii] Why thus transform work into a determination of the “human being”, analyzable independently of his historical conditions? Here are the questions that need to be answered. Is it not because we remain in the field of a philosophy of the subject?

This ambiguity is not peculiar to Álvaro Vieira Pinto. It is found in all those who celebrate in work the completion of nature-denying self-consciousness, and in the social revolution the symbolization of ontological negativity in all those who glorify in Marxism the possibility granted to “Man” to realize his Promethean essence. It is necessary, however, to point out the confusions that this thesis involves an entire article. Let us just point out that to describe work abstractly as the “revealer of the being of the world” is to conceal, for example, the difference in nature between the work of man who uses his own instruments (the paradigm of the craftsman among the Greeks) and work based on machinery.

It is the old model of technical finality (man realizing a previously envisaged purpose in matter) that allows the “Work” to pass through a specifically human operation – at the limit, the equivalent of the cogito – and that allows seeing in production the human act par excellence. Transforming the man-at-work into a human subject as such, the philosopher risks ignoring that in the production process he is nothing but an object. An object that was actually privileged in the pre-machinist phase, in which he used his instrument and judged its effectiveness, a driving force and regulatory instance, at the same time, but even so, an object, a “technical individual”.

He may still remain a conscious subject, but he could be an automaton by law. It is in this sense that the appearance of machinery, expelling the worker from his privileged technological role, reveals the inhuman truth of work: it is the automaton and not the man who is at the center of production. Even if, immediately, machinery makes man a slave to the automaton, it at least reveals that man's essential destiny is not to exercise functioning.

Describing work as an existential category, separated from any precise economic and technological context, allows us perhaps to forge an “ideology” but never a serious sociology.[lxiii] We do not quite understand how the glorification of the “homo faber” It is useful, but we clearly see that research on the adaptation of the Brazilian worker to the capitalist enterprise is indispensable. We do not quite understand what is gained by representing the condition of the worker as an almost incommunicable existential situation,[lxiv] but we understand the usefulness of studying the living conditions of agricultural workers in Ceará. Science distinguishes where ideology confuses. The former allows an effective work of agitation, the latter does nothing more than promote a utopia of uncertain contours.[lxv]

Conscience idealism and reformist nationalism

Why, someone will ask, highlight the idealist roots of the concepts used by Álvaro Vieira Pinto? What does all this matter to us as long as we agree with his conclusion: “The historical process of national development consists in the development of technical production processes”? Now, in our view, it is of paramount importance that “ideology” resort to notions derived from the philosophy of consciousness. What does “ideology” mean when it acquires philosophy? It is the refusal to base politics on an objective theoretical knowledge of the situation, it is the belief that confused representations are capable of engendering a real historical mutation, it is the apology of an essentially unpredictable history, it is the apology of “Heraclitian” historical time .[lxvi]

If we have reached this point, it is because the starting point was “abstract” and that the description of a consciousness that intends to be rooted in history dispensed with, in fact, the objective study of the historical situation. This attitude, we repeat, is not peculiar to Álvaro Vieira Pinto. We find it in the non-communist European left, which was formed many times in the school of German existentialism: its revolutionary radicalism is always based on ethical and ontological concepts without any scientific basis.

To defend “ideology”, it will also be said that it becomes necessary due to the unfinished nature of historical totality and the impossibility of objective knowledge in this domain. But it is precisely this thesis that we deny. To defend it is to place oneself in the point of view of a “perceptive conscience” in epistemology, it is to renounce a practical knowledge of the “conjuncture”, it is to deny that politics can be partially an applied science and, in any case, that it must to take this orientation to the maximum is to reduce all politics to a total bet on the future, that is, to what it is, partially, despite its intentions.

In order to grant “ideology” left to itself an objectifying and creative role[lxv] one must have no idea what a Marxist party is or what the work of educating and organizing the masses is. In fact, we admit with G. Gaston Granger that “ideology represents a certain phase or rather a certain facet of the insertion of concepts in a concrete situation”.[lxviii] But with him, we remain there. A revolutionary policy can only be built on the basis of criticism and objective analysis of this ideological layer. Trying to give it a philosophical foundation is a mistake.

Let’s see what Lenin says: “The existence of exploitation will always give birth among the exploited, as well as among certain representatives of intelligentsia, an ideal opposed to that system. Infinitely precious ideal for a Marxist. It is only in this field that it polemicizes against populism (...) Populism is content to verify the fact that gives birth to this ideal, then to prove the legitimacy of this ideal (...) and then later to claim it for society and for the State: secure, preserve, organize. The Marxist starts from the same ideal. Yet he confronts it with existing class antagonisms, thus formulating it not as a postulate of 'science' [lxix], but as a claim of a given class, a claim engendered by given social relations (which must be submitted to objective analysis) and which can only be satisfied in a certain way, as a result of the particularity of these relations. If this ideal is not thus related to the facts, it will remain a pious vote, without the slightest possibility of being adopted by the masses and, therefore, of being realized”.[lxx]

Let us now see how Álvaro Vieira Pinto tries to “prove the legitimacy of the ideal”.

(3) For this purpose, let us refer to the pages where he exposes “the foundation of developmentalist ideology”,[lxxi] namely: “the ultimate certainty that the state of the world that provides the situation for being in it is a decisive condition for the being of man”. This language may be disconcerting to some readers. In his intention, we will reconstitute the dialectic that the Author employs in this place. It seems that one of the most fruitful concepts of existential philosophy is that of “being-in-the-world”, as it expresses the essential connection between man and the world.[lxxiii] Furthermore, the Portuguese language allows us to clarify this notion by distinguishing “being-in-the-world” from “being-in-the-world”: “The being that each one is, man has to constitute by his actions.

But the condition for this is being in the world, which exists independently of him, which does not depend on his will and where he forms, through passive impressions and active reactions, his being. Being in the world is a given; being in the world is a process”. Hence the following axiom: “I am only because I am or, in other words, I am what I am because I am in the world where I am”.[lxxiii] My transcendence is inscribed in my situation or in my concrete belonging to the world that essentially conditions me. But this world is not essentially a physical datum amenable to mathematical description.[lxxiv] (another point of contact with French existentialism). “I have to consider my concrete situation that I call the world as defined by historical reality and not simply by the territorial continent. Now, what historically specifies the Universe where I find myself situated is the fact that it configures itself as a nation, the Brazilian nation”. Thus, the existential “being-in-the-world” presupposes the “being-in-the-world” of corrected existentialism, which ultimately leads me to the Brazilian nation.

At the moment when Álvaro Vieira Pinto seemed to get lost in the meanders of the Black Forest, we returned to national reality. But why this deviation? Does the reader need to have tinctures of Heidegger's language, or of his thought, to convince himself that he exists as a Brazilian? Easy, however, is the irony and, on the contrary, we believe that deviation should be taken seriously. “Die Welt” or “the nation”, are not just “physical and cultural surroundings”:[lxxv] just as they make the transcendence of consciousness possible, they only have meaning through this transcendence.

Thanks to the passage through existential language, the nationalist awareness takes on another dimension. “It is through its project of destiny that the nation becomes an enveloping whole. This, as we have said, is not mere space filled with things and occurrences, but the universal connection of meaning which affects everything therein. We have now discovered the source of such meaning: it is the project of being, the decision of self-determination, of taking from oneself the form one wants to take on”.[lxxvi] Reading these lines and many others, we are convinced that the author's neo-existentialism is the very foundation of his doctrine. But, we repeat, we do not understand how it is possible at the same time to “refer the nation to the project of a collective conscience” (II, p. 304) and to be so severe against idealism in general. However, in this passage Álvaro Vieira Pinto foresees this reproach. One can, he says, speak of consciousness as creating the nation by its design without incurring the reproach of idealism, for "this does not mean deducing reality from thought".

But idealism no longer consists in “deducing reality from thought”. Modern idealism is an analysis of the real, done solely from the point of view of the real “Cogito” that is situated there and that would really constitute its meaning; or even, it is an analysis of situations and meanings practiced from a psychological and not a scientific perspective. Modern idealism does not necessarily deny the existence of matter: it simply refuses to define philosophy as the explanation of the exact sciences (this is the reason why the “human” sciences are its last stronghold, until its instruments are sufficiently elaborated and allow it to come to fruition. to be "science" tout court).[lxxvii] Now, assimilating the consciousness that gives meaning and the individual consciousness that modifies the world through its “project”, Álvaro Vieira Pinto – following Sartre's lines – illustrates very well this psychologism and this subjectivism. That he professes a materialist theory of knowledge elsewhere, that he marries reflex-consciousness with intentional consciousness, all this in no way alters the fact that his starting point remains a philosophy of experience and of the immediate.[lxxviii]

This is why, in my view, Álvaro Vieira Pinto can, against his will and, despite his condemnation of “nativism” and “xenophobia”, sometimes lead us to a sectarian nationalism. A sincere progressive, he intends to be even with the concrete and not get lost in speculation: he must therefore refer to a situated, conditioned, localized “conscience”, to the “conscience of a real Brazilian”, to the “conscience always in a local situation”. .[lxxix] But why does it need to start from consciousness? This nation “under project” needs a subject of flesh and blood: the particularity of this one will be the price of the abstraction of the former. It is, finally, the abstract and “ideological” character of the notions of “national consciousness” and “project-nation” that makes the apparent narrowness of nationalism indispensable.

This nationalist conviction undoubtedly allows for the formulation of a democratic political program to which one can only adhere. But, in the absence of an analysis in terms of class, it does not avoid the mistake of reformism.[lxxx] The author himself recognizes this when, at the end of his book, he defends himself for having wanted to “deny or underestimate” class antagonisms under the cover of a “false nationalist global ideology”.[lxxxi] “We do not propose nationalism as an ideology common to all members of a society that we know is divided into irreconcilable factions (…) with the foreign interest.[lxxxii]

However, either this “partial ideology” can be used politically when objectively replaced in a Marxist perspective, so that it is useless to resort to “being-in-the-nation” to legitimize it; or else it expresses the authenticity of the consciousness of the “peripheral” country so that a philosophical representation of it can be achieved, but in this case it is more than a partial and provisional moment of the collective consciousness, more than an “ideology”. “Ideology” cannot claim to be true and at the same time present itself as ephemeral and circumstantial, linked only to the country's current reality. For us, there is a contradiction there that appeals to the mobility of conscience and the unpredictability of duty do nothing more than conceal. A political strategy must be embedded in a theory, but it is dangerous to make it a theoretical truth or live it as such. It is liquidating the notion of truth and, in the long term, the seriousness of political action.

The sense of criticism of CRN

But in this way, I end up taking sides. Criticizing Álvaro Vieira Pinto's book, deep down, I'm playing the game of the worst reaction. By underlining that the author is not a Marxist, I try to divide those that certain newspapers – which do not look at them so closely – call “the communist-nationalists”.

Only what seems worthy of respect, attention and reflection is criticized – Sartre's book and not Georges Bidault's proclamations, Vieira Pinto's work and not the speech of this or that Brazilian McCarthy. I hope, as does the author, that this book will be read, analyzed and criticized: it deserves it. As for those who insult Álvaro Vieira Pinto, they are the fascists. That said, to dot the i's.

Trying to give Brazilian nationalism theoretical coherence, Álvaro Vieira Pinto wrote an interesting and significant book, but, in my view, highly questionable from a theoretical point of view. I know that the author is right to repeat that the Brazilian problems require urgent solutions and not just “philosophical” or “technocratic” chatter. He is right to attack all forms of neo-colonialism. He is right in maintaining that the accelerated development of national industry is an indispensable condition for the effective liberation of Brazil. He is also right to insist on the need for an immediate nationalist regrouping (as he himself underlines).

But, alongside this, I think that the eclectic philosophy that Álvaro Vieira Pinto professes remains extremely ambiguous and does not replace the doctrine of an organized Marxist party. Only the latter can practice a policy of class collaboration without forging an equivocal representation of the nation; only he can lead to understanding that the alliance with certain layers of the bourgeoisie does not necessarily require the fabrication of a bourgeois ideology; only he can distinguish, at the same time uniting political strategy and theoretical formulation. “Ideology” would intend, it seems to me, to unite both immediately. To this extent, despite Álvaro Vieira Pinto's talent and audience, his “ideology” would be nothing more than literature. And this would be harmful to the Brazilian left.

*Gérard Lebrun (1930-1999) was professor of philosophy at the Provence Aix-Marseille University and at USP. Author, among other books, of The reverse of the dialectic (Company of Letters).

Originally published on Brasiliense Magazine, No. 47, in 1963. Collected later in the book by Caio N. de Toledo (ed.), Intellectuals and politics in Brazil. The ISEB experience (revan)


[I] Frantz Fanon. Les damnés de la terre (; Alvaro Vieira Pinto. National Conscience and Reality, Rio de Janeiro, ISEB (

[ii] With regret, we use this expression that has become cliche. As G. Canguilhem says, “the concept of underdeveloped tends to lend a good conscience to ex-colonizing nations".

[iii] National Conscience and Reality, CRN, II, 314.

[iv] CRN, II, 403.

[v] CRN, II. 393.

[vi] CRN, II, 136-137.

[vii] CRN, II, 393.

[viii] Cf. especially CNR III, 367 and 557.

[ix] The author is concerned with distinguishing his nationalism from xenophobic “nativism”. It would be dishonest not to take into account statements like this one: “The doctrine here expounded does not preach any national exclusivism. It only says that the immediate totality in which we find ourselves is our national circle, to which we owe the foundation of the being that we come to be”. (II, 146). We do not, therefore, want to say that the author is xenophobic, since he expressly declares the opposite, but that, nevertheless, many passages of his book seem express a narrow nationalism. It is then necessary to look for the reasons for this.

[X] CRN, II, 406.

[xi] CRN, I, 208.

[xii] CRN, I, 214.

[xiii] For example, we are told that “a European or American economist” cannot conveniently formulate the problem of employment in an “underdeveloped” country (I, 149-50). Not only because he would use inappropriate concepts, but also because “the conceptual system”, “the particular structure of logical laws” that he uses are inappropriate for his awareness of the problems.                 

[xiv] CRN, II, 166-67. Once again, we are not taking Prof.'s most exaggerated texts literally. Vieira Pinto and we do not intend to isolate them from their context. What follows will show it. For now, I do nothing but collect Indices.

[xv] An authentically national literature is not necessarily “nationalist”.

[xvi] CRN, II, 368, 69 and 555.

[xvii] CRN, II, 142-43, Cf. I, If the author, then criticizing “nativism” and “saudosism”, then declares that he would be foolish, in order to remain faithful to the ethos nationalism, “renounce to integrate ourselves in the most advanced modes of existence of civilization” (II, 167), this in no way corrects the particularism of the concept of nation. There are two mistakes not to make: taking Prof. Vieira Pinto for a “nativist” nationalist, despite pages II, 165-66 and others: and to underestimate the essential role played, in this system, by the idea of ​​“nation” and, in the end, the narrowness and limitations of this “nationalism”.

[xviii] CRN, I, 214.

[xx] CRN, I, 215.

[xx] CRN, II, 303-13.

[xxx] CRN, II, 369.

[xxiii] CRN, II, 370.

[xxiii] CRN, II, 58.

[xxv] CRN, ibid.

[xxiv] CRN, II, 535.

[xxv] CRN, I, 154-56.

[xxviii] CRN, I, 153.

[xxviii] It is, moreover, embarrassing that, in order to discard theoretical universality more quickly, it makes it synonymous with “internationally valid”. I gladly admit with the author that “the assumption that all countries necessarily participate in the same problems” is nonsense, but from this I do not conclude that each country should think about its own problems through an autochthonous “concrete logic”. I admit that there may be original political and economic solutions in each country, not, however, that these experiences cannot be universally expressed. I admit that “it is easier to see the development than to express it” (II, 345), but not that the instrument of thought chosen is inadequate insofar as it is still a prisoner of formal logic (II, 346-47) and discredited in the “syllogistic struggle”. In short, I ignore what this “concrete logic” and particular to a nation might be. I would like you to give me some examples of this, even if “in the language and logic proper to the decadent conscience”.

[xxix] CRN, II, 556.

[xxx] CRN, II, 532.

[xxxii] Where else are “the idealists”? We can ask when reading passages like this one: “Without a doubt, if we assume the idealist position and indulge in pure speculation, the world can be conceived as forming a diffuse and undefined objectivity, without reference to the condition of presenting itself configured in a national historical space. . But such an attitude implies reducing the world to nature, in addition (...) to hiding the fact that it is always nature. nature to someone which is situated within it in a relatively restricted vital area (…)” (II, 554).

[xxxi] CRN, II, 30.

[xxxii] With regard to the “objectivity” defended by the author, the reader will be able to judge whether it has a methodologically useful meaning. Cf. II, 522-28.

[xxxv] CRN, I, 21.

[xxxiv] CRN, I, 22.

[xxxiv] CRN, ibid.

[xxxviii] CRN, I. 87.

[xxxviii] The author is by no means convincing when he tries to establish the criterion of separation between “naive conscience” and “critical conscience” (I, 416-20). To him, the search for “authenticity” seems an embarrassing concept: “The criterion of authenticity for the existence that recognizes itself as conditioned cannot be other than the agreement of its action with the demands of the process of which it is a part” (II, 291).

[xxxix] CRN, I, 199-200.

[xl] Certainly, Prof. Vieira Pinto recognizes (I, 147) that “the gratuitous accumulation of disinterested knowledge (...) is the only possible exercise for the intelligence of the colonial country and, although idle and merely ornamental, it creates the habit of thinking”. However, this is now an outdated stage. Hence the author's hardness not only against current Brazilian philosophy, but also against the simple fact of dedicating himself to philosophy in Brazil (I, 147).

[xi] To distinguish, for example, school philosophy, in the worst sense of the word, from the serious reading of authors or rigorous reflection on a science.

[xliii] CRN

[xiii] CRN, I, 105-106 E 54-55

[xiv] CRN, I. 144-45.

[xlv] It can already be seen here how much a Marxist position on the problem is needed. Indeed, the alternative between “populism” and technocracy is fallacious: between the realm of technicians and the spontaneity of the “masses” there is the party in the Leninist sense as a mediating instance, at the same time a technical organism (revolutionary, then administrative after the seizure of power) and an interpreter of the educated masses. Only Leninism allows us to make these two truths coexist: you are not always right against the masses, but the party, in the last resort, is always right.

[xlv] CRN, I, 123.

[xlv] Ibid.

[xlviii] CRN, I. 67.

[xlix] CRN, I, 121.

[l] Examples: “He is by no means the one who adorned himself with classical readings, who wandered through foreign museums or absorbed some scientific discipline for pleasure and pride in owning it. All this may be part of the culture, but it does not define it.” (I, 118 and I, 124). “We agree, but with the condition of adding that the possession of a “critical conscience” does not define culture either and does not exempt its possessor from a technical specialization that, in short, would not be useless when he intended to outline guidelines for specialists who are still alienated”.

[li] CRN, I, 27.

[liiii] CRN, I, 31.

[iii] "It is not enough to play with exact objective data, because the result can be a correct but cold political scheme, true but unconvincing. For this reason, the elaboration of ideology transcends the scope of economics, sociology, and even political science (...) to be a creation of philosophical thought” (I, 46).

[book] Cf. I, 29-30. It will be noticed in this text the importance attributed to the idealist opposition between historical process and natural process.

[lv] CRN, II. 200.

[lv] CRN, I, 30-31.

[lviii] CRN, I. 33.

[lviii] Whence the reservation about the value of the Marxist analysis of work, I, 61.

[lix] The secondary role assigned to the notion of “class” results, for example, in a constant abstract opposition between the “elites” or technicians (cf. II, 218) and the “masses”, who hold the “authentic project” that “ ideology” collects.

[lx] It is not enough just to show that imperialism is currently the source of the main contradictions, but it is also necessary to show that these contradictions relegate the class struggle to the background. These are two different questions.

[lxi] “It is not enough (...)” could be the leitmotiv of the book review. It is not enough, for example, to proclaim the objectivity of reality, the priority of matter in relation to consciousness, the “dialectical” character of social reality, etc. (…) to put oneself in line with rationality. This is why the book is such an excellent exercise. Because the author's intentions always remain rational in principle, but end up in an irrationalism in fact. This is the question that must always be asked.

[lxii] CRN, II. P. 573-92: “The Theory of Revolution”;

[lxiii] On work as an existential category, cf. CRN, I, 111. On the idealistic character of this concept: “what is human about work, and manifests the essence of the human being, is the exploitation of nature, practiced with equity by all men. In the course of history, this natural relationship with the physical world has been corrupted, and some men have begun to exploit nature no longer, but other men who work on nature, thus giving rise to an unjust and inhuman social state, which needs to be corrected.” (II, 436).

[lxiv] Cf. For example CRN, I. 54-55 and II, 547-48.

[lxv] Cf. Lenin: “Socialist intellectuals will only be able to count on fruitful work when they liquidate their illusions and begin to look for support, not in the development of Russia that their desires invoke, but in its real development (...) From this moment on, their work must be oriented for the concrete study of all forms of economic antagonism in Russia, for the study of their relations and their logical development (…) system of exploitation and expropriation of workers and indicate the way out of this situation that development suggests". (The friends of the people, Lenine, IT Eds. Social, pg. 321).

[lxvi] CRN, II. 547.

[lxv] CRN, I, 43-46.

[lxviii] Cahier de l'Institut des Sciences Economiques, n° 110, February 1961, p. 33.

[lxix] This “science” in quotes is equivalent to ideology without quotes.

[lxx] Lenin, ibid, pg. 449-50.

[lxxi] CRN, II. 139.

[lxxiii] We specify that the author often claims to have emptied existential concepts of their idealistic meaning. It seems to me, however, that if “being-in-the-world” has nothing to do with “in-der-Welt-sein” For Heidegger (but this is secondary) this concept remains distinctly idealistic.

[lxxiii] CRN, II, 136.

[lxxiv] CRN, II, 140.

[lxxv] CRN, II, 143.

[lxxvi] CRN, II. 160. Cf., II. 195 and 546.

[lxxvii] “A philosophy that seeks to remain rationalist could not be a philosophy of consciousness in any way” (GG Granger).

[lxxviii] Cf. CRN, I. 42-44, on the definition of collective consciousness as intentional objectivity.

[lxxix] CRN, II, 431.

[lxxx] CRN, II. 589.

[lxxxi] CRN, II. 590.

[lxxxii] CRN, II.

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