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The "Theses on Feuerbach" are eleven short philosophical notes written by Karl Marx
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 Marx's lifetime, seeing print for the first time in 1888 as an appendix to a pamphlet by his co-thinker Friedrich Engels. The document is best remembered for the epigrammatic 11th thesis and final line: "Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it."

Contents

1 History

1.1 Background 1.2 Content 1.3 Publication history 1.4 Uses of the text

2 See also 3 Footnotes 4 External links

History[edit] Background[edit] In February 1845 Karl Marx
Karl Marx
was deported from France at the behest of minister of foreign affairs François Guizot.[1] Marx found sanctuary in Brussels, where he was joined for a number of months by his political compatriot Frederick Engels
Frederick Engels
beginning in April of that same year.[1] It was in Brussels
Brussels
that Marx first began to shape the concept of historical materialism[1] — the idea that underlying fundamental changes in political history was a corresponding economic struggle between ruling and oppressed classes which was at root of these structural transformations. Marx began work upon a book detailing his new philosophy of history, entitled The German Ideology.[2] In connection with this project, Marx wrote a terse 11-point set of observations and epigrams regarding the ideas of Ludwig Feuerbach, a fellow Young Hegelian
Young Hegelian
philosopher regarded by him as the most modern exponent of materialism, albeit one whom Marx believed had failed to draw fully satisfactory political conclusions from his philosophical insights. These "theses" were initially written as a raw outline for the first chapter of The German Ideology, and most of these were developed at greater length in that work.[2] Content[edit] Marx sharply criticized the contemplative materialism of the Young Hegelians, viewing "the essence of man" in isolation and abstraction, instead arguing that the nature of man could only be understood in the context of his economic and social relations.[3] Marx argued that understanding the origins of religious belief were not enough in moving towards its elimination; instead declaring that it was the underlying social and economic structure which gave rise to religious belief and that it was a transformation of this which was a necessary precondition to the elimination of religion.[4] The "Theses" identify political action as the only truth of philosophy, famously concluding: "Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it."[5] While the text wishes to retain the critical stance of German critical idealism, it transposes that criticism into practical, material, political terms. Publication history[edit]

The iconic 11th thesis on Feuerbach as it appears in the original German manuscript.

Despite their best efforts to find a publisher, The German Ideology was not published during the lifetime of either Karl Marx
Karl Marx
or Frederick Engels.[4] The polemical work was finally published in full only in 1932 by the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute
Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute
of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party in Moscow.[6] Nor did Marx publish the "Theses on Feuerbach" during his lifetime. This material was instead later edited by Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels
and published in February 1888 as a supplement to his pamphlet Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy.[7] Marx's original unedited text was published only in 1924 in German and Russian translation as part of Marx-Engels Archives, Book I, by the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow.[8] Uses of the text[edit] The Eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach — "Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it" — was used by Sergey Prokofiev
Sergey Prokofiev
in his Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution, Op. 74.[9] The Eleventh Thesis is engraved in the entryway of Humboldt University on Unter den Linden
Unter den Linden
in Berlin. The Socialist Unity Party of Germany ordered this in 1953 as part of reconstruction following World War II.[10] The Eleventh Thesis is also Marx's epitaph, engraved on his tombstone in Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery
in London, along with the final line of the Communist Manifesto, "Workers of All Lands, Unite". See also[edit]

Young Marx Marxism Marxist philosophy Young Hegelians German Idealism Materialism

Footnotes[edit]

^ a b c Lev Churbanov, "Preface" to Karl Marx-Frederick Engels Collected Works: Volume 5: Marx and Engels, 1845-47. New York: International Publishers, 1976, p. xiii. ^ a b Churbanov, "Preface" to Marx-Engels Collected Works: Volume 5, p. xiv. ^ Churbanov, "Preface" to Marx-Engels Collected Works: Volume 5, pp. xiv–xv. ^ a b Churbanov, "Preface" to Marx-Engels Collected Works: Volume 5, p. xv. ^ In German: "Die Philosophen haben die Welt nur verschieden interpretiert; es kommt aber darauf an, sie zu verändern." ^ Lev Churbanov, Annotation to Karl Marx
Karl Marx
and Frederick Engels, The German Ideology, in Karl Marx- Frederick Engels
Frederick Engels
Collected Works: Volume 5: Marx and Engels, 1845-47. New York: International Publishers, 1976, p. 20. ^ Frederick Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach
Ludwig Feuerbach
und der Ausgang der Klassischen deutschen Philosophie...Mit Anhang Karl Marx
Karl Marx
über Feuerbach von Jahre 1845 ( Ludwig Feuerbach
Ludwig Feuerbach
and the End of Classical German Philosophy
Philosophy
... With Notes on Feuerbach by Karl Marx
Karl Marx
1845). Berlin: Verlag von J.H.W. Dietz, 1888; pp. 69–72. ^ Cyril Smith and Don Cuckson (trans.), Karl Marx: "Theses on Feuerbach", Marxists Internet Archive, 2002. www.marxists.org/ ^ Gregor Tassie, Kirill Kondrashin: His Life in Music. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2010, p. 186. ^ Lena Rohrbach and Thomas Schmidt, „Vorsicht Stufe!“ – Vorsicht Marx? Humboldt University, 2009.

External links[edit]

 German Wikisource
Wikisource
has original text related to this article: Thesen über Feuerbach Theses on Feuerbach
Theses on Feuerbach
from the Marx-Engels Internet Archive Eleven Theses on Feuerbach
Theses on Feuerbach
public domain audiobook at LibriVox

v t e

Works by Karl Marx
Karl Marx
and Friedrich Engels

Marx

Capital

Capital, Volume I
Capital, Volume I
(1867) Capital, Volume II
Capital, Volume II
(1885, posthumous) Capital, Volume III
Capital, Volume III
(1894, posthumous)

Other works

Scorpion and Felix
Scorpion and Felix
(1837) Oulanem (1839) The Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy
Philosophy
of Nature (1841) "The Philosophical Manifesto of the Historical School of Law" (1842) Critique of Hegel's Philosophy
Philosophy
of Right (1843) "On the Jewish Question" (1843) "Notes on James Mill" (1844) Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844
Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844
(1844, published 1927) "Theses on Feuerbach" (1845, published 1888) The Poverty of Philosophy
Philosophy
(1847) "Wage Labour and Capital" (1847) The Class Struggles in France, 1848–1850 (1850) The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon
(1852) Grundrisse
Grundrisse
(1857, published 1939) A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
(1859) Theories of Surplus Value
Theories of Surplus Value
(three volumes, 1862) "Value, Price and Profit" (1865) "The Belgian Massacres" (1869) "The Civil War in France" (1871) Critique of the Gotha Program (1875) Mathematical manuscripts of Karl Marx
Karl Marx
(1968)

Marx and Engels

The German Ideology
The German Ideology
(1845, published 1932) The Holy Family (1845) The Communist Manifesto
Communist Manifesto
(1848) The Civil War in the United States (1861) Marx/Engels Collected Works
Marx/Engels Collected Works
(1975 - 2004) Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe
Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe
(1975 - today)

Engels

The Condition of the Working Class in England
The Condition of the Working Class in England
(1845) Principles of Communism
Principles of Communism
(1847) The Peasant War in Germany (1850) "The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man" (1876) Anti-Dühring
Anti-Dühring
(1878) Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (1880) Dialectics of Nature
Dialectics of Nature
(1883) The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884) Ludwig Feuerbach
Ludwig Feuerbach
and the End of Classical German Philosophy
Philosophy
(1886) Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany
Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany
(1896, posthumous)

See also

Marx's notebooks on the history of technology Tendency of the rate of profit to fall

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 214797399 GND: 4409757-8 BNF:

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