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Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory are works in
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
that are strongly influenced by
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Karl Marx
's
materialist Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimatel ...
approach to
theory A theory is a rational Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, G ...

theory
, or works written by
Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern societies progress, ...
s. Marxist philosophy may be broadly divided into
Western Marxism Western Marxism is a current of Marxist theory that arose from Western and Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Europe includes contiguous territories that are sometimes also considered parts of Western Europe, ...
, which drew from various sources, and the official
philosophy in the Soviet Union Philosophy in the Soviet Union was officially confined to Marxist–Leninist thinking, which theoretically was the basis of objective and ultimate philosophical truth. During the 1920s and 1930s, other tendencies of Russian philosophy, Russian thou ...
, which enforced a rigid reading of Marx called
dialectical materialism Dialectical materialism is a philosophy of science, philosophy of history, history, and Nature (philosophy), nature developed in Europe and based on the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Dialectic#Marxist dialectic, Marxist dialectics, ...
, in particular during the 1930s. Marxist philosophy is not a strictly defined sub-field of philosophy, because the diverse influence of Marxist theory has extended into fields as varied as
aesthetics Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of m ...

aesthetics
,
ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...

ethics
,
ontology Ontology is the branch of philosophy that studies concepts such as existence, being, Becoming (philosophy), becoming, and reality. It includes the questions of how entities are grouped into Category of being, basic categories and which of these ...

ontology
,
epistemology Epistemology (; ) is the Outline of philosophy, branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, epistemic Justification (epistemology), justification, the Reason, rationality o ...

epistemology
,
theoretical psychologyTheoretical psychology is concerned with theoretical and philosophical aspects of psychology. It is an Interdisciplinarity, interdisciplinary field with a wide scope of study. It focuses on combining and incorporating existing and developing theories ...
and
philosophy of science Philosophy of science is a branch of philosophy concerned with the foundations, methodology, methods, and implications of science. The central questions of this study concern Demarcation problem, what qualifies as science, the reliability of s ...
, as well as its obvious influence on
political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or menta ...

political philosophy
and the
philosophy of history Philosophy of history is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality Reality ...
. The key characteristics of Marxism in philosophy are its materialism and its commitment to political practice as the end goal of all thought. The theory is also about the hustles of the
proletariat The proletariat (; ) is the social class of wage labor, wage-earners, those members of a society whose only possession of significant economic value is their labour power (their capacity to work). A member of such a class is a proletarian. Marx ...

proletariat
and their reprimand of the
bourgeoisie Bourgeoisie (; ) is a polysemous Polysemy ( or ; from grc-gre, πολύ-, , "many" and , , "sign") is the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple meanings, usually related by contiguity of meaning within a semantic fieldIn linguisti ...

bourgeoisie
. Marxist theorist
Louis Althusser Louis Pierre Althusser (, ; ; 16 October 1918 – 22 October 1990) was a French Marxist philosopher Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical m ...
, for example, defined philosophy as "
class struggle Class conflict, also referred to as class struggle and class warfare, is the political tension and economic antagonism that exists in society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, socia ...
in theory", thus radically separating himself from those who claimed philosophers could adopt a "
God's eye view An Archimedean point () is a hypothetical Point of view (philosophy), viewpoint from which certain objective truths can perfectly be perceived (also known as a God's-eye view) or a reliable starting point from which one may reason. In other words, a ...
" as a purely neutral judge.


Marxism and philosophy

The philosopher
Étienne Balibar
Étienne Balibar
wrote in 1996 that "there is no Marxist philosophy and there never will be; on the other hand, Marx is more important for philosophy than ever before.", 1993. ''La philosophie de Marx'', La Découverte, Repères (English edition, ''The Philosophy of Marx''. Verso, 1995) So even the existence of Marxist philosophy is debatable (the answer may depend on what is meant by "philosophy," a complicated question in itself). Balibar's remark is intended to explain the significance of the final line of
Karl Marx's
Karl Marx's
11 ''
Theses on Feuerbach The "Theses on Feuerbach" are eleven short philosophical notes written by Karl Marx as a basic outline for the first chapter of the book '' The German Ideology'' in 1845. Like the book for which they were written, the theses were never published in ...
'' (1845), which can be read as an epitaph for philosophy: "The philosophers have only ''interpreted'' the world, in various ways; the point is to ''change'' it". If this claim (which Marx originally intended as a criticism of
German Idealism German idealism was a philosophical movement that emerged in Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It developed out of the work of Immanuel Kant in the 1780s and 1790s, and was closely linked both with Romanticism and the revolutionary ...
and the more moderate
Young Hegelian The Young Hegelians (german: Junghegelianer), or Left Hegelians (''Linkshegelianer''), or the Hegelian Left (''die Hegelsche Linke''), were a group of German intellectuals who, in the decade or so after the death of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel ...
s) is still more or less the case in the 21st century, as many
Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern societies progress, ...
s would claim, then Marxist theory is in fact the practical continuation of the philosophical tradition, while much of philosophy is still politically irrelevant. Many critics, both non-Marxist and some Marxist philosophers, feel that this is too quick a dismissal of the post-Marxian philosophical tradition. Much sophisticated and important thought has taken place after the writing of Marx and
Engels Friedrich Engels ( ,"Engels"
''
; much or perhaps even all of it has been influenced, subtly or overtly, by Marxism. Simply dismissing all philosophy as sophistry might condemn Marxism to a simplistic
empiricism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...
or
economism Economism, sometimes spelled economicism, is a term in Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand Social class, ...
, crippling it in practice and making it comically simplistic at the level of theory. Nonetheless, the force of Marx's opposition to
Hegelian Hegelianism is the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel in which reality has a conceptual structure. Pure Concepts are not subjectively applied to sense-impressions but rather things exist for actualizing their ''a priori'' pure concept. The concept o ...
idealism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...

idealism
and to any "philosophy" divorced from
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...

political
practice remains powerful even to a contemporary reader. Marxist and Marx-influenced 20th century theory, such as (to name a few random examples) the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, the political writing of
Antonio Gramsci Antonio Francesco Gramsci (, ; ; 22 January 1891 – 27 April 1937) was an Italian Marxism, Marxist philosopher, journalist, linguist, writer and politician. He wrote on philosophy, political theory, sociology, history and linguistics. He was a ...
, and the
neo-Marxism Neo-Marxism is a Marxism, Marxist school of thought encompassing 20th-century approaches that amend or extend Marxism and Marxist philosophy, Marxist theory, typically by incorporating elements from other intellectual traditions such as critical the ...
of
Fredric Jameson Fredric Jameson (born April 14, 1934) is an American literary critic Literary criticism (or literary studies) is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by literary theory, whi ...
, must take Marx's condemnation of philosophy into account, but many such thinkers also feel a strong need to remedy the perceived theoretical problems with
orthodox Marxism Orthodox Marxism is the body of Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand Social class, class relations and s ...
. Such problems might include a too-simple
economic determinism Economic determinism is a socioeconomic theory that economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the ...
, an untenable theory of
ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of ...
as "
false consciousness False consciousness is a term used by some to describe ways in which material, ideological An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world ...
," or a simplistic model of state power rather than
hegemony Hegemony (, , ) is the political, economic, and military predominance of one state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (ne ...
. So Marxist philosophy must continue to take account of advances in the theory of politics developed after Marx, but it must also be wary of a descent into theoreticism or the temptations of
idealism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...

idealism
. Étienne Balibar claimed that if one philosopher could be called a "Marxist philosopher", that one would doubtlessly be
Louis Althusser Louis Pierre Althusser (, ; ; 16 October 1918 – 22 October 1990) was a French Marxist philosopher Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical m ...
:
Althusser proposed a 'new definition' of philosophy as "class struggle in theory"... marxism had proper signification (and original "problematic") ''only'' insofar as it was the theory of ''the'' tendency towards communism, and ''in view'' of its realization. The criteria of acceptance or rejection of a 'marxist' proposition was always the same, whether it was presented as 'epistemological' or as 'philosophical': it was in the act of rendering intelligible a ''communist policy'', or not." (''Ecrits pour Althusser'', 1991, p.98).
However, "Althusser never ceased to put in question the ''images of communism'' that Marxist theory and ideology carried on: but he did it in the name of communism itself." Althusser thus criticized the
evolutionist Evolutionism is a term used (often derogatorily) to denote the theory of evolution. Its exact meaning has changed over time as the study of evolution has progressed. In the 19th century, it was used to describe the belief that organisms deliberately ...
image which made of communism an ultimate stage of history, as well as the apocalyptic images which made it a "society of transparence", "without contradiction" nor ideology. Balibar observes that, in the end, Althusser enjoined the most sober definition of communism, exposed by Marx in ''
The German Ideology ''The German Ideology'' (German: ''Die deutsche Ideologie'') is a set of manuscripts written by Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, j ...
'': ''Communism is "not a state of the future, but the real movement which destroys the existing state of being.".''


Karl Marx's philosophy

There are endless interpretations of the "philosophy of Marx", from the interior of the Marxist movement as well as in its exterior. Although some have separated Marx's works between a "
young Marx The correct place of Karl Marx's early writings within his system as a whole has been a matter of great controversy. Some believe there is a ''break'' in Marx's development that divides his thought into two periods: the "Young Marx" is said to be a ...
" (in particular the ''
Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 The ''Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844'' (german: Ökonomisch-philosophische Manuskripte aus dem Jahre 1844), also referred to as the ''Paris Manuscripts'' (') or as the ''1844 Manuscripts'', are a series of notes written between Apri ...
'') and a "mature Marx" or also by separating it into purely philosophical works, economics works and political and historical interventions, Étienne Balibar has pointed out that Marx's works can be divided into "economic works" (''
Das Kapital ''Das Kapital'', also known as ''Capital: A Critique of Political Economy'' or sometimes simply ''Capital'' (german: Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Ökonomie, ; 1867–1883), is a foundational theoretical text in materialist philosophy, c ...

Das Kapital
'', 1867), "philosophical works" and "historical works" (''
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte ''The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon'' (german: italic=yes, Der 18te Brumaire des Louis Napoleon) is an essay written by Karl Marx between December 1851 and March 1852, and originally published in 1852 in ''Die Revolution'', a German mo ...
'', the 1871 '' Civil War in France'' which concerned the
Paris Commune The Paris Commune (french: Commune de Paris, ) was a revolutionary government that seized power in Paris from 18 March to 28 May 1871. During the , Paris had been defended by the , where radicalism grew among soldiers. In March 1871, after th ...
and acclaimed it as the first "
dictatorship of the proletariat In Marxist philosophy Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory are works in philosophy that are strongly influenced by Karl Marx's Historical materialism, materialist approach to theory, or works written by Marxists. Marxist philosophy may be broadly ...
", etc.) Marx's philosophy is thus inextricably linked to his
critique of political economy ''Das Kapital'', also known as ''Capital: A Critique of Political Economy'' (german: Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Ökonomie, ; 1867–1883), is a foundational theoretical text in Historical materialism, materialist philosophy, economics a ...
and to his historical interventions in the
workers' movement The labour movement or labor movement consists of two main wings: the trade union movement (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic la ...
, such as the 1875 ''
Critique of the Gotha Program The ''Critique of the Gotha Programme'' (german: Kritik des Gothaer Programms) is a document based on a letter by Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices ...
'' or ''
The Communist Manifesto ''The Communist Manifesto'', originally the ''Manifesto of the Communist Party'' (german: Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei), is an 1848 pamphlet by German philosophers Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was ...
'', written with Engels (who was observing the
Chartist movement Chartism was a working-class male suffrage movement for political reform in Britain that existed from 1838 to 1857. It took its name from the People's Charter of 1838 and was a national protest movement, with particular strongholds of support ...
) a year before the
Revolutions of 1848 The Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Springtime of the Peoples or the Springtime of Nations, were a series of political upheaval A political revolution, in the Trotskyist Trotskyism is the political ideology and branch o ...
. Both after the defeat of the French socialist movement during Louis Napoleon Bonaparte's 1851 coup and then after the crushing of the 1871 Paris Commune, Marx's thought transformed itself. Marxism's philosophical roots were thus commonly explained as derived from three sources: English
political economy Political economy is the study of production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products (g ...
, French
republicanism Republicanism is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use ...
and radicalism, and German idealist philosophy. Although this "three sources" model is an
oversimplification The fallacy of the single cause, also known as complex cause, causal oversimplification, causal reductionism, and reduction fallacy, is an informal fallacy Informal fallacies are a type of incorrect argument In logic Logic (from Ancient Gre ...
, it still has some measure of truth. On the other hand, (1990) has assigned four "masters" to Marx:
Epicurus Epicurus, ''Epíkouros'', "ally, comrade" (341–270 BC) was an and who founded , a highly influential school of . He was born on the Greek island of to parents. Influenced by , , , and possibly the , he turned against the of his day and e ...

Epicurus
(to whom he dedicated his thesis, ''Difference of natural philosophy between
Democritus Democritus (; el, Δημόκριτος, ''Dēmókritos'', meaning "chosen of the people"; – ) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient w ...

Democritus
and Epicurus'', 1841) for his materialism and theory of
clinamen Clinamen (; plural ''clinamina'', derived from ''clīnāre'', to incline) is the Latin language, Latin name Lucretius gave to the unpredictable swerve of ancient atom, atoms, in order to defend the atomism, atomistic doctrine of Epicurus. In modern ...
which opened up a realm of
liberty Broadly speaking, liberty is the ability to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). It is a synonym for the word freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change withou ...

liberty
;
Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (, , ; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Republic of Geneva, Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment throughout Europe, as w ...

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
, from which come his idea of
egalitarian Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that builds from the concept of social equality, prioritizing it for all people. Egalitarian doctrines are generally characterized by the idea that all hu ...
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

democracy
;
Adam Smith Adam Smith ( 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher as well as a moral philosopher Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and ...

Adam Smith
, from whom came the idea that the grounds of
property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to consume, alter, share, r ...
is
labour Labour or labor may refer to: * Childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or by Caesarean section. In 2015, there were about 13 ...
; and finally
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (; ; 27 August 1770 – 14 November 1831) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For cit ...
. "Vulgar Marxism" (or codified
dialectical materialism Dialectical materialism is a philosophy of science, philosophy of history, history, and Nature (philosophy), nature developed in Europe and based on the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Dialectic#Marxist dialectic, Marxist dialectics, ...
) was seen as little other than a variety of
economic determinism Economic determinism is a socioeconomic theory that economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the ...
, with the alleged determination of the
ideological An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to attitudes abo ...
superstructure A superstructure is an upward extension of an existing structure above a baseline. This term is applied to various kinds of physical structures such as buildings, bridges, or ships having the Degrees of freedom (mechanics), degree of freedom ze ...
by the economical
infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy An ec ...

infrastructure
. This positivist reading, which mostly based itself on Engels' latter writings in an attempt to theorize "
scientific socialism Scientific socialism is a term coined in 1840 by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in his book '' What is Property?'' to mean a society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a ...
" (an expression coined by Engels) has been challenged by Marxist theorists, such as Lukacs, Gramsci, Althusser or, more recently, Étienne Balibar.


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Marx developed a comprehensive, theoretical understanding of political reality early in his intellectual and activist career by means of a critical adoption and radicalization of the categories of 18th and 19th century German Idealist thought. Of particular importance is Hegel's appropriation of Aristotle's organicist and essentialist categories in the light of Kant's transcendental turn.Meikle, ''Essentialism in the Thought of Karl Marx'', Open Court Publishing Company (1985). See for a discussion of the historical development of the theory of dialectics in relation to Kant's theories. Charles Edward Andrew Lincoln IV, ''Hegelian Dialectical Analysis of U.S. Voting Laws'', 42 U. Dayton L. Rev. 87 (2017). See Lincoln, Charle
The Dialectical Path of Law
2021 Rowman & Littlefield.
Marx builds on four contributions Hegel makes to our philosophical understanding. They are: (1) the replacement of mechanism and atomism with Aristotelean categories of organicism and essentialism, (2) the idea that world history progresses through stages, (3) the difference between natural and historical (dialectical) change, and (4) the idea that dialectical change proceeds through contradictions in the thing itself. (1) Aristotelian organicism and essentialism (a) Hegel adopts the position that chance is not the basis of phenomena and that events are governed by laws. Some have falsely attributed to Hegel the position that phenomena are governed by transcendent, supersensible ideas that ground them. On the contrary, Hegel argues for the organic unity between universal and particular. Particulars are not mere token types of universals; rather, they relate to each other as a part relates to a whole. This latter has import for Marx's own conception of law and necessity. (b) In rejecting the idea that laws merely describe or independently ground phenomena, Hegel revives the Aristotlean position that law or principle is something implicit in a thing, a potentiality which is not actual but which is in the process of becoming actual. This means that if we want to know the principle governing something, we have to observe its typical life-process and figure out its characteristic behavior. Observing an acorn on its own, we can never deduce that it is an oak tree. To figure out what the acorn is - and also what the oak tree is - we have to observe the line of development from one to the other. (c) The phenomena of history arise from a whole with an essence which undergoes transformation of form and which has an end or telos. For Hegel, the essence of humanity is freedom, and the telos of that essence is the actualization of that freedom. Like Aristotle, Hegel believes the essence of a thing is revealed in the entire, typical process of development of that thing. Looked at purely formally, human society has a natural line of development in accordance with its essence just like any other living thing. This process of development appears as a succession of stages of world history. (2) Stages of world history Human history passes through several stages, in each of which is materialized a higher level of human consciousness of freedom. Each stage also has its own principle or law according to which it develops and lives in accordance with this freedom. Yet the law is not free-standing. It is delivered by means of the actions of men which spring from their needs, passions, and interests. Teleology, according to Hegel, is not opposed to the efficient causation provided by passion; on the contrary, the latter is the vehicle realizing the former. Hegel consistently lays more stress on passion than on the more historically specifiable interests of men. Marx will reverse this priority. (3) Difference between natural and historical change Hegel distinguishes as Aristotle did not between the application of organic, essentialist categories to the realm of human history and the realm of organic nature. According to Hegel, human history strives toward perfectibility, but nature does not. Marx deepens and expands this idea into the claim that humankind itself can adapt society to its own purposes rather than adapting themselves to it. Natural and historical change, according to Hegel, have two different kinds of essences. Organic natural entities develop through a straightforward process, relatively simple to comprehend at least in outline. Historical development, however, is a more complex process. Its specific difference is its "dialectical" character. The process of natural development occurs in a relatively straight line from the germ to the fully realized being and back to the germ again. Some accident from the outside might come along to interrupt this process of development, but if left to its own devices, it proceeds in a relatively straightforward manner. Society's historical development is internally more complex. The transaction from potentiality to actuality is mediated by consciousness and will. The essence realized in the development of human society is freedom, but freedom is precisely that ability to negate the smooth line of development and go off in novel, hitherto unforeseen directions. As humankind's essence reveals itself, that revelation is at the same time the subversion of itself. Spirit is constantly at war with itself. This appears as the contradictions constituting the essence of Spirit. (4) Contradiction In the development of a natural thing, there is by and large no contradiction between the process of development and the way that development must appear. So the transition from an acorn, to an oak, to an acorn again occurs in a relatively uninterrupted flow of the acorn back to itself again. When change in the essence takes place, as it does in the process of evolution, we can understand the change mostly in mechanical terms using principles of genetics and natural selection. The historical process, however, never attempts to preserve an essence in the first place. Rather, it develops an essence through successive forms. This means that at any moment on the path of historical change, there is a contradiction between what exists and what is in the process of coming-to-be. The realization of a natural thing like a tree is a process that by and large points back toward itself: every step of the process takes place in order to reproduce the genus. In the historical process, however, what exists, what is actual, is imperfect. It is inimical to the potential. What is trying to come into existence - freedom - inherently negates everything preceding it and everything existing, since no actual existing human institution can possibly embody pure human freedom. So the actual is both itself and its opposite (as potential). And this potential (freedom) is never inert but constantly exerts an impulse toward change.


Rupture with German idealism and the Young Hegelians

Marx did not study directly with Hegel, but after Hegel died Marx studied under one of Hegel's pupils,
Bruno Bauer Bruno Bauer (; 6 September 180913 April 1882) was a German philosopher and theologian. As a student of G. W. F. Hegel, Bauer was a radical Rationalist in philosophy, politics and Biblical criticism Biblical criticism is the use of critical a ...

Bruno Bauer
, a leader of the circle of Young Hegelians to whom Marx attached himself. However, Marx and Engels came to disagree with Bruno Bauer and the rest of the Young Hegelians about socialism and also about the usage of Hegel's dialectic. Having achieved his thesis on the ''Difference of natural philosophy between
Democritus Democritus (; el, Δημόκριτος, ''Dēmókritos'', meaning "chosen of the people"; – ) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient w ...

Democritus
and
Epicurus Epicurus, ''Epíkouros'', "ally, comrade" (341–270 BC) was an and who founded , a highly influential school of . He was born on the Greek island of to parents. Influenced by , , , and possibly the , he turned against the of his day and e ...

Epicurus
'' in 1841, the young Marx progressively broke away with the
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...

Prussia
n
university A university () is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in several Discipline (academia), academic disciplines. Universities typ ...

university
and its teachings impregnated by German Idealism (
Kant Immanuel Kant (, , ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about r ...

Kant
,
Fichte Johann Gottlieb Fichte (; ; 19 May 1762 – 29 January 1814) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover ...

Fichte
, and Hegel). Along with Engels, who observed the Chartist movement in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, he cut away with the environment in which he grew up and encountered the
proletariat The proletariat (; ) is the social class of wage labor, wage-earners, those members of a society whose only possession of significant economic value is their labour power (their capacity to work). A member of such a class is a proletarian. Marx ...

proletariat
in France and Germany. He then wrote a scathing criticism of the Young Hegelians in two books, '' The Holy Family'' (1845), and ''The German Ideology'' (1845), in which he criticized not only Bauer but also
Max Stirner Johann Kaspar Schmidt (25 October 1806 – 26 June 1856), known professionally as Max Stirner, was a German post-Hegelian philosopher, dealing mainly with the Hegelian notion of social alienation and self-consciousness. Stirner is often seen as ...

Max Stirner
's ''
The Ego and Its Own ''The Ego and Its Own'' (german: Der Einzige und sein Eigentum) is an 1844 work by German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For ...
'' (1844), considered one of the founding book of
individualist anarchism Individualist anarchism is the branch of anarchism that emphasizes the individual and their Will (philosophy), will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions and ideological systems."What do I mean by individualism? I mean b ...
. Max Stirner claimed that all ideals were inherently alienating, and that replacing God with Humanity, as did
Ludwig Feuerbach Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach (; 28 July 1804 – 13 September 1872) was a German anthropologist An anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology Anthropology is the of ity, concerned with , , , and , in both the prese ...

Ludwig Feuerbach
in ''
The Essence of Christianity Title page, second edition (1848) ''The Essence of Christianity'' (german: Das Wesen des Christentums; historical orthography: ''Das Weſen des Chriſtenthums'') is a book by Ludwig Feuerbach first published in 1841. It explains Feuerbach's philoso ...
'' (1841), was not sufficient. According to Stirner, any ideals, God, Humanity, the
Nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense ...
, or even the
Revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, suc ...

Revolution
alienated the "Ego". Marx also criticized
Proudhon Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (, , ; 15 January 1809, Besançon – 19 January 1865, Paris) was a French socialist,Landauer, Carl; Landauer, Hilde Stein; Valkenier, Elizabeth Kridl (1979)
959 Year 959 ( CMLIX) was a common year starting on SaturdayA common year starting on Saturday is any non-leap year A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or bissextile year) is a calendar year that contains an additional day (or, in the ...
"The Three Anticapitalistic Movements". ''European Soc ...
, who had become famous with his cry "
Property is theft! "Property is theft!" (french: La propriété, c'est le vol!) is a slogan coined by French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in his 1840 book ''What is Property? Or, an Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government''. Overview By "prope ...
", in ''The Poverty of Philosophy'' (1845). Marx's early writings are thus a response towards Hegel, German Idealism and a break with the rest of the Young Hegelians. Marx, "stood Hegel on his head," in his own view of his role, by turning the idealistic dialectic into a materialistic one, in proposing that material circumstances shape ideas, instead of the other way around. In this, Marx was following the lead of Feuerbach. His Marx's theory of alienation, theory of alienation, developed in the ''
Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 The ''Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844'' (german: Ökonomisch-philosophische Manuskripte aus dem Jahre 1844), also referred to as the ''Paris Manuscripts'' (') or as the ''1844 Manuscripts'', are a series of notes written between Apri ...
'' (published in 1932), inspired itself from Feuerbach's critique of the alienation of Man in God through the objectivation of all his inherent characteristics (thus man projected on God all qualities which are in fact man's own quality which defines the "human nature"). But Marx also criticized Feuerbach for being insufficiently materialistic, as Stirner himself had pointed out, and explained that the alienation described by the Young Hegelians was in fact the result of the structure of the economy itself. Furthermore, he Marx's theory of human nature, criticized Feuerbach's conception of human nature in his sixth thesis on Feuerbach as an abstract "kind" which incarnated itself in each singular individual: "Feuerbach resolves the essence of religion into the essence of man (''menschliche Wesen'', human nature). But the essence of man is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In reality, it is the ensemble of the social relations." Thereupon, instead of founding itself on the singular, concrete individual subject (philosophy), subject, as did classic philosophy, including contractualism (Hobbes, John Locke and Rousseau) but also
political economy Political economy is the study of production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products (g ...
, Marx began with the totality of social relations: labour, language and all which constitute our human existence. He claimed that individualism was the result of commodity fetishism or alienation. Some critics have claimed that meant that Marx enforced a strict social determinism which destroyed the possibility of free will.


Criticisms of human rights

In the same way, following Gracchus Babeuf, Babeuf, considered one of the founders of communism during the French Revolution, he criticized the 1789 ''Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen'' as a "bourgeois declaration" of the rights of the "egoistic individual", ultimately based on the "right to private property", which
economism Economism, sometimes spelled economicism, is a term in Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand Social class, ...
deduced from its own implicit "philosophy of the subject", which asserts the preeminence of an individual and Universality (philosophy), universal subject over social relations. On the other hand, Marx also criticized Jeremy Bentham, Bentham's utilitarianism. Alongside Sigmund Freud, Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, Nietzsche, and Emile Durkheim, Durkheim, Marx thus takes a place amongst the 19th century philosophers who criticized this pre-eminence of the subject and its consciousness. Instead, Marx saw consciousness as political. According to Marx, the recognition of these individual rights was the result of the universal extension of market relations to all of society and to all of the world, first through the primitive accumulation of capital (including the first period of European colonialism) and then through the globalization of the capitalist sphere. Such individual rights were the symmetric of the "right for the labourer" to "freely" sell his labor force on the marketplace through juridical contracts, and worked in the same time as an ideological means to discompose the collective grouping of producers required by the Industrial Revolution: thus, in the same time that the Industrial Era requires masses to concentrate themselves in factory, factories and in urbanization, cities, the individualist, "bourgeois" ideology separated themselves as competing homo economicus. Marx's critique of the ideology of the human rights thus departs from the counterrevolutionary critique by Edmund Burke, who dismissed the "rights of Man" in favour of the "rights of the individual": it is not grounded on an opposition to the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment's Universality (philosophy), universalism and humanism, humanist project on behalf of the right of tradition, as in Burke's case, but rather on the claim that the ideology of economism and the ideology of the human rights are the reverse sides of the same coin. However, as Étienne Balibar puts it, "the accent put on those contradictions can not not ring out on the signification of 'human rights', since these therefore appears ''both'' as the language in which Exploitation of labour, exploitation masks itself and as the one in which the exploited class struggle express itself: more than a truth or an illusion, it is therefore a ''stake''". ''Das Kapital'' ironizes on the "pompous catalogue of the human rights" in comparison to the "modest ''Magna Charta'' of a day work limited by law": But the communist revolution does not end with the negation of individual liberty and equality ("collectivism"), but with the "negation of the negation": "individual property" in the capitalist regime is in fact the "expropriation of the immediate producers." "Self-earned private property, that is based, so to say, on the fusing together of the isolated, independent laboring-individual with the conditions of his labor, is supplanted by capitalistic private property, which rests on exploitation of the nominally free labor of others, i.e., on wage-labor... The capitalist mode of appropriation, the result of the capitalist mode of production (Marxist theory), capitalist mode of production, produces capitalist private property. This is the first negation of individual private property, as founded on the labor of the proprietor. But capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a law of Nature, its own negation. It is the negation of negation. This does not re-establish private property for the producer, but gives him individual property based on the acquisition of the capitalist era: i.e., on co-operation and the possession in common of the land and of the means of production.


Criticisms of Ludwig Feuerbach

What distinguished Marx from Feuerbach was his view of Feuerbach's humanism as excessively abstract, and so no less ahistorical and idealist than what it purported to replace, namely the reified notion of God found in institutional Christianity that legitimized the repressive power of the Prussian state. Instead, Marx aspired to give ontological priority to what he called the "real life process" of real human beings, as he and Engels said in ''The German Ideology'' (1846):
In direct contrast to German philosophy, which descends from heaven to earth, here we ascend from earth to heaven. That is to say, we do not set out from what men say, imagine, conceive, nor from men as narrated, thought of, imagined, conceived, in order to arrive at men in the flesh. We set out from real, active men, and on the basis of their real life process we demonstrate the development of the ideological reflexes and echoes of this life process. The phantoms formed in the human brain are also, necessarily, sublimates of their material life process, which is empirically verifiable and bound to material premises. Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of independence. They have no history, no development; but men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter, along with this, their real existence, their thinking, and the products of their thinking. Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life.
Also, in his ''
Theses on Feuerbach The "Theses on Feuerbach" are eleven short philosophical notes written by Karl Marx as a basic outline for the first chapter of the book '' The German Ideology'' in 1845. Like the book for which they were written, the theses were never published in ...
'' (1845), in which the young Marx broke with Feuerbach's idealism, he writes that "the philosophers have only described the world, in various ways, the point is to change it," and his materialist approach allows for and empowers such change. This opposition between various subjective interpretations given by philosophers, which may be, in a sense, compared with ''Weltanschauung'' designed to legitimize the current state of affairs, and effective transformation of the world through ''praxis (process), praxis'', which combines theory and practice in a materialist way, is what distinguish "Marxist philosophers" with the rest of philosophers. Indeed, Marx's break with German Idealism involves a new definition of philosophy; Louis Althusser, founder of "Structural Marxism" in the 1960s, would define it as "
class struggle Class conflict, also referred to as class struggle and class warfare, is the political tension and economic antagonism that exists in society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, socia ...
in theory". Marx's movement away from university philosophy and towards the
workers' movement The labour movement or labor movement consists of two main wings: the trade union movement (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic la ...
is thus inextricably linked to his rupture with his earlier writings, which pushed Marxist commentators to speak of a "young Marx" and a "mature Marx", although the nature of this cut poses problems. A year before the
Revolutions of 1848 The Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Springtime of the Peoples or the Springtime of Nations, were a series of political upheaval A political revolution, in the Trotskyist Trotskyism is the political ideology and branch o ...
, Marx and Engels thus wrote ''The Communist Manifesto'', which was prepared to an imminent revolution, and ended with the famous cry: "Workers of the world, unite!, Proletarians of all countries, unite!". However, Marx's thought changed again following Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte's French coup of December 1851, December 2, 1851 coup, which put an end to the French Second Republic and created the French Second Empire, Second Empire which would last until the 1870 Franco-Prussian War. Marx thereby modified his theory of alienation exposed in the ''Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844'' and would later arrive to his theory of commodity fetishism, exposed in the first chapter of the first book of ''Das Kapital'' (1867). This abandonment of the early theory of alienation would be amply discussed, and several Marxist theorists, including Marxist humanists such as the Praxis School, would return to it. Others, such as Althusser, would claim that the "Louis Althusser#The 'Epistemological Break', epistemological break" between the "young Marx" and the "mature Marx" was such that no comparisons could be done between both works, marking a shift to a "scientific theory" of society. In 1844–1845, when Marx was starting to settle his account with Hegel and the Young Hegelians in his writings, he critiqued the Young Hegelians for limiting the horizon of their critique to religion and not taking up the critique of the state and civil society as paramount. Indeed, in 1844, by the look of Marx's writings in that period (most famous of which is the "
Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 The ''Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844'' (german: Ökonomisch-philosophische Manuskripte aus dem Jahre 1844), also referred to as the ''Paris Manuscripts'' (') or as the ''1844 Manuscripts'', are a series of notes written between Apri ...
", a text that most explicitly elaborated his Marx's theory of alienation, theory of alienation), Marx's thinking could have taken at least three possible courses: the study of law, religion, and the state; the study of natural philosophy; and the study of
political economy Political economy is the study of production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products (g ...
. He chose the last as the predominant focus of his studies for the rest of his life, largely on account of his previous experience as the editor of the newspaper ''Rheinische Zeitung'' on whose pages he fought for freedom of expression against Prussian censorship and made a rather idealist, legal defense for the Moselle peasants' customary commons, right of collecting wood in the forest (this right was at the point of being criminalized and privatized by the state). It was Marx's inability to penetrate beneath the legal and polemical surface of the latter issue to its materialist, economic, and social roots that prompted him to critically study political economy.


Historical materialism

Marx summarized the materialistic aspect of his theory of history, otherwise known as historical materialism (this term was coined by Engels and popularised by Karl Kautsky and Georgi Plekhanov), in the 1859 preface to ''A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy'':
In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.
In this brief popularization of his ideas, Marx emphasized that social development sprang from the inherent contradictions within material life and the social
superstructure A superstructure is an upward extension of an existing structure above a baseline. This term is applied to various kinds of physical structures such as buildings, bridges, or ships having the Degrees of freedom (mechanics), degree of freedom ze ...
. This notion is often understood as a simple historical narrative: primitive communism had developed into slave states. Slave states had developed into feudal societies. Those societies in turn became capitalist states, and those states would be overthrown by the self-conscious portion of their working-class, or proletariat, creating the conditions for socialism and, ultimately, a higher form of communism than that with which the whole process began. Marx illustrated his ideas most prominently by the development of capitalism from feudalism, and by the prediction of the development of socialism from capitalism. The base-superstructure and stadial history, stadialist formulations in the 1859 preface took on canonical status in the subsequent development of orthodox Marxism, in particular in
dialectical materialism Dialectical materialism is a philosophy of science, philosophy of history, history, and Nature (philosophy), nature developed in Europe and based on the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Dialectic#Marxist dialectic, Marxist dialectics, ...
(''diamat'', as it was philosophy in the Soviet Union, known in the Soviet Union). They also gave way to a vulgar Marxism as plain
economic determinism Economic determinism is a socioeconomic theory that economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the ...
(or
economism Economism, sometimes spelled economicism, is a term in Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand Social class, ...
), which has been criticized by various Marxist theorists. "Vulgar Marxism" was seen as little other than a variety of
economic determinism Economic determinism is a socioeconomic theory that economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the ...
, with the alleged determination of the
ideological An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to attitudes abo ...
superstructure A superstructure is an upward extension of an existing structure above a baseline. This term is applied to various kinds of physical structures such as buildings, bridges, or ships having the Degrees of freedom (mechanics), degree of freedom ze ...
by the economical
infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy An ec ...

infrastructure
. However, this positivist reading, which mostly based itself on Engels' latter writings in an attempt to theorize "
scientific socialism Scientific socialism is a term coined in 1840 by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in his book '' What is Property?'' to mean a society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a ...
" (an expression coined by Engels) has been challenged by Marxist theorists, such as Antonio Gramsci or Althusser. Some believe that Marx regarded them merely as a shorthand summary of his huge ongoing work-in-progress (which was only published posthumously over a hundred years later as ''Grundrisse''). These sprawling, voluminous notebooks that Marx put together for his research on political economy, particularly those materials associated with the study of "primitive communism" and pre-capitalist communal production, in fact, show a more radical turning "Hegel on his head" than heretofore acknowledged by most mainstream Marxists and Marxiologists. In lieu of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment belief in historical progress and stages espoused by Hegel (often in a racism, racist, Eurocentrism, Eurocentric manner, as in his ''Lectures on the Philosophy of History''), Marx pursues in these research notes a decidedly empirical approach to analyzing historical changes and different modes of production, emphasizing without forcing them into a teleology, teleological paradigm the rich varieties of communal productions throughout the world and the critical importance of collective working-class antagonism in the development of capitalism. Moreover, Marx's rejection of the necessity of bourgeois revolution and appreciation of the obschina, the communal land system, in Russia in his letter to Vera Zasulich; respect for the egalitarian culture of North African Muslim commoners found in his letters from Algeria; and sympathetic and searching investigation of the global commons and indigenous cultures and practices in his notebooks, including the ''Ethnological Notebooks'' that he kept during his last years, all point to a historical Marx who was continuously developing his ideas until his deathbed and does not fit into any pre-existing ideological straitjacket.


Differences within Marxist philosophy

Some varieties of Marxist philosophy are strongly influenced by Hegel, emphasizing totality and even teleology: for example, the work of Georg Lukács, whose influence extends to contemporary thinkers like
Fredric Jameson Fredric Jameson (born April 14, 1934) is an American literary critic Literary criticism (or literary studies) is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by literary theory, whi ...
. Others consider "totality" merely another version of Hegel's "spirit," and thus condemn it as a crippling, secret idealism. Theodor Adorno, a leading philosopher of the Frankfurt School, who was strongly influenced by Hegel, tried to take a middle path between these extremes: Adorno contradicted Hegel's motto "the true is the whole" with his new version, "the whole is the false," but he wished to preserve critical theory as a negative, oppositional version of the utopia described by Hegel's "spirit." Adorno believed in totality and human potential as ends to be striven for, but not as certainties. The status of humanism in Marxist thought has been quite contentious. Many Marxists, especially Hegelian Marxists and also those committed to political programs (such as many Communist Party, Communist Parties), have been strongly humanist. These humanist Marxists believe that Marxism describes the true potential of human beings, and that this potential can be fulfilled in collective freedom after the Communist revolution has removed capitalism's constraints and subjugations of humanity. A particular version of the humanism within the marxism is represented by the school of Lev Vygotsky and his school in
theoretical psychologyTheoretical psychology is concerned with theoretical and philosophical aspects of psychology. It is an Interdisciplinarity, interdisciplinary field with a wide scope of study. It focuses on combining and incorporating existing and developing theories ...
(Alexis Leontiev, Laszlo GaraiInterview with Laszlo Garai on the Activity Theory of Alexis Leontiev and his own Theory of Social Identity as referred to the meta-theory of Lev Vygotsky. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, vol. 50, no. 1, January–February 2012, pp. 50–64
/ref>). The Praxis school based its theory on the writings of the young Marx, emphasizing the humanist and dialectical aspects thereof. However, other Marxists, especially those influenced by Louis Althusser, are just as strongly anti-humanist. Anti-humanist Marxists believe that ideas like "humanity," "freedom," and "human potential" are pure ideology, or theoretical versions of the bourgeois economic order. They feel that such concepts can only condemn Marxism to theoretical self-contradictions which may also hurt it politically.


Key works and authors

*
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Karl Marx
and Friedrich Engels, especially the earlier writings such as ''Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, The 1844 Manuscripts'', ''
The German Ideology ''The German Ideology'' (German: ''Die deutsche Ideologie'') is a set of manuscripts written by Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, j ...
'' and "
Theses on Feuerbach The "Theses on Feuerbach" are eleven short philosophical notes written by Karl Marx as a basic outline for the first chapter of the book '' The German Ideology'' in 1845. Like the book for which they were written, the theses were never published in ...
", but also the ''Grundrisse'', ''Das Kapital'' and other works inspired *Vladimir Lenin *Guy Debord *Leon Trotsky *Antonie Pannekoek *Rosa Luxemburg *Karl Korsch *M. N. Roy *C. L. R. James, CLR James *Raya Dunayevskaya *Hal Draper *Georg Lukács, ''History and Class Consciousness'' developed the theory of
ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of ...
to include a more complex model of class consciousness *
Antonio Gramsci Antonio Francesco Gramsci (, ; ; 22 January 1891 – 27 April 1937) was an Italian Marxism, Marxist philosopher, journalist, linguist, writer and politician. He wrote on philosophy, political theory, sociology, history and linguistics. He was a ...
*Laszlo Garai *Ernst Bloch (philosopher), Ernst Bloch *Frankfurt School, especially Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse and Jürgen Habermas *Walter Benjamin *Bertolt Brecht *Jean-Paul Sartre *Socialisme ou Barbarie (Cornelius Castoriadis, Claude Lefort and others) *
Louis Althusser Louis Pierre Althusser (, ; ; 16 October 1918 – 22 October 1990) was a French Marxist philosopher Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical m ...
and his students (e.g. , Alain Badiou, Jacques Rancière and Pierre Macherey) *Praxis school *Joseph Stalin, Josef Stalin *Amadeo Bordiga *Situationist International *
Fredric Jameson Fredric Jameson (born April 14, 1934) is an American literary critic Literary criticism (or literary studies) is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by literary theory, whi ...
*Karl Kautsky *Clara Zetkin *Nikolai Bukharin *Alexandra Kollontai *Antonio Negri and autonomist Marxism *Helmut Reichelt *Paul Lafargue *Daniel De Leon, Daniel DeLeon *Slavoj Žižek *Mao Zedong *Pinarayi Vijayan


See also

*:Marxist theorists and list of contributors to Marxist theory *Critical theory *Dialectical materialism *Frankfurt School's critical theory (Frankfurt School), critical theory *Freudo-Marxism *Marxist explanations of warfare *Marxist sociology *Neo-Marxism *Orthodox Marxism *Post-Marxism *Analytical Marxism *''Rethinking Marxism''


References

{{reflist, 30em


Bibliography

* Étienne Balibar, Balibar, Étienne, ''The Philosophy of Marx''. Verso, 1995 (French edition: ''La philosophie de Marx'', La Découverte, Repères, 1991) * Thomas Bottomore, Bottomore, Thomas, ed.. ''A Dictionary of Marxist Thought''. Blackwell, 1991. Marxist theory Social philosophy