The term of art “archeology“ is employed in the title of this paper in two meanings. It is firstly used to designate a set of practices intended to reconstruct the past from its material remnants. Similarly, a body of ideas which might be referred to as “Slovakian Marxism“, alternatively “Marxism in Slovakia“, has been many a time, since 1989, overlayered with more recent ideas. A later closer examination reveals that the phenomenon at issue here is a palimpsest (also the name for a method nowadays common in paleoscience and archeology), in which the configuration of the re-inscribed text surreptitiously mimics the still discernible lines and contours of the undertext – a story of the “old Marxism“.
Marxism is primarily perceived as an essential theory of capitalism qua a specific social-economic formation. In the case of Slovakia, however, Marxism did not make its appearance as a theory of capitalism. One could even insist that Marxism entered Slovakia without Marx. The inspection of the period textual references by Slovakian philosophers testify to the fact that those to Marx used to be less numerous than those to Engels. Marxism crept into Slovakia primarily in the guise of politics and ideology. It was only secondarily that politics and ideology busied themselves with the building up of the appropriate philosophical “superstructure.
The history of the philosophical community within the time bracket 1948-1989 used to be also a time of struggle for getting free of political and ideological pressure. The 1989 political shift was, however, so radical that the developments in philosophy prior to that date are of interest just for historians and archeologists.
František Novosád: Professor am Institute of Philosophy, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia