Henri Lefebvre

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Lefebvre, Henri

 

Born June 16, 1905, in Hagetmau, Landes. French eclectic philosopher. Doctor of sciences. Professor of sociology at Strasbourg (1961–65) and Nanterre (from 1965).

Lefebvre is the author of a number of works on the history of philosophy (on Descartes, Pascal, Diderot, Nietzsche) and aesthetics (Introduction to Aesthetics, 1948, Russian translation, 1954; Contribution to Aesthetics, 1953). A member of the French Communist Party since 1928, he wrote propagandistic works on dialectical materialism (Dialectical Materialism, 1939; Understanding the Ideas of K. Marx, 1947). Lefebvre later departed from Marxism, defending ideas incompatible with the basic principles of dialectical materialism. In 1958 he was expelled from the French Communist Party for revisionism disguised in pseudo-Marxist terminology and for divergences from the general Communist Party line.

In his main work published after his expulsion from the Communist Party (The Sum and the Remainder, 1959), Lefebvre develops anti-Marxist and anticommunist positions. He rejects the struggle of two camps in philosophy. He views materialist and idealist solutions to the fundamental question of philosophy as merely two equally unprovable and irrefutable “postulates.” Lefebvre also denies the philosophical significance of the materialist dialectic. In his Metaphilosophy (1965), he opposes Marxism-Leninism and rejects scientific philosophy as a teaching about the universal laws of development of nature, society, and thought; he replaces scientific philosophy with his subjectivistic “anthropologism.”

WORKS

Critique de la vie quotidienne. Paris, 1947.
Problèmes actuels du marxisme. Paris, 1958.
Introduction à la modernité. Paris, 1962.
Le Langage et la société. Paris, 1966.
Sociologie de Marx. Paris, 1966.

REFERENCE

Borev, lu. “Protiv revizionizma v esteticheskoi teorii.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1958, no. 4.
Davydov, lu. N. “A. Lefevr i ego ‘kontseptsiia otchuzhdeniia’.” Voprosy filosofi, 1963, no. 1.
Bykhovskii, B. E. “‘Itog i ostatok ili balans renegata.” Voprosy filosofii, 1964, no. 7.
Sève, L. H. “Lefebvre et la dialectique chez Marx.” La Nouvelle Critique, 1958, no. 94.
Sève, L. H. La Différence. [Paris] 1960.

B. E. BYKHOVSKII

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Henri Lefevre, in his concise treatise Everyday Life in the Modern World from 1967, proposes the car and its attendant 'highway code' as particularly privileged sites for reading modern everydayness: 'The leading object [the motor car] has not only produced a system of communications but also organisms and institutions that use it and that it uses'.
Part three of the book consists of three essays on the contributions to finance theory made by two French speculators in the nineteenth century: Henri Lefevre, who purportedly constructed the first graphical representation of financial market operations, and Jules Regnault, who deployed the concept of a random walk to explain the movements in share market prices before Bachelier.