Argues for a closer connection between memories of injustice and promises of justice as a means to overcome violence.
Rereading Marx through Walter Benjamin and Jacques Derrida, The Promise of Memory attempts to establish a philosophy of liberation. Matthias Fritsch explores how memories of injustice relate to the promises of justice that democratic societies have inherited from the Enlightenment. Focusing on the Marxist promise for a classless society, since it contains a political promise whose institutionalization led to totalitarian outcomes, Fritsch argues that both memories and promises, if taken by themselves, are one-sided and potentially justify violence if they do not reflect on the implicit relation between them. He examines Benjamin's reinterpretation of Marxism after the disappointment of the Russian and German revolutions and Derrida's "messianic" inheritance of Marx after the breakdown of the Soviet Union. The book also contributes to contemporary political philosophy by relating Marxist social goals and German critical theory to debates about deconstructive ethics and politics.
Matthias Fritsch is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Concordia University and cotranslator (with Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei) of Martin Heidegger's The Phenomenology of Religious Life.