Karl Marx: History As Explicable Human Activity

555 words - 2 pages

History as Explicable Human Activity as Seen by Karl Marx

Using phrases such as" innocent and childlike fantasies," Karl Marx unambiguously attacks the Hegelian philosophy preponderant during his time, citing in its concept of history an irrevocable divorce with reality. For Marx, history is exactly what it seems to be: a succession of human events in which ideas such as the division of labor, production, and revolution replace their immaterial Hegelian counterparts, if even such counterparts exist. In fact, Marx accuses the token historian of ignoring the fundamental aspects of actual human activity while instead concentrating upon non-actualized ideas at best and imaginary metaphysical concepts at worst.

"History is nothing but the succession of separate generations, each of which exploits the materials, capital, and productive forces handed down to it by all preceding generations." Marx resists any abstraction from this idea, believing that his materialistic ideas alone stand supported by empirical evidence which seems impossible to the Hegelian. His history then begins with the idea of production because human survival is implicit to human history and, therefore, so is the provision of life's necessities: shelter, food, water, and clothing. From this simple concept evolves an intricate explication of human economics—the basic question of who gets what; from the production of life's necessity springs further production from which springs more complicated social relationships from which Marx derives the complicated structure of the division of labor. The constituent part of this concept is Marx's consciousness, a concept which he strongly divorces from other usages; simply, consciousness is one's relationship to his...

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