Li Zehou and His Rocky Relationship with Marx

Class Struggle as a Form of Kantian Transcendental Illusion


  • Jana S. ROŠKER University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts



Li Zehou, Kant, Marx, transcendental illusion, sinization of Marxism


The present paper deals with Li Zehou’s contributions to the discussions of Marxism in the second half of the 20th century. In Li’s philosophy, Marx’s theories were reshaped, modified, and upgraded in a theoretical framework that differed from the original. He agreed with Marx’s presumption that the making and using of tools was the basic material practice, which made human evolution possible. Nevertheless, he saw Marx’s further development of this theory as problematic, because he saw it as being one-sided: progress from the means of production to the relations of production, and then on to the superstructure, only concerned the external developments of the relation between the manufacture and use of tools. At this point, Li was more interested in their internal influences, i.e., in the ways in which the making and use of tools has reshaped the human mind. He was highly sceptical of Marxist economic theories and criticized the crucial concepts elaborated by Marx in his Capital through the lens of Kantian “transcendental illusions”. Proceeding from his combination of Marx and Kant, the present paper will critically analyse some crucial differences between the Marxian idea of the class struggle as a driving force of social progress, and Li’s own version of historical materialism.


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31. 01. 2019

How to Cite

ROŠKER, Jana S. 2019. “Li Zehou and His Rocky Relationship With Marx: Class Struggle As a Form of Kantian Transcendental Illusion”. Asian Studies 7 (1): 201-15.

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