Max Adler

Max Adler

Austrian philosopher and sociologist, theorist of Austro-Marxism
Date of Birth: 15.01.1873
Country: Austria

  1. Biography of Max Adler
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Academic Career and Political Involvement
  4. Contributions and Ideology
  5. Views on Bolshevism and the Russian Revolution

Biography of Max Adler

Max Adler was an Austrian philosopher and sociologist, known for his contributions to Austro-Marxism. He was born on January 15, 1873, in Vienna, and passed away on June 28, 1937, at the age of 64. Adler's older brother was Oscar Adler, an Austrian violinist, doctor, and advocate of esotericism.

Max Adler

Early Life and Education

In 1896, Max Adler obtained a doctoral degree in law and became a professional lawyer. However, he developed a keen interest in philosophy and sociology early on. In the summer of 1919, he began teaching at the "Schönbrunn Circle," a unique school housed in the main building of Schönbrunn Palace. This institution, established by Max Winter, the Vice Mayor of Vienna, provided training for aspiring educators. Adler and his colleagues implemented several educational reforms during their time at the Schönbrunn Circle. Among Adler's colleagues were historian and psychologist Wilhelm Jerusalem, psychiatrist and psychologist Alfred Adler, language teacher Marianne Pollak, poet Josef Luitpold Stern, and journalist and educator Otto Felix Kanitz.

Academic Career and Political Involvement

In 1920, Adler qualified as a professor of sociology and social philosophy at the University of Vienna. From 1919 to 1921, he served as a member of the regional parliament of Lower Austria, representing the Social Democratic Party. Adler actively participated in adult education programs and, from 1904 to 1925, collaborated with his friend and comrade Rudolf Hilferding on the critique of Marxist theory. This collaboration resulted in a series of works called "Marx-Studien" or "Marx Studies."

Contributions and Ideology

Adler's first notable theoretical work, published in 1894, focused on the writings of Max Stirner and was titled "Max Stirner: A Contribution to the Understanding of the Relationship between Socialism and Individualism." This study shaped Adler's theoretical pursuits for many years to come. Stirner's critique of Karl Marx's theories deeply influenced Adler, and he continued to explore the intersection of socialism and individualism throughout his life. Adler's biographer, who had access to his unpublished documents, discovered a spiritual kinship and continuity between Adler and Stirner. While Adler wanted to work within the rising social democratic movement, he was cautious in his references to Stirner. However, he still regarded Stirner as a significant "psychological equivalent" of Marx and embraced many aspects of historical materialism, emphasizing class struggle as the essence of history and the necessity of uniting theory with revolutionary practice.

Views on Bolshevism and the Russian Revolution

Despite his socialist affiliation, Adler strongly criticized Bolshevism and had a negative view of the October Revolution in Russia.